BSI Journal - Online Archive


Racine Foster, Editor, 718 Magnolia Ave., Orlando, Florida.
Annual Dues: $3.50 a year (foreign $4.00) which includes subscription to the Bulletin.
Write for details to Miss Victoria Padilla, Secretary, 647 Saltair Ave., Los Angeles 49, California.


Eric Knobloch

This show had an unconventional setting, being held in the lobby of The Progressive Bank and Trust Co. in the heart of New Orleans. The display lasted from Monday through Friday, February 24-28, 1958 and was open to the public during banking hours only.

Mrs. Paul D. Schaefer was general chairman and Mrs. R. L. Emery, Jr. was in charge of arranging the plants in the display. We had to have volunteers on hand at all times to answer the many questions of the throngs who saw it. It received publicity de luxe including an article by the writer, President of the Louisiana Society, on what bromeliads were and how pleasant a hobby it was to devote oneself to taking care of a collection of them.

This unique show created a terrific interest in bromeliads in New Orleans.


A feature of the New Orleans Show is shown on our cover. The treatment of the column – a smooth marble one-was rather interesting. It was banded with chicken wire laid over four erect two-by-fours. This under-structure of wire was covered with Spanish Moss. Some bare branches of trees were anchored in the top of the structure. Plants were attached to these branches and meshed in the moss and fastened to the wire. In this group were blooming Tillandsias and Guzmanias. A "wad" of Tillandsia ionantha bristling with violet flowers, stole the show; it was in full bloom and was a glistening red. Also blooming in this part of the display were Guzmania zahnii; Vriesia scalaris, and V. incurvata.

This section of the show was filled with plants furnished by Morris Henry Hobbs who also designed the beautiful placard. By the window was an assortment of Dyckias, pineapples and Hechtias in a terrestrial group arrangement. A breath from the desert was suggested by the cow's skull which held a Tillandsia simulata. Among other plants on the table were Aechmea angustifolia, Ae. × "Foster's Favorite", Vriesia × erecta, as well as some Tillandsias and Billbergias. The great Ae. bromeliifolia is imposing over the quizzical pumice stone face whose head holds a perky Dyckia leptostachya. Tillandsia fasiculata and tenuifolia make head and tail of a fantasy bird about to take off. Driftwood and leafy plants make congruous jungle background forms for the bromeliads.

On each end of this planter box were displayed two fine specimens, recently imported from Mexico of Tillandsia streptophylla, contributed by Mrs. Henry Alcus. The two blooming plants are unusually fine specimens from the Knobloch's collection of Ae. × calyculata × miniata var. discolor. The Vriesia fenestralis, also from the Knobloch's collection, was not only the center of this display, it was the center focus of every eye that passed by and elicited a continuous round of raves. This planter was in front of the desk of Miss Bertha Artigues, Secretary to the chairman of the board of the bank, Mr. William J. Fischer; the dark brown planter partially hidden by beautifully finished natural oak planks, was raised only a few inches off the floor.

Photo Eric Knobloch
Morris Henry Hobbs, surrounded by bromeliads, on the balcony of his New Orleans Studio.

Gardens of the Members – No. 6

Mulford B. Foster

When Morris Henry Hobbs takes on a hobby he rides it with the sincerest affection and a master's perfection. He works equally well with pencil, pen, brush or etchers needle. His understanding of form and color has allowed him to become a most devoted admirer of bromeliads, for here in this family he has discovered the epitome of line and color in the many living forms that are to be found throughout the family.

A visit to the Hobbs' home or to his studio in the French Quarter of New Orleans or to their country retreat at Mandeville on Lake Ponchartrain, will convince the most skeptical that "Bill's Bromels" hold first place in Hobbs' Hobbies!

In the country they are planted in the trees and under them to enjoy the out-of-doors throughout most of the year. A greenhouse is there in case of emergency where the more tender species may be housed-in for the winter.

In town they help to decorate the home of Morris and Judy in the French Quarter. And at the Studio one is not sure whether Morris Hobbs spends more time with his bromels or his art work, but you can be sure that neither of them is neglected.

One does not feel that these plants are carried to these different locations but rather that they follow this talented artist wherever he goes. They love to hang around while he is at work . . . and hang around they do! On the shutters, the railings, on stands and sticks they look down into the narrow street below and down the blocks to the Business Jungle of New Orleans; they seem perfectly happy in this environment for, natively, they cling precariously in trees or on rocks overlooking another kind of jungle in the Americas south.

