Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Let's visit the hidden bromeliad bed!

Inspired by the Coronavirus Tourism posters created by Jennifer Baer, this is the third of my virtual tours of areas of my garden that get relatively little attention.  (You can find the first two posts here and here.)  Today's focus is the narrow bromeliad bed I created in November 2017 and renovated in November 2019 after raccoons tore it apart.  I haven't done much to it since but it's settling in well and, to date, the rocks I added when it was renovated seem to have done the job at holding off the raccoons, as well as the other critters currently plaguing different areas of my garden.

The bromeliad bed is sandwiched between a succulent bed on the left and a neighbor's property on the right.  (That's her driveway.)

A flagstone path borders the narrow bed.  I used mondo grass (Ophiopogon japonicus) to fill the space between and around the flagstones.  The stone along the perimeter of the bed was saved when we took down the indoor barbecue during our home renovation last year.


Let's take a closer look section by section.

This first segment consists solely of succulents, the most prominent of which are Mangave 'Pineapple Express' on the left and the 3 Echeveria agavoides in the middle.

This central area contains the bromeliads that gave the bed its name.  It includes Vriesea ospinae var gruberi, Quesnelia 'Tim Plowman', Billbergia 'Carioca', Aechmea fasciata, Aechmea 'Mend', and Neoregelia 'Guinea x Pepper'.

The main features of this bed are the 2 Mangaves, 'Falling Waters' and 'Mission to Mars', both of which are still relatively small.  An assortment of other succulents serve as fillers.

A succulent bedecked piece of driftwood sits on the other side of the path under a peppermint willow (Agonis flexuosa).  I recently added a bird's nest abandoned after the baby California towhees fledged.

I moved the chiminea that formerly sat on the back patio here following our renovation.  It's topped with a piece of driftwood and a noID clump of Tillandsia.


Although it's called a bromeliad bed, it's obviously dominated by succulents, including the Mangaves added late last year.  Mangaves are my most recent plant crush.  More and more of these intergeneric hybrids have been released for sale over the last few years.  The bromeliad bed has just three at present, in addition to a Manfreda, which played a significant role in the breeding of Mangaves.

This Manfreda maculosa is looking particularly good this year

The Mangaves included in the bromeliad bed are, left to right: 'Falling Waters', 'Mission to Mars' and 'Pineapple Express'


I've got Mangaves tucked elsewhere in the garden as well.

There are more here in the succulent bed that fronts the bromeliad bed, largely hiding it from view

Clockwise from the upper left, these include: Mangaves 'Jaguar', 'Snow Leopard' (looking decidedly pink at the moment), 'Bad Hair Day' (which the ants are trying to take over), 'Kaleidoscope' (which pups freely), and 'Spotty Dotty' (which is doing a nice job of mimicking Agave attenuata)

My first Mangaves were planted in this bed on the northeast side of the house

Clockwise from the upper left, they include: Mangaves 'Bloodspot', 'Lavender Lady' (possibly the most elegant of them all), 'Purple People Eater', and Silver Fox' (another avid pupper)

And then there are Mangaves in pots, including clockwise from the upper left: Mangaves 'Red Wing', 'Blazing Saddles', 'Jaguar' pups, 'Moonglow', another 'Kaleidoscope' (a recent birthday gift from a friend), and 'Tooth Fairy' (a slow grower but one of my favorites)


I decided I had room for more and ordered four additional Mangaves yesterday.  They should be delivered in about a week.

Have a good Wednesday.


All material © 2012-2020 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

20 comments:

  1. Mangaves are very collectable. You have a really nice assortment. I have a few in pots that must be brought indoors for winter. Pineapple Express is also a vigourous pupper. Only transplanted last year and it has filled it's pot. What others did you order?

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    1. I ordered 3 more 'Red Wing' and a second 'Bad Hair Day', both of which you may note I already have. However, 'Red Wing' is the right color to play off a particular bromeliad and it's size and shape will work too. I love my existing 'Bad Hair Day' and hope to save it from the ant colony building a nest in the middle of it but I want to try a second one in a pot as its shape seems perfect for it (and I have a pot I love sitting empty by our front door). The selection offered by the mail order vendor I ordered from was limited but had attractive pricing. In contrast, I love the large selection another nursery in North Carolina has but their prices combined with their shipping cost gives me a stomach ache.

