wallyswandentireplant

Aechmea penduliflora x politii ‘Red Leaf’

The coldest November since 1975 finds Vero Beach overcast, damp and chilly (48°F??!!??) Time to hunker down in “England” clothes and share my latest aquisition!

Last week I attended a Bromeliad Auction and overspent got an Aechmea cultivar known as “Wally’s Wand.” ;)

Aechmea penduliflora x politii 'Red Leaf'

Aechmea penduliflora x politii ‘Red Leaf’

Wally’s Wand is a colorful hybrid created by the late Wally Berg of Sarasota, Florida. Crossing the Ecuadorian Ae. penduliflora (parent plant) with Venezuela’s Ae. politii ‘Red Leaf” (pollen provider), Berg created a South American hybrid with interesting, unusual foliage:

Aechmea Wally's Wand Foliage

At maturity the green to pinkish leaves measure 10″ long, and a loosely clustered flower scape emerges.

Aechmea Wally's Wand Inflorescence

Like 99% of bromeliads, the mature Aechmea slowly declines after blooming, with new “pups” appearing along the base. I was fortunate to get three for the price of one!

Aechmea Wally's Wand pups

Judging from the already chilly weather (and terrible long range winter forecast..even here!) I’m glad I didn’t plant this in ground right away!

Until next time….

:) :) :)

DSC00036

Bromeliad Auction and Billbergia Amoena

A few nights ago I attended a Bromeliad auction. What an amazing array of interesting, unusual plants.

Bromeliad Auction

Small representation of what was available! Wow!

There were so many South American species I’d never seen before, but this one REALLY stood out:

Billbergia amoena SU262

Billbergia amoena SU262

B. amoena SU262 is a larger hybrid of the endemic Brazilian species B. amoena.  At maturity, SU262 measures 20″ tall x 18″ wide, producing an erect showy inflorescence with rose colored bracts.  The bracts in the photo are a few weeks away from revealing blue tipped green flowers similar to those in the photo below:

Typical Billbergia Bloom

Typical Billbergia Bloom

A unique feature of the pendulous billbergia inflorescence is the way the bracts create an umbrella to cover the flowers’ stamens/pistils.  This protective mechanism prevents pollen from being washed or blown away before insects can spread it to other flowers.

Billbergia amoena is surprisingly hardy in the landscape, able to withstand temperatures between 26-28F with minimal damage.  In Zones 9+ planting in full sun is ill-advised due to potential leaf burn. Morning or dappled sun works best.

Another interesting fact: Billbergias are equally at home mounted in trees or planted terrestrially (or in pots!), but good air circulation is key in all 3 environments.  When the inflorescence is nearly spent, pups form around the base of the “mother’ plant eventually forming large, clumping colonies.

Before I close, a few other photos from the auction:

Aechmea farinosa conglomerata

Aechmea farinosa conglomerata

Aechmea kertesziae

Aechmea kertesziae

Neoregelia "Carnival de Rio"

Neoregelia “Carnival de Rio”

Until next time…

:) :) :)

IMG_3171

Floral Friday: A Potinara by any other name…

After skipping last year’s bloom cycle, the Potinara orchid I purchased in 2013 decided to wake up.  This is how it looked on October 27:

Potinara is a man-made genus (aka nothogenus) combining orchids from the Brassavola, Cattleya, Laelia, and Sophronitis genera. Taxonomists have begun reclassifying the 4 component orchids so Potinara Elaine Taylor is now an unpronounceable Rhyncattleanthe. You can read more about the science and name changes here but regardless, this is one striking flower!

Rhyncattleanthe Elaine Taylor, October 31, 2014

Rhyncattleanthe Elaine Taylor, October 31, 2014

Elaine Taylor typically blooms two 3.5-4″ flowers per inflorescence, set off be a bright white column. The labellum, petals, and sepals are covered in a crystalline “dust” that lends sparkle and refraction depending on sunlight.  In a few more days–when this flower is fully open–gold veins will be visible along the throat and mid-lip.

Rlc. Elaine Taylor was hybridized by the Krull-Smith Co. of Apopka, FL. Its family tree includes such famous parents as Rlc. Oconee, Ctt. Hazel Boyd and C. Beaufort, all much awarded and highly valued for the excellent crosses made from them.

For other Floral Friday photos click this link.

Until next time…

IMG_40340172964626

Happy Halloween!

 

royalpavillionstatuehotpinkshrub

Royal Pavilion Gardens: Brighton and Hove (Part 2)

King George IV‘s former Brighton palace defies description, although Taj Mahal West seems pretty apt. ;) Completed in 1823, this blend of minarets and onion domes is an arresting sight against the bright blue sky.