When plants understand folks they enjoy staying with them, and the bromeliads can always be counted on to do their share of understanding.

Morris Hobbs was the first president of the Louisiana Branch of the The Bromeliad Society; he has contributed an etching for the Bromeliad Bulletin (July-Aug. 1952) cover and has made a series of etchings for covers in the forthcoming year's issues. He can now be credited with the wonderful gift of the kodacolor of T. multicaulis on the cover of each copy of the Jan.-Feb. 1958 issue. He has written articles for the Bulletin, "Pumice Stone Planters", (Nov. Dec. 1953), "Growing Bromeliads from Seeds" (Sept. Oct. 1955), "Hunting Bromeliads Along the Rio Grande" (March-April 1956), and "Frost Damage in New Orleans Area" (Jan.-Feb. 1958). He has been an ardent worker in the very active and earnest bromeliad group in the New Orleans area.

At a crisis point in his life bromeliads revived the wonderful spark of interest that makes him now an intense, ardent hob-nobber in his bromeliad hobby.

Photo E. Knobloch
The side wing of the Hobbs greenhouse at Mandeville.

Photos by author
The entrance to the historic home of Mary Plantation; bromeliads in the foreground.

Gardens of the Members – No. 7
At the Eric Knoblochs of New Orleans, La.

Mulford B. Foster

Ten years or more ago it was my great pleasure to speak to the members of the Patio Planters group in New Orleans. (See "Patio Planters" by Knobloch in Brom. Bull. Sept.-Oct. 1952). The Knoblochs were instrumental in arranging for that evening gathering of plant devotees drawn from a number of New Orleans Garden Clubs.

To visit the old patio gardens in the French Quarter or Vieux Carre, as it is called in New Orleans, was both a surprise and a treat for it brought back memories of our plant hunting expeditions in Mexico and South America when we visited old homes in the historic haciendas and fazendas of Latin countries.

The first patio garden I visited in New Orleans was that of Marge and Eric Knoblock. Parking my car with two wheels on the sidewalk and the others in the street (quite necessary for the pavement is not as wide as two cars), I entered an old door that led me along a dark hallway to a cloistered courtyard which was surrounded by the living quarters on two floors. Dwellings such as these have been saved in The Vieux Carre in New Orleans while most cities in the U. S. have been destroying similar historical and architectural landmarks for more modern residences or factories. Architectural changes in the Quarter are not allowed, the status quo must remain as it has been for the past many generations.

Unusually magnificent and picturesque live oaks afford the perfect filtered light for bromeliads along the branches and on the ground.

In this delightful hidden patio garden bromeliads were growing in every nook and corner; however, it was very evident that something was going to happen sooner or later, for the bromeliad "rash" had become acute, space was disappearing.

The Knoblochs like things old and new, that is "old houses and new bromeliads". So down on the Mississippi River at Dalcour in the Delta country, twenty-five miles from New Orleans, they discover and rescue from the jungle, the old, neglected Mary Plantation house with its last six acres intact. Endless spare "moments" devoted to tedious work restored the house and grounds to match the two hundred year old magnificent live oak trees which grew in greater majesty year after year patiently waiting for just such folks as the Knoblochs. And the waiting was not in vain, for now Mary Plantation is living again in both its old and new tradition.

The screech owls, possums, rabbits, birds and snakes who had been the only inhabitants of the abandoned place, were allowed to stay along with four cats, two dogs and two peacocks when came the Knoblochs with their bromeliads (and other decorative plants) to make this a haven of rest and beauty as it must have been 175 years ago when it was first built.

Where bromeliads feel so much at home they cling to the branches and spill out of the pots all over the ground.

The bromeliads were even more anxious than the Knoblochs to leave their crowded quarters in the city for it was like going back home to them. They can "sense" trees and the open country like a bird released from a cage. They attained new color and brighter markings in happier surroundings.

It was this new picture that greeted me two years ago when the Knoblochs again shared their unassuming and most genuine hospitality with the writer.

Their collection of bromeliads had grown to considerable dimensions. They decorate the trees, the grounds, the lovely flagstone terrace. They suspend from the over-hanging gallery which completely surrounds the house. Inside and out you will find them tastefully placed to greet you as you enjoy the quaint rugged West Indian architecture which has been restored in all its original simplicity.