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  2. Whenever the word "hidden" is used in a title I get excited, it feels like a treasure hunt. The Coronavirus Tourism posters are a fun, and while on that site I saw a link to an artist that was just featured on CBS' Sunday Morning, which I just loved: https://www.thisiscolossal.com/2020/04/jim-bachor-covid-19-potholes/
    I don't grow any Mangave, but Manfreda macula is so beautiful I could be tempted! And any combinations with driftwood gets my heat racing, I love that!

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    1. Thanks for the link! I shared it with some friends today and everybody loved it. Street art fits the moment I think. My brother shared the street art of David Zinn with me last week (featured on YouTube by BBC News in early June) and I was utterly charmed.

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  3. A fun tour. I have an Eastern Agave, Manfreda virginica, that looks a lot like your Mangave 'pineapple express'. I have had it two years in my garden. It is native to this area and it was going to put up a bloom this year and the rabbits ate it. Made me want to shoot to kill. I have never had much luck with bromeliads when I have to bring them inside for the winter. My darling daughter gave me a planter with two of them in it and a aeonium is also in it along with some sort of ground cover. I don't know the varieties since there were no tags in it. It sure it pretty. I hope I don't kill it this winter...if it survives the summer. So far so good. I could really get into the plants you have shown if only I had a greenhouse.I will have to continue to enjoy them via your blog.

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    1. If you have a space with good light inside, bring the bromeliad/succulent planter in for the winter and it should be fine, Lisa. I'll keep my fingers crossed.

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  4. I think your collection has reached critical mass! :)
    (When reading this, I kept thinking how Loree is going to love this post! very Danger-ous. ;) )

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    1. Oh, I expect Loree has many more Mangaves than I have, Eliza! And a larger variety to boot.

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  5. Those Manfredas are so cool... I saw a number of varieties at a nursery this spring and was sorely tempted. Alas, I have next to zero sun, so I gathered ALL my resolve, and walked past them to the fern section. (I'm sure you're proud of me. LOL!)

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    1. I am proud of you, Anna! Unless you're up for a Loree-style mass migration each winter - or you find yourself a greenhouse! - I expect Mangaves may be more work than your ferns.

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  6. I put a hold on buying more Mangaves until I have a good winter protocol. They are hardy here, but the snails love them and the rain is not their friend. I'm having a project done this year that should allow me to erect my pop-up greenhouse again to employ both rain and snail protection.

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    1. A pop-up greenhouse! That sounds interesting, Kathy. I'd like to see it in a future post.

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  7. You've worked wonders on this part of your garden, just like the rest of it! Raccoons! We have some here, too, and I often wonder if some of the damage I blame on squirrels is really from raccoons. I really like the Mangaves in pots--wow, impressive collection!

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    1. Squirrels dig but raccoons pull entire plants out, Beth, often shredding them in the process, or at least that's my experience here. Until the gopher arrived, they were nemesis #1.

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  8. I love how this post was supposed to be about the bromeliads (at least that's what the title suggests) but was quickly hijacked by the mangaves...

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    1. While most of my bromeliads survive being planted in the ground here, this ain't Florida and succulents still rule here. And, having just placed another order for Mangaves, I had them on my mind. Who knows? The bromeliad bed may be renamed the Mangave bed one day.

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  9. Those beds look great. The Arbutus trunk is a sight, too. The rocks look good--are they keeping the raccoons at bay?

    It's a mystery why I haven't warmed up much to Mangaves. The last Inter City show had a truly breathtaking 'Lavender Lady' on the trophy table, but...still not hooked.

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    1. The rock seems to have done the trick in keeping the raccoons out - they're heavy and plentiful enough to make their digging both more difficult and less productive. 'Lavender Lady' is an elegant Mangave but perhaps not as interesting as many of the others. Plant Delights has the largest variety if you want to peruse that site to see other varieties but be warned their prices per plant run high and their shipping cost will make you cry.

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  10. It must be so nice to have such an array of plants that can handle your hot, dry weather without being stressed. I wish that were the case here. Your gardens always look so lovely and I am still amazed not only of the variety that you have, but that you can take care of all of them. Do weeds grow in your climate. It never appears so.

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    1. Weeds seem less prevalent in drier years, Cindy, but we get a wide variety of them every year. There's a Euphorbia weed that's especially pesky, partly because it looks a lot like the creeping thyme I use throughout my garden. However, some of my worst weeds are actually sold as ornamental plants, Geranium incanum and Erigeron karvinskianus. While I always pull the former, I tolerate the latter as it's a good filler even if sometimes very hard to manage.

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