The closing of borders caught us caravanning in South Australia and, with only two days’ notice, it was a frantic pack-up and bolt back across the border to avoid a two week isolation period. Little did I realise what a recluse I really am, and didn’t need to worry about the boredom of staying home . . . I have my bromeliad!

It was a long hot summer so there was PLENTY to do! I can’t get out in the heat any more so my garden suffered, both with the heat and drought (water restrictions) and my tank water getting seriously low, I decided to ‘sacrifice’ the front garden and not water, keeping a ‘maintenance lifeline’ going in the shade houses. So now was the time to tackle the front garden.

To my delight these hardly plants not only survived, but some I’d had for many years, FLOWERED!

To be fair, this Tiilandsia krukoffiana has been spiking steadily for quite a while, but still worth a mention. The flowers are quite insignificant but the whole spike will give me pleasure for months to come. This was one of the first plants I purchased when I first found time to go to bromeliad sales. I bought many plants from well known collector and grower, Ellen Sloss, this was just one of the ‘lovely little’ plants she offered, it was around 1995. It has had many grass pups, but I doubt I will be around to see them flower.

Aechmea Mexicana (acquired 2007) is yet another plant that has done NOTHING over the years, growing steadily but I gave up on watching it many years ago. It had fallen over and grew sideways out of the pot along the ground on its short stolon, where it is now happily flowering. Don’t like my chances of seeing any future pups, if any appear, flowering, but am still pleased to see it!

My next ‘find’ was Pitcairnia smithorum, with not one but two flowers emerging. This, too, is susceptible to cold , so had to be keep warm in amongst a grouping of other plants. One of the more tropical ‘grassy‘ varieties, and I must confess, I did sneak it a few extra drinks during the summer, as it seems to need more than its thicker leafed cousins.

The leaves can get yellow and spotty and you might think to give up on it but after once experiencing the brilliant orange bracts and sunny yellow flowers, it is well worth the extra effort in colder areas. This plant was purchased in Queensland in 2013.

Last of the ‘shy’ flowerers is yet another Aechmea that I have had for many years (since 2010), Aechmea azurea, which flowered not long after I purchased it then threw half a dozen pups. It seems to be struggling in the cold frosty conditions of my winters here and needs to be protected. Brown spots still appear, but will take what I can get, as the flower is quite spectacular with its scarlet bracts and bright blue flowers. It too, is worth the effort.

For further information regarding the BSA please contact Ian Hook, President, mobile 0408 202 269 or email [email protected].

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