The two rows of giant oaks with their arching limbs gracefully reach down to the ground in many places and here you will find hundreds of bromeliads and many different species and hybrids in the ground and on the trees. Most of them are in pots and baskets hanging on the limbs. The more tender ones can quickly be moved into the two greenhouses nearby in case of exceptionally cold winter weather which does occasionally visit this otherwise mild climate where it is possible to have Acrocomia totai and Phoenix reclinata palms.

Eric Knobloch followed Morris Hobbs as president of the Louisiana Branch of the Bromeliad Society.

718 Magnolia Ave., Orlando, Florida

Photo by author   
Though chained, bromeliads like it here!

O. C. Van Hyning

While visiting Mr. and Mrs. Eric Knobloch, last spring, at their home on the Mississippi Delta south of New Orleans, my wife and I were very much interested in the manner in which many of the smaller bromeliads were distributed out-of-doors under huge live oak trees. Plants were hung by regular pot-hangers from nails driven into the lower limbs; others were attached to these by hooking the hanger of one over the bottom of the hanger

above it, until regular chains of pots were formed, reaching nearly to the ground. Since this seemed to be a very attractive as well as practical way of displaying the plants, we decided to emulate the Knobloch's idea when we returned to Florida.

Some light weight weldless chain was procured and a number of lengths suspended from the limbs to the ground. Short lengths of old garden hose were used to cover the chain where it came in contact with the limbs. Regular wire pot hangers were then used to attach the pots, the hangers being hooked into the links of chain at proper intervals. The plants can be changed very easily when a chain is used, any plant being removed without disturbing the others. Besides bromeliads, other epiphytic or hanging plants may be added for variety, such as Rhipsalis, orchids, Tradescantia and ivy. This is particularly good for such air-loving plants as Tillandsias which come from situations that are cool and very windy.

Besides being an agreeable arrangement from the standpoint of the plants' needs, it is also an attractive manner in which to display them.

P. O. Box 381, Maitland, Florida

Photos by author
An accommodating bromeliad for a thirsty snake.


O. C. Van Hyning

Recently in examining some Mexican Tillandsias which are growing on our oak trees, I noticed a Rat Snake, or Chicken Snake, Elap-he quadrivittata, drinking water which had collected in the base of an unidentified Tillandsia. He quite obligingly remained there while I went for stepladder and camera; and if the picture is not as good as it might be, it is through no fault of the snake's.

Much of the mountainous country of Mexico has no water available for many miles, other than that which collects in the bromeliads; and there are many animals that depend upon these plants as their sole supply of water. Many of the birds and mammals merely quench their thirst in passing; but others, such as some of the salamanders and frogs, spend their entire lives in the bromeliads. Even humans are not above drinking the water on occasion, and when the frogs and insects are strained out, it is quite potable.

Maitland, Florida

Photos by author
Housekeeping in a bromeliad!


Wilbur G. Downs, M.D.

In connection with an extensive study of nesting birds being carried on by the staff of the Trinidad Regional Virus Laboratory in the Sangre Grande region of Trinidad, many instances have been seen of birds using the large clumps of the larger bromeliads such as Gravisia aquilega and Aechmea nudicaulis as places for concealing their nests. On April 1, 1958, we found a nest in a distinctly more unusual situation, perched atop the flaring leaves of a medium sized plant of Vriesia procera. The bird, Leptoptila sp., probably D. v. Verreauxi, the Mountain Dove, builds a very crude platform of twigs at best, and in this instance the platform with two nestlings on it was neatly couched in the bromeliad. The photograph shows the nest without the nestlings.

Director, Trinidad Regional Virus Lab.
P. O. Box 164, Port of Spain, Trinidad

Photos by author


Richard Oeser, M.D.

When our secretary, Miss Victoria Padilla, visited me in 1956, she saw how I grow my Tillandsias, and in the May 1957 issue of the Bulletin. she wrote about them in an article entitled "Tillandsia Mobiles." I would like to add a few remarks to what she had to say and to clarify them with some pictures.