Royal Pavilion Brighton, September, 2014

The Pavilion and Gardens were designed by architect John Nash and William Townsend Aiton, founder of the Royal Horticultural Society. Both viewed buildings and landscapes as part of a picturesque whole, combining trees, shrubs and plants along carriageways leading to the Palace.

royalpaviliongardenpath

Their goal was to create the accidental effects of the “countryside” in a series of changing patterns as people approached the building.

Yellow Helianthus

In the early 2000s, the gardens were revamped to exacting standard and historic accuracy. Everything growing today is typical of the Regency Period.  Strolling the grounds is like stepping back in time!

royalpavillionshrubbery

This next image is one of my favorites from our entire trip. :) What a beautiful Buddleia!

royalpavillionstatuehotpinkshrub

Unexpected textures and shapes were everywhere. Look at these Hydrangeas!

Royal Pavilion Hydrangeas

My knowledge of Mediterranean zone plants is fairly lacking! Might this be Killarney Strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo?) The leaves don’t look quite right, but what a pretty shrub!

IMG_2761

I’ve Googled (hard!) and also asked a few gardening friends about this next “unknown.”  No luck!  Any ideas?

Who am I?

Who am I?

I do however know Fuchsia! I grew quite a few in Massachusetts and was thrilled to see this vibrant specimen!

Fuschia

The Asters were everywhere, but I liked these best:

Aster amellus "Violet Queen"

As we were leaving, I noticed something else I couldn’t quite identify. Eupatorium? Some kind of Verbena? Oy..I have a lot to learn!  :)  (Nice iron scrolled fencing, though!)

Iron Fence

For further info and scheduled events, check out the Royal Pavilion official site.

Until next time!

:) :) :)

20141016_081706 (1)

Mid October Flowers

The 85-90° heat has broken!

As I type this, it’s sunny, clear and 71°F, a perfect morning to move around the garden. :)  The Super Cosmos (as I call them) are having their fullest/tallest bloom cycle ever, several reaching 10ft!

Super Cosmos, 10ft tall!

After conserving energy in the long Florida summer, the vine wall is waking up nicely.  Tecoma capensis (aka Cape Honeysuckle) is a particularly welcome sight.

Tecoma capensis

And here it is again, peeking through Passiflora foliage and a string of Ipomoea quamoclit (aka Red Cypress Vine.)

T. capensis and I. quamoclit on the vine wall

Now this next plant is one I really hate!! Lantana camara is too common and rough-leafed for my taste, but it came with the house and photographs well:

Lantana camara

I have strong feelings in the opposite direction for Primrosewillow: love every variety including Ludwegia peruviana, a Category 1 invasive. In my yard it appears only singly/randomly, so I’m not too worried about it…yet. This morning it looked particularly cheery.

Ludwegia peruviana

I’m thrilled to see a flower forming on the Cattleya hybrid (aka Potinara Elaine TayIor) purchased in February 2013.  Like most orchids, it was in bud when I brought it home, but lain dormant ever since!

Potinara Elaine Taylor in bud

Cast your eye to the left in the image above. What looks like the trunk of a young tree, is actually a Cosmos stem! (Now you know why I’ve dubbed them “Super!!”) I think there may be wierd, GMO/Monsanto sh*t going on here! ;)

Until next time…

:) :) :)

hay-ride

sarboricolatopbranches

Schefflera arboricola Flowers/Berries

Although more common as a houseplant, Schefflera arboricola (aka Dwarf Schefflera) has many qualities that make it a good foundation shrub in Florida Zone 9/10. It is salt tolerant, pest resistant, and with a maximum height of 10ft, easily shaped into hedges/topiaries.  Unfortunately, shaping requires pruning, and pruning robs the plant of it’s greatest feature: beautiful drupes of autumn berries.  This year I let nature take its course, with excellent results:

Schefflera arboricola growing wild in the landscape

Left untrimmed, these shrubs produce flowering umbels from July to October—>tiny, white-to-green and inconspicuous, but still worth a look:

S. arboricola flower close-up

When the flowers become berries, the plant’s true ornamental nature is revealed:

Sarboricoladrupe

Dwarf Schefflera is a native of Taiwan and member of the Aralia family. Like most exotics, it grows best in bright light, humid air, and well draining sandy/loamy soil.  Propagation of outdoor growers is best done from woody stem cuttings; use air layering if your S. arbicola is growing indoors.

S. arboricola full view

Until next time…..

:) :) :)