Club News.

Click HERE to return to Illawarra Bromeliad Society "Club News Page".

April 2005

Tillandsia fasciculata
Tillandsia fasciculata

- Articles appearing in this issue of NEWSLINK are for information purposes only and are not necessarily endorsed by the Committee or the Illawarra Bromeliad Society.
- The Society is, by the holding of meetings, displays and competitions, to provide a forum for the people of the Illawarra region who are interested in the culture and collection of bromeliads.
NEW MEMBERS: A very warm welcome to Laurie Dorfer who joined our Society in March.

May . . . . . . Sharyn/Ted/Doreen
June. . . . . . Carmel/Phillip/Nina
July. . . . . . Rena/Sylvia/David
August. . . . . Beth/Sue/Elizabeth
September . . . Carol/Jarka/Russell
October . . . . Alan/Dulcie/Graham
November. . . . John/Dawn/Rosetta
December. . . . Vonda

Members are reminded that annual fees are due to be paid by June 30 each year; however, anyone joining between March and June inclusive have membership until the following year.

This is quite a new site but it already features a wonderful display of members’ gardens. It also contains information about the Society meetings, bromeliad culture, and photographs. If you love to see other people’s gardens, this is a “must visit” site!

The website—called Bromeliads in Australia--set up by the Bromeliad Society of Australia Inc., and which we have opted to be a part of, is now up and running. The address is: and already contains a good deal of information and pictures, including a copy of our October 2004 Newslink in the Club News Section.

Where: In the garden of Woodgreen Angus Stud, Powells Road, Bilpin. (Powells Road turns left off Bells Line of Road, approximately 5 km west of Bilpin.)
When: Anzac Weekend, 23-24 April, 2005 from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm
What: For Sale: Distinctive, rare and unusual plants suited to cool-climate, dry-climate and coastal gardens, plus guest speakers (pre-bookings required).
Two stall-holders —
Matcham Valley Nursery, NSW, and Stockade Nursery, Queensland
— are featuring bromeliads, along with gingers, aroids, succulents, begonias, and ferns.
Orchid Oasis, NSW has orchids, heliconia, succulents, green bat plant, and spiral and beehive gingers. Also on offer are double hellebores, lavenders, organic herbs and vegetables, water plants, heritage roses, cycads, rare bulbs, etc.
Entry: $5/$4 if prebooked — includes entry to the beautiful garden of nearby Kookaburra Farm - 25% of proceeds to go to the Bilpin Bush Fire Brigade. Contact: Peter Trahar: 4567-2026/Beth Stokes: 9690 1070 4888 9262 or for further information: down to 23-24 April)

We would like members to have the opportunity of visiting other members’ gardens this year. Plans have yet to be fully worked out, but as Graham and Elizabeth, Sharyn and Rena have kindly agreed to allow us to explore their gardens, we have set the date for Wednesday, May 18, starting at Rena’s where we will meet at 10.00 am. See handout for addresses and some further details.

As this was such a success last year we have decided to continue the tradition. Just a short business meeting, followed by our usual plant competition, and then explore the Garden and enjoy food with a Christmas flair. Start time is 11.00 am and catering details will be discussed at our meetings before then.

We have been discussing for several months now the idea of putting out a recipe book, containing some of the favourites we enjoy at our monthly meetings. As our idea was not to put it out as a fundraiser, or anything on a large-scale basis, we have decided instead just to feature at least one of these recipes in each of our future newsletters, In this issue we start out with Val’s delicious ‘Raisin Loaf’—see page 14.

