The Weekly View: Tillandsia Utriculata, 4/19/13

Back in February, I began charting the bloom cycle of a Tillandsia Utriculata wedged among some branches in my backyard citrus tree. To refresh your memory, T.Utriculata is an endangered, native epiphyte; over the last 25yrs, their numbers have  been decimated by Metamasius callizona, an invasive weevil from Mexico.  Thankfully, my specimen has grown vigorously since the last time I posted about it. Take a look!

T. Utriculata in Citrus Tree, 8/19/13

 FYI: the final bloomspike  measurement is a whopping 38″ long!

When large airplants finish branching, they become unwieldy, leaning away from the trunks where they’re anchored.  On Saturday night at Riverside Park, we saw another one in the exact same pose:


“Leaning out” isn’t just about gravity, though; it heralds the start of T. Utriculata’s seed setting stage, which takes 9mos. to complete. When the seeds are ready (next Spring)they waft in the breeze until crossing paths with a suitable host tree or shrub.

You never know where an air plant will turn up! 🙂

If you’d like to read the previous posts in this series, click here!

Until next time…..

🙂 🙂 🙂

Weekly Photo Challenge: Up (and the Weekly View!)

This week’s photo challenge is almost TOO easy. 🙂

Everywhere I look, the plants are reaching up, up, up, like this ipomaea cairica (aka mile-a-minute) vine:

ipomaea cairica, 4/25/13

…..along with budding passiflora and upward facing sunflowers just starting to show their faces:

Passiflora vine and sunflowers, 4/25/13

….remember T. utriculata from my Weekly View posts?   Up, up and away is now an apt description, as its bloomspike breaks free of the orange-tree canopy. 🙂


While I was looking up through the tree, I glimpsed a marvel of avian engineering, so apropos for today of all days!


How perfect! Finding a mockingbird nest on John Jay Audubon’s birthday (birdday? ha!)

You never know what you’ll see when you start looking up!

Until next time…..

🙂 🙂 🙂

Happy Easter! The Weekly View: Tillandsia Utriculata on 3/30/13

Just a quick post to wish everyone a Happy Easter!

What a beautiful day to be alive in Vero Beach: blue skies, no humidity, sun, sun, sun….AND….it’s the first day I’ve woken up pain free in weeks! 🙂 🙂   Thank you for the prayers and well wishes you’ve sent my way.  I FIRMLY BELIEVE in the power of prayer and positive thinking, although I fell short in both departments when anxiety got the better of me.

Yowzaa!! Can you fathom this?

T.Utriculata, 3/30/13

Our favorite Tillie flowerscape is now 20″ long?!   We’ve had precious little rain this month, but evidently airplants get enough from the local humidity to keep them going!.

This next pic says “Happy Easter” better than I could say with 1001 words!

Larkspur, 3/30/13

I hope you all have a fabulous day!

Until next time…..

🙂 🙂 🙂

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Statice in bloom, 3/15/13

The Weekly View: Tillandsia Utriculata, 3/16/13

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

I’ve REALLY missed blogging. 😮 Though my back is TONS improved, I’m still having trouble holding the camera steady: please overlook the less-than-crisp quality of today’s photos?

Let’s begin ❗

While I’ve been resting and recuperating, T.utriculata has been full of energy!  Check out this picture, taken yesterday at 535pm:

Tillandsia Utriculata 3/16/13

The flowerspike now measures exactly 9″!  By next week, it should break through the leaves and begin stretching toward the sun. 🙂

Last season, moles destroyed every dwarf larkspur growing in the rear cutting garden.  After safely removing the rodents In January , I sowed new larkspur seeds near a wire basket plant support… Here’s to hoping this plant stays around!


In the Ranchero garden, a patch of Centaurea has reseeded from last year’s single plant. Most are still in the foliage stage, but one is waking up nicely amid the nasturtium:


March heralds the beginning of Florida’s amaryllis season, with the first bloomspike arriving right on schedule! 🙂


Nothing says Spring like a lily patch! This week, Hemorcallis Hyperion really kicked it into high gear!


This canary-yellow, re-blooming hybrid has been around since 1925. Unlike many modern daylilies, these flowers emit a light, sweet fragrance at dawn and dusk.

Thank you SO much to everyone who sent thoughts and good wishes my way….This week, I’ll be back on track with replies/comments/posts!

 Enjoy the rest of St. Paddy’s!


Where’s the Weekly View?

I’m overdue for a “Weekly View” post but it may be on hold a bit longer.  While working at Hallstrom House last Tuesday, I big time wrenched my upper back, lifting wicked heavy (for me) debris-laden tarps.  😦  Since then I’ve been confined to the house, resting flat and doing little beyond squelching the rising panic over my less-than-speedy recovery ❗

However…it IS getting better and I just got out to the garden for the first time in week! Yaayyy!!!

Ranchero, 3/11/13

As you can see, the Luther Burbank Opuntias are still blooming alongside a crown-of-thorn shrub that was heavily pruned a few months ago.

The day before my injury, I planted 20 lily bulbs from an “Unspecified Assortment 15pk.”  Now if you’re scratching your head, saying  “hmmm, chick can’t add?” be advised: the numerically challenged party in this equation is Wal-Mart, but I’ve got no complaints!  5 free lilies works for me. Several have broken the surface already, and here’s one, variety unknown.

Lily breaking the surface, 3/11/13

Another lily making an appearance this week was a red Canna, the first of early Spring:

Red Canna Lily, 3/11/13

The nasturtiums have been around awhile but are finally leafing out and blooming prodigiously. This colorful flower always makes me smile:

Nasturtium, 3/11/13

My biggest surprise was seeing how the purple phalaenopsis had changed:

Purple Phalaenopsis, 3/11/13

What a beauty!   The next image shows the entire plant (with two additional bloomspikes):

Phalaneopsis w/ 3 bloom spikes, 3/11/13

I tried shooting the Tillandsia next, but the upward angle and twisting involved exceeded my limited range of motion.  I CAN tell you it’s really tall though!  🙂

Until next time…..

🙂 🙂 🙂

The Weekly View and some Orchid Pics!

It’s been exactly one week since my Tillandsia Utriculata began spiking. Take a look at it today: 🙂


3.5″ growth in 7 days!  I knew it happened fast, but this is wayyyyy speedier than anticipated!

Another change worth noting is the appearance of reddish ridges along the spike. As this central structure elongates, little side branches will shoot up and out, reaching toward the sun in arc-like fashion!  .

Late winter is orchid time in Florida, and I’m pretty amped by the  growth of this phalaneopsis:


Look closely (or click on the pic to enlarge it) and you’ll notice 2 sidespikes growing off the back of the main one!   Huge difference from the last time it bloomed in Feb. of 2012!  I think it likes its home under the tree. 🙂

Equally impressive is my lone Dendrobium orchid, which has been blooming NONSTOP since October 1, 2012.


This current group of flowers grew from the tallest stem’s second bloomspike!  (You can see a snipped off portion of the original flowerspike at the stem’s terminal end)  Cast your eyes to the bottom right corner of the photo and you’ll see yet another emerging spike, this one from the plant’s SHORTEST stem.  As long as this orchid stays healthy, I suspect we’ll see flower activity for another 4 months or so.  Wow!!

Until next time……

🙂 🙂 🙂

The Weekly View: Tillandsia Utriculata 2/23/13

Last November,  Claire of Promenade Plantings published the first in a series of “Weekly View” posts about her allotment.  She encouraged others to join her, and I (finally!) have a suitable subject in this Tillandsia Utriculata.


Tillandsias are airplants (epiphytes) that produce whitish scales (trichomes ) on their leaves, giving them a chalky/silvery appearance.  These trichomes function as roots do in other plants, controlling the tilly’s uptake of water and nutrients.

Right now this tillandsia is wedged between branches of my orange tree but that’s not where her life begin.  I kidnapped her from some hedges along a public canal easement across the street from a house that inspired a different post!  (What a productive night that was, eh?!).  😮

Anyway….:Moving the camera a bit, you’ll notice an emerging flower spike:


Tilly infloresceneces (flower spikes) can grow 2-4″ each week, reaching 10-15′ tall at maturity.  As the inflorescence elongates, multiple side branchlets appear, growing 4-8″ in numerous directions; eventually small greenish yellow flowers bloom along the stems as seen in this photo of last year’s plant.


Sadly, the emergence of a bloom spike signals the beginning of the end for T. utriculata, who declines and dies after seeds are discharged from the flowers..

To see where this “Weekly” series is headed, here is Tilly 2012’s final photo, taken on December 22, the day I removed her from the tree.


I must confess I didn’t follow this plant’s growth too closely last year and look forward to noting what happens (and when) on this year’s go ’round!  I hope you all find it  interesting, too!

Until next time…..

🙂 🙂 🙂