Great year for Vriesea philippo-coburgii's

paul_t23(Coastal Sydney)April 8, 2009

I was going to try to abbreviate that Subject, but who would ever guess the search key!

Anyway, this weekend just past I wanted to get some pics of the front yard before I re-bromscape it after the (hopefully) deer-proof fence goes in, AND the V. p-c's have gone ballistic this year AND the light was sort-of OK. So, there are a few pics.

On the way in - note the red bits ...

The down-hill corner, in an attempt to highlight the nice V. platynema?? hybrids??? poking out from behind the base of the gum tree

Looking outwards, downhill, the red V. p-c bits are nice, but the *&@#%& deer have even pushed over the Portea petropolitana's. And the rest have been jumped-on. Come-on fence!

Looking outwards uphill, also red bits from V. p-c clump no.2, but I think the native orchids (bottom RH corner) just have to go! Some hard Neo's and Aechmea's should be just nice there.

Poor old Neo. marmorata x's have gotten a lot too comfortable. Time to them dig out and re-plant them as individual pups with no colonial support. So they go yellow and red again!

A free spot! What can go in there?

The Ae. gamosepala's are nice for a few months, but after-fence/after deer, what opportunities?!

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Very nice canvas you have there paul for your creation

    Bookmark   April 8, 2009 at 9:41AM
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I second HDD's thought - a beautiful setting to create a marvelous display. Specially if that p-c's could get a bit sun to bring out those red tips! Will go wonderful with the marmorata's when they start colouring up.


    Bookmark   April 8, 2009 at 9:50AM
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Hi Paul - What a great massed display of P.C.'s - It really hits you in the eye. I've only ever seen them in pots before and never thought of putting them in the garden.

I have a friend who had so much trouble with deer that she had to have an electric fence put up. Are you by chance anywhere near Bundeena and the National Park where she lives?

All the best, Nev.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2009 at 4:41PM
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Hi Paul, (*_*) " Great combination ! I really love your "Tree fern" and "Grass tree"

Chanin in 'Xeric Garden'

    Bookmark   April 9, 2009 at 9:41AM
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I love those tree ferns Paul, lucky you. Mine aren't "trees" like yours.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2009 at 9:43AM
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Hi Paul, great photos, I particularly like the first one with the grass tree...they're not often seen over here.

You're right about it being a great year for Vr. p-c...I was thinking about posting a topic myself, but will just add a few pic's to yours. I read somewwhere that they need a cold snap to induce flowering.

Cheers, Andrew.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2009 at 8:20PM
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Yes, love your tree ferns!!! A garden so serene.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2009 at 9:15PM
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Paul and Andrew,

Great looking Vriesea philippo-coburgii's, I have been on the look out for one after seeing the yellow one in Steen's book Broms for the contemporary garden.

Has anyone cooked one to get that great yellow color?

Do they multiply well, how long does it take to amass a clump like yours?



    Bookmark   April 10, 2009 at 5:21AM
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paul_t23(Coastal Sydney)

Hi everyone, thanks for your comments. Nev, I'm at Maianbar so yes, right next to Bundeena and the National Park, sharing the deer population with your friend.

Andrew - nice display, and complete with fingernails! Mine get them strongly from late winter through spring to summer, then loose them in autumn for some reason I can't fathom. Shame - it would be great to have them with fingernails at the same time as they flower, like yours. Interesting to see your comment about them needing a cold snap to flower. I get a few flower spikes on my clumps each year but it tends to be fairly sporadic, except some years there can be a lot, lot more. Last winter we had the coldest and most prolonged cold periods for several years - quite a few weeks with nights often down to around 6 degC at my place. With 17 flower spikes on one clump and 13 spikes on the other clump, virtually every mature plant in each clump flowered, so it certainly looks like the coldness of the winter could have synchronised the flowering of the whole lot.

Rick, I've not fully cooked any in a position where they get intense sun on all sides so they go yellow all over, but it would be worth a try - mine certainly go yellow on exposed sides without too much encouragement and the only time I've had them burn was on that 45degC New Year's eve we had a few years ago, and even then they didn't burn very much.

With regard to clumping, this would have to be one of the great clumping broms. A happy plant could easily have 4 to 6 pups almost as big as itself by the time it flowers. I haven't kept close track on how long from when a pup starts to form until it is mature enough to flower, but its probably around 2-3 years. To give you some idea, that clump of mine near the front entrance with 17 flower spikes has grown from 3 large pups that I re-planted 7 years ago (after breaking up the previous large clump), and it has had somewhere between 3-8 spikes on it most years over that period.

The clumps will probably have reached the stage next year or the year after when I will break them up again and re-plant to keep them happy and attractive - they eventually end up growing up and over themselves so much that the whole thing becomes unstable and a bit tatty. But if they only need to be re-done every ten years or so, who cares! What a great garden plant!

Cheers, Paul

    Bookmark   April 11, 2009 at 2:46AM
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Thanks for the follow up, that was just the information that I was after.



    Bookmark   April 11, 2009 at 4:12PM
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Thanks for all the info Paul. Both of you guys have great gardens. Are they sensitive to really low humidity? And do they like to be kept somewhat moist during the growing season?

    Bookmark   April 11, 2009 at 11:32PM
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WOW...what awsome natural display they make...I love them. Sounds like a good landscaping plant for I need me some of them too....LOL

    Bookmark   April 11, 2009 at 11:40PM
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Just plain awesome Paul! Y'know, venison jerky is really good.
OT but I'd give just about anything for your Xanthorrhoea. We have the Mexican equivalent of your Grass Tree out here but the Aussie species is king.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2009 at 5:49PM
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Hi Paul and Andrew, Just stunning Vr,PC's its one of my most loved broms, makes me want to grow a clump myself, have lots in pots around the garden, but your displays are just magnificent, Well done and thanks for sharing.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2009 at 6:17AM
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paul_t23(Coastal Sydney)

Hi sdandy, sorry to take so long to reply - just catching up after being away. Re your question on humidity and watering, those current clumps have developed over seven years that have included the longest and most severe drought in our recorded history. Lots of other things in the garden, eg several large, well-established tree ferns, have died off over that period, but the V. p-c's have soldiered on happily with no watering except natural rainfall, which has many times been light and months apart over extended periods of heat and low humidity.

I suspect that just so long as they are a little bit sheltered, they can probably survive just on dew for extended periods. Also, once they get into a bit of a clump, they probably maintain their own little microclimate, with long-term storage of water deep down in the vases. The soil they are growing in is very poor sand that pretty much repels water and what little water there is gets sucked up by the gum trees, so the V. p-c's do it pretty hard, and seem to love it. Hope this helps.

Gonzer, the venison jerky sounds like a great idea. I get venison pies from the local butcher whenever I can. Not the local deer unfortunately, but still very satisfying!

Tamera, really appreciate your comments. I'm looking forward to the time when I've got enough pups to get some of your stunning plants out there where they can really do their thing.

Cheers, Paul

    Bookmark   April 15, 2009 at 5:13AM
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aroideana(Tropical Australia)

This sp. would be hard to flower here in the tropics .
They grow large and look fantastic , but the temps needed to instigate flowering would have killed off many of my tropical trees .. OH WELL ..mmmmm maybe popping into a coolroom might help ? I have seen them growing well up on the tablelands .

    Bookmark   April 15, 2009 at 7:39PM
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Thanks Paul, excellent and surprising (at least to me!) information. I just imagined and assumed a lot of the vrieseas would be pretty tender to dry air. But I guess I should have thought about the fact that alcantareas were just recently removed from the genus.

So my follow up Vr. P-C considered a 'foliage' vriesea? And are most "foliage" vrieseas pretty tough like vr. p-c? I (once again) just imagined they would need humidity. I haven't taken the expensive gamble on them without knowing whether they would do well.

And I just have to say it again, your clumps look amazing!

    Bookmark   April 15, 2009 at 10:47PM
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paul_t23(Coastal Sydney)

Hi Andy - don't know if V. p-c would be classed as a "foliage" Vriesea - probably a fairly variable bunch anyway given the large number of species and hybrids it seems to include. I've only had experience out there with one, in pics 2 & 3 at the base of the gum tree on the opposite side to the V. p-cs, and closer-up in the pic below. Its a V. platynema X of some description (looks maybe like X fosteriana) that came from a Sydney brom soc around 20 years ago.

It clumps up pretty well too, and has been subjected to the same conditions and treated the same way as the clumps of V. p-c over the same period of time. On top of that, it copes with full afternoon sun in summer and only gets the occasional burn on the very hottest days when it gets to around 40degC. So, its pretty tough as well. Not sure about any others, but I've got a few different clones and hybrids of fosteriana waiting to try out there when I get deer-proofed.

Cheers, Paul

    Bookmark   April 16, 2009 at 5:19AM
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