Coming Events :

April 9 - 10 Bromeliad Society of New South Wales – Autumn Show
Senior Citizens Centre, 9-11 Wellbank Street (Cnr Bent St) Concord
Woodgreen Angus Stud, Powells Road – see details above
April 30 – May 1 Bromeliad Society of Australia – Autumn Show
Burwood RSL, Cnr Shaftesbury Road and Clifton Avenue
June 11th, 8.00am - 4.30pm
June 12th, 9.00am - 3.00pm
Adults $3/Under 14 Free.
Bob Reilly (07)3870-8029
Bromeliad Society of Queensland Inc, and the Cactus and Succulent Society of Queensland Inc. combined show and plant sale
Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens Auditorium
Bob Reilly, publicity officer for the above event, has contacted us, asking us to advertise details of their Show where over 1000 different varieties/hybrids of bromeliads, cacti, and other succulents will be offered for sale.
June 30 Closing date for ‘Earlybird’ registration to Bromeliads XIII Conference
Sept 10 - 11 Illawarra Bromeliad Society Show
Uniting Church Hall, Russell Street, Corrimal
October 14 - 17 Bromeliads XIII Conference – Brisbane.
Oct 29 - 30 Bromeliad Society of New South Wales – Spring Show

April 2, 2005: Topic: Neoregelias

May 7, 2005: Topic: Tillandsia-like Bromeliads

June 4, 2005: Topic: Gray-Leafed Tillandsias

July 2, 2005: CHRISTMAS IN JULY! A picnic in the Garden.

PLANT RESULTS - February 5, 2005

1st Ailsa McDonald Vriesea splendens
2nd Graham Bevan Canistrum fosterianum (*1)
3rd Ailsa McDonald Neoregelia Manoa Beauty

(*1) Labelled as Canistrum fosterianum, but Nina thought it more likely to be a cross—XCanmea ? There were 2 lovely plants in the pot with 2 inflorescences.
1st Dawn Climent Nidularium Nana
2nd Dawn Climent Nidularium fulgens
3rd Dawn Climent Nidularium Red Queen
3rd Beth Churton Neoregelia Mon Petite
3rd Rhonda Patterson Neoregelia Predator

1st Ted Clare Tillandsia ehlersiana
2nd Ted Clare Tillandsia leiboldiana
3rd Graham Bevan Tillandsia didisticha x lorentziana

PLANT RESULTS - March 5th 2005

1st Ailsa McDonald XNeophytum Galactic Warrior
2nd Ailsa McDonald Billbergia
2nd Alan Kirkby Neoregelia Grand Fantastic
3rd Rena Wainwright Neoregelia Red on Green
3rd Ailsa McDonald Neoregelia carolinae Perfecta Tricolor
3rd Ailsa McDonald Neoregelia concentrica x Avalon

1st Sue Burrows Neoregelia Golden King
2nd Beth Churton Neoregelia (Aussie Dream) Red Glow
2nd Beth Churton Neoregelia (Fosperior) Perfection
3rd Sue Burrows Canistropsis billbergioides Orange

1st Sue Burrows Tillandsia flabellata
2nd Sue Burrows Tillandsia pauciflora(*2)
3rd Ted Clare Tillandsia caerulea

(*2) Labelled as T. pauciflora; however, Nina thought it more likely to be one of the T. fasciculatas!

The genus Regelia was established in 1890 by Lindman and named for Eduard von Regel, a German botanist and superintendent of the Botanic Garden in St. Petersburg, Russia. However, since the name, Regelia, had already been given to a genus in the myrtle family, L. (Lyman) B. Smith changed it to Neoregelia in 1934.

The genus belongs to the subfamily Bromelioideae and comprises some 100 species in two subdivisions — Neoregelia and Hylaeaicum (in Neoregelia the petals are fused while in Hylaeaicum the petals are separate). Hylaeaicum is represented by only around 12 species, all indigenous to the upper Amazon River area — i.e., Colombia, Venezuela, Peru and Amazonian Brazil. These include: Neoregelia eleutheropetala — a large, stoloniferous plant with leaves that measure from 1-1/2 to 2 feet in length, and which change colour as flowering time nears, the centre spreading open and turning bright red -- and Neoregelia pendula, which is one that I think Nina has, with a centre which turns a very beautiful pink at flowering time).