The best wood for the creation of a "Tillandsia Mobile" is an old grapevine trunk, although other bent and twisted limbs and roots can be used effectively. As these wooden pieces are seldom naturally so formed as to be just what is desired in the way of shape, I often find it necessary to take two or three pieces of wood and fasten them together with galvanized wire. Usually I place one piece upright and the other in a horizontal position. It is often advisable to fasten a second piece of wood horizontally behind the first one, so that the upright piece is clamped between the front and the rear pieces. By twisting the wire into a figure eight, I can join the wood together so that the wire is hardly noticeable.

I drill a hole at the upper end of the upright piece, and with the same wire make a hanger by looping the wire around twice, twisting it tight and bending the ends into a hook. Planting material can be inserted into any gaps formed by the joining of the pieces of wood.

To fasten the plants onto the wood I take an inch-wide strip of nylon hose, which I obtain by cutting the hose crosswise with scissors. I then wrap these elastic strips around the roots of the plants, about which has been placed an amount of planting medium (such as osmunda), and then fasten the bromeliad at a suitable place. Pincers can be used to great advantage to thread the nylon strips around the cross pieces. The knots of the nylon strips and the ends of the wire should be as inconspicuous as possible. Wood does shrink in time and the wires are apt to get lose, but rather than twisting the wire where it was originally joined as it can easily break, I shorten the wire at another place by gripping it with pliers and giving it half a twist.

In this way nearly all epiphytic bromeliads can be made into mobiles and suspended from the ceiling. They can be easily taken care of, and besides the usual spraying can be immersed when necessary in a tub of water. These mobiles can be effectively used for interior decoration, hanging near or in front of a window. Spraying or immersing can be done in the bathroom and the mobile left there to drip and then rehung in the window without soiling the room by the procedure.

I believe that there are special advantages to this method as compared to that using cork or oak bark. First, such wood pieces do not obstruct to any extent the light from the window as would the wider oak bark slab; and secondly, such wood pieces tend to let the water drain from the plants in a natural way, thus doing away with the possibility of the roots having damp feet. Also, as the plants grow, the wood does not get top heavy, tipping toward the front, but the bromeliads can grow and spread naturally, eventually covering the wood on all sides.

Kirchzarten, bei Freiburg I, Brsg. Hebelstrasse 5 Germany


Dr. Lyman Smith continues to publish abundantly on Bromeliaceae and this summer's publications are the following:

Reprint from FLORA of SURINAME, Bromeliaceae,
Vol. I, part 2, pub. 1957, pp. 94-148.

Such a complete work on the bromeliads of Suriname has never been published before. (Write: Botanical Museum & Herbarium, 106 Lange Nieuwstraat, Utrecht, Netherlands)

IN PHYTOLOGIA, Vol. 6, No. 5, July 1958 "Notes on Bromeliaceae X" This describes six new species and one new variety.
(Price: $1, per number – H. N. Moldenke, 15 Glenbrook Ave., Yonkers, N.Y.)

Reprint from ARQUIVOS DO JARDIM BOTANICO, Vol. XV "Bromeliaceas Notaveis do Herbario do Jardim Botanico do Rio de Janeiro"–II. It describes two new species and one new variety. (From Smith at Smithsonian)

No. I, Marco de 1958

"Tres Bromeliaceas Novas . . ." in which three new species are described. (From Smith at Smithsonian)

Vol. III, No. 1, Feb.-March, 1958

"Iconografia de las Bromeliaceas Mexicanas" by Prof. Eizi Matuda and additions in same publication, same author, Vol. III, No. 2, April-June, 1958.

–– S.O.S. – S.O.S. – S.O.S. – S.O.S. ––

This means Supplies Out-Stripped!

Our supply of paper-bound Cultural Handbooks is exhausted; we urge new members to buy the cloth bound copies, $3.00 and old members to give this better volume to their friends for Christmas.

Also, S.O.S. means that the supply of articles, photographs and pertinent information for publication in The Bromeliad Bulletin is at an all-time low ebb and we are looking for a new supply.

The 42nd International Flower Show is to be held March 7th through 14th, 1959 at the New York Coliseum. Anyone interested may request a Schedule and Entry Blank from:

International Flower Show, Essex House
157 West 58th St.
New York 19, N. Y.

Under Class # 103, Bromeliads have been given a listing as follows:

"BROMELIADS", not less than 8 species, varieties and/or hybrids,
to cover 25 sq. ft. on a table 10 × 2½ ft.
First Prize $30.00 – Second Prize $20.00
The theme of the show is: A Garden Community

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