Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Wednesday Vignette: Great Balls of Fire!

Last Sunday afternoon, I made a trip to Rainforest Flora, a nursery specializing in tropical plants, more specifically bromeliads.  The nursery was hosting a bromeliad show and sale, which I'd learned about in a recent post by Denise of A Growing Obsession.  I arrived mid-afternoon on the second day of the 2-day event.

I took quite a few photos, which I'll cover in another post; however, I thought I'd offer one as my contribution to the Wednesday Vignette meme hosted by Anna at Flutter & Hum.  With apologies to Jerry Lee Lewis, my first thought upon seeing the following construction was "goodness, gracious, great balls of fire!"




The ball in question was on display as part of the show and sale put on by South Bay Bromeliad Associates.  It was made of dozens of Tillandsias, commonly known as air plants because many don't need to be planted in soil to survive.  Unfortunately I didn't get an ID for this particular species of Tillandsia.  Rainforest Flora also had Tillandsias mounted en masse on hanging balls but none of these had leaves flushed with color.  Nonetheless, they were impressive.

Two Tillandsia balls on display in Rainforest Flora's store


Visit Anna at Flutter & Hum to find what caught the fancy of other gardeners this week.


All material © 2012-2016 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

22 comments:

  1. WOW, that first photo is a stunner. Talk about electric!

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    1. There were some truly gorgeous specimens on display. Unfortunately, the backdrop for the show was greenhouse/warehouse space so the plants didn't all show well in many cases but I was impressed nonetheless.

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  2. I'm with Gerhard: what a stunner. I've seen photos of Tillandsia that tend to bulk up in clusters, but nothing like these groupings. I'm wondering if they are the natural habit of these species or if they are, for lack of a better term, container plantings/groupings?

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    1. I kicked myself afterwards for failing to inspect the Tillandsia balls more closely, Tim, but I'm almost positive that the individual plants were attached to a form, perhaps constructed of moss or some similar material. Rainforest Flora has a large number of videos posted on their site but, although I couldn't find one covering the construction of the round Tillandsia balls, they do have videos showing how other Tillandsias are wired and glued for the purposes of display.

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  3. These are spectacular! I look forward to seeing more photos of your visit.

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    1. I'm still whittling down my photos but I hope to have another post on my visit later this week, Sarah.

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  4. All very impressive. Hope you found a few things to bring home as well.

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    1. I thought I might bring home a small Tillandsia or two, Susie. Ha! Yes, I made some purchases, which I'll show in an upcoming post.

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  5. Wow - that's fabulous! Love the other Tillandsia balls too, but that first one is unreal!! I too, am curious to see what other marvels you saw. How fun to have a nearby nursery that puts on a Bromeliad show. They are such cool plants - I would love to learn more about them!

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    1. Although I have a handful of bromeliads, I can't say I know much about them. The show was good at giving me a sense of just how many genera there are. Although I used to live within 2 miles of Rainforest Flora, the store itself didn't provide the same kind of education. I'm not quite ready to join the local group that ran the show (although I just discovered that they meet just a few miles from my current home) but I'm definitely going to remember that they hold a show each August.

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  6. Spectacular! And even the simplest green ones would give a lush, shady effect hung overhead. I really know next to nothing about Tillandsias; maybe I should learn more! Waiting to see more of your pics!

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    1. Tillandsias and most, if not all, of the other genera of bromeliads are tropical plants so you and I face a similar challenge in growing them: they need humidity/air moisture to stay healthy - they do better in places like Florida and Hawaii than California and Arizona. I've had trouble keeping the "air plants" alive in the house but most of my bromeliads do okay outside in the shade.

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  7. You scared me with the use of the word "fire"...glad to see the Tillandsia right away. It's a beauty!

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    1. Yes, I guess I should avoid references to "fire" as the real thing is all too close a presence this summer.

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  8. Oh, what fun, they are gorgeous.

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    1. While I generally like Tillandsias, I don't usually love them but this mass of color was different.

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  9. Wow! The color on that first one is fabulous! Great balls of fire is right.

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    1. The phrase popped into my head when I saw it at the bromeliad show, although I admit I required the assistance of a search engine before I could pinpoint the artist.

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  10. (when your Dombeya arrives - maybe try for a little light afternoon shade - since those soft leaves come from sub-tropical Kwazulu-Natal. Ours does get afternoon sun, but gentled by the trees on the sunny side)

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