If we are unfamiliar with the geography of Central and South America, this may sound like just “all South America” to us, but if we take a look at the map, we can see that these countries are much closer to the Equator — and the native habitat of the Hylaeaicum species is along the upper Amazon and its tributaries (more to the centre and west coasts of these countries) — so that they come from very hot, steamy areas, thus making them more difficult to grow here in Sydney and surrounds without some kind of special conditions. However, more recently, some Skotak hybrids between these Hylaeaicum species have been showing up in Sydney nurseries and it is hoped that we might have some better luck growing them in our areas.

We are more familiar with the species found in the subdivision “Neoregelia” which are native mainly to the east coast of Brazil — Rio de Janeiro and the adjoining coastal areas of Espirito Santo, Minas Gerais, and Sao Paulo, with a few from the surrounding mountain areas — where they grow in rainforest and coastal scrub conditions, and even on the low rocks and on the sandy beaches, within reach of the salt spray (Neoregelia marmorata is one of these!).

Perhaps I should have said that we are more familiar with the beautiful Neoregelia hybrids, and we must be proud of our own Australian hybridists — Grace Goode and Bob Larnach, among them.

But some of the Neoregelia species are also very beautiful and have been used to create some outstanding hybrids:
· · Neoregelia carolinae forma tricolor was the original variegated Neoregelia found in the wild.
· · Neoregelia carcharodon is a large, robust species with leaves 2 feet long by 3 inches wide.
· · Neoregelia cruenta is an even larger species, sometimes having leaves up to 3 feet long and 3 inches wide. It is native to southern Brazil where it grows in full sun on rocks and in the sand along the coast from Rio de Janeiro south to Sao Paulo.
· · Neoregelia concentrica grows in the cloud forests of Brazil, mostly on rocks that are exposed to some light, from sea level to an altitude of 2,700 feet. (The reverse side of the leaf is streaked with silver-gray and just prior to flowering, the inner leaves turn a rich purple.)
· · In spite of its anglicized name, Neoregelia ‘Fireball’ is thought to be a species.
· · Neoregelia spectabilis grows in low coastal areas near Rio de Janeiro. The almost spineless foliage is olive green above and has white, crosswise banding beneath. The brilliant red tips of the leaves have earned this species the title the “painted fingernail plant”.
· · Neoregelia zonata grows on rocks along the coast in Espirito Santo in southern Brazil and has stiff, upright leaves, banded wine red on both sides, but most conspicuously on their undersides.

Now to some of the hybrids.
· · Firstly, I just wanted to show you my Neoregelia ‘Gunpowder’, which has two pups — one showing pretty striping and the other just kind of a plain lilac colour at the moment, reflecting the ‘Takemura Princeps’ influence from the seed parent. (N. ‘Gunpowder’ is a Skotak hybrid, made in 1990, with the seed parent carolinae x Takemura Princeps and the pollen parent ‘Meyendorffii’ x concentrica.)
As there is the possibility that successive pups could revert to the true ‘Gunpowder’ look, it illustrates how correct labeling of your plants can perhaps avoid confusion at a later date.
· · Here, N. Lucky Seven – a Bob Larnach hybrid, and one of his ‘Aussie Dream’ cultivars.
· · Last month, Beth brought in another Aussie Dream - Red Glow, and some of the other beautiful ‘Aussie Dream’ cultivars (made between 1990-1997) include ‘Something Special, ‘Tartan Princess’, ‘Glorious’ and ‘Larnach’s Pride’ – all cultivars of ‘Meyendorffii’ (variegated) x olens ‘Marie’.
· · Also in March, Alan brought in Neoregelia ‘Catherine Wilson’, a cultivar of unknown parentage made by R. Wilson around 1973. Nina commented that this was well grown, as it is very hard to grow without it showing some burn.
· · Another registered Australian hybrid brought in last month was Neoregelia ‘Wally’, made by B. Ellis in 1995 — a cultivar of ‘Meyendorffii’ (variegated) x chlorosticta. Named for Dee Why nurseryman, John Walton.

Padilla, V. In: Bromeliads, Crown Publishers, Inc., New York.
Smith, L. B. and Downs, R. J. (1979) In: Flora Neotropica, Monograph No. 14, Part 3, Bromelioideae
Goff, P. Neoregelia, (Accessed March 17, 2005)

By Chris Larson (Article taken from the Bromeliad Society of Victoria Inc.’s Bromeliad Newsletter, October 2002 Vol. 19(5).)

Tillandsia cyanea has often proven a disappointing growing experience for many novice growers. This has been due to many people’s success with foliage, while never seeing the flowers again. Other than changing to a fertilizer with less nitrogen — e.g., an African violet fertilizer or an orchid bloom booster - in my experience this can be corrected by providing a high light environment. Whilst this plant needs protection from the cold and prefers high humidity, they flower most readily in good (high, but indirect) light.

Division: One mistake many people make is breaking a clump of T. cyanea into individual plants. In my experience, unless you are growing your plants in a heated area with regular fertilizing, this plant should be divided (if you want to divide it) into clumps. Many is the time that I’ve seen solitary plants, struggling to grow.

Bak plants: It appears that over the past couple of years, a lot of the two clones listed below have been imported and sold throughout Australia, and, indeed the rest of the world.
These two are:
· · Tillandsia cyanea ‘Paradise’. This plant is a cultivar with a short scape and intense pink colouring in the bract. Under Victorian conditions it forms a beautiful compact plant.
· · Tillandsia cyanea ‘Anita’. There seems to be some confusion over this plant. It is thought to be a cultivar of T. cyanea, though Corn. Bak say in their catalogues that it is a hybrid of T. lindenii x T. cyanea. Tropiflora said, “A newer cultivar of T. cyanea with a much wider and more rounded inflorescence — size to 16” tall and 18” across — the paddle colour is a striking lavender instead of the usual light pink — red striated green leaves and a lovely lavender arrowhead-shaped spike with large purple cinnamon scented flowers.”

Tillandsia cyanea ‘Anita’ appears in other forms:
1 . A trigonous form with a three-sided inflorescence — called ‘Triflor’ by Tropiflora 2 . An unnamed branched form with multiple paddles.

Bak have also produced the lovely Tillandsia Creation, a hybrid between T. cyanea and T. platyrhachis.

The web site of the BSI was the source for the information on T. cyanea ‘Anita’, which in turn was gathered from sources such as the BSI Journals, Tropiflora’s Cargo Report, and Birdrock Tropicals’ web site.

Chris mentioned above that Bak have produced the beautiful Tillandsia Creation, and The Bromeliad Cultivar Register tells us that it was made in 1985.
Nina brought in her beautiful plant to our March meeting and, contrary to the information above on Tillandsia cyanea, Nina has found that Tillandsia Creation does not work well in a clump. It needs separating and needs intense fertilizing. She has also found that it has a tendency to ‘quill’ and does not like to be in a glasshouse, preferring good air circulation.

(Article taken from the Central Coast NSW Bromeliad Society Inc’s Bromelia Post, July 2003 issue, but had been reprinted with acknowledgement and minor amendment from J. Bromeliad Soc., 1993, Vol. 43 No. 1)

The best-known of the seven species of Tillandsia recently placed on the CITES list is Tillandsia xerographica. Also, it is one of the best illustrations of the difficulty in trying to establish such a list.
(CITES = Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora)

T. xerographica occurs in a number of populations, ranging from southern Mexico to El Salvador. The Mexican form has a limited range in the state of Oaxaca and has had the further bad luck of having the Pan American Highway winding through its range. A combination of habitat destruction and collection makes the Mexican population a legitimate candidate for the CITES list.

Almost all T. xerographica plants in commerce, however, are from Guatemalan sources and many growers and vendors maintain that most of the Guatemalan populations are still thriving, and collecting does not currently pose a threat. In any case, the issue of collecting bromeliads and other plants from the wild will become an increasingly controversial one.

T. xerographica is one of the most striking Tillandsias and has long been one of the most popular. The bold, silvery rosette, with long, tapering leaves, never fails to attract attention. Amazingly, for such a conspicuous plant, it was not described until 1953. In the wild it grows as an epiphyte in rocky, semi-arid situations in full sun at elevations ranging from 500-1800 feet. At the height of the dry season, wild populations tend to look rather bedraggled. They are more tender to cold than most Tillandsias but are otherwise rather easy to grow and flower. After flowering, they send out one or more pups that are not difficult to grow to maturity.

At one time, the name T. tomaselii was applied to the Mexican form. Most taxonomists do not regard the difference between the Mexican and Guatemalan forms as significant enough to warrant taxonomic separation. The Mexican form is a larger plant with a taller, denser spike. It is also a lot more tender. My experience has been that the two forms can be readily distinguished even after having been grown side by side for years.

To complicate matters further, another Mexican plant found in oak woodlands near Rincor de la Via in the state of Guerrero was described as T. kruseana in 1973. In appearance, at least, it looks like it is simply a larger form of the Oaxacan T. xerographica, and its description (except for ultimate size) in the Smith and Downs monograph does not seem to separate it from T. xerographica. If you don’t have T. xerographica in your collection and you want one, you’d better get it soon as prices will be rising. (Article written in 1993!—Ed.)

· · You will find that the cork bark used for mounting Tillandsias is much easier to work with when it is wet because it is softer. Soak the cork in a plastic container of water the day before you plan to use it and you will find it much easier to break. Cork looks softer and more natural if broken rather than cut. Score the cork on the back to make it easier to break. Of course, if using glue when mounting, you will have to ensure that the cork has dried out completely before applying the adhesive.
(From Bromeliad Society of NSW Inc.’s Bromeliad Newsletter, Vol. 20(1), January, 2002.)
· · If you are mounting Tillandsias onto wooden or cork mounts, try to do this activity well before the plant flowers. This improves the chances of the plant sending out roots onto the mount, as flowering plants often do not do this. Instead, flowering plants are probably using their energy to make flowers, then seeds and pups.
(From Bromeliad Society of New Zealand Inc.’s Journal – June 2003, Vol. 43(6).)

I was mentioning in passing recently the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens when one of the group of bromeliad enthusiasts I was with said that they had no idea of the history of the gardens. I didn’t either, but then came across this very nice article on the Net while I was searching out something else. The site shows some beautiful pictures of the gardens, featuring many of the different areas highlighted in this article — e.g., the Gardens Entrance, Fernery, Tropical Display House, etc. etc. You can find it at:
Reprinted with permission from the author.

THE MARIE SELBY BOTANICAL GARDENS By Susan Mahr, University of Wisconsin

The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is a tropical oasis in the midst of downtown Sarasota, Florida. Located on Sarasota Bay, the beautiful 8.5 acres of display gardens focus on orchids, bromeliads and other epiphytic plants. Epiphytes, or air plants, live on other plants or structures, but are not parasitic on their hosts.

The Gardens were created more than 25 years ago by a gift of Marie Selby, a long-time Sarasota resident and philanthropist, “to serve the people of Sarasota as a beautiful and peaceful garden where one may enjoy the splendor of the plant world in one of the most lovely settings in Florida.” She and her husband Bill were frugal millionaires who made huge contributions to their community through numerous local nonprofit organizations. Marie was a founding member of the Sarasota Garden Club, which was formed in 1927 to beautify the community. At the time of her death (at the age of 81) in 1971 her estate’s executor announced that she had left her seven-acre property and an endowment for the establishment of a botanical garden, for use by local clubs for meetings and social events. Dr. Carlyle Luer, one of the members of the estate’s board of trustees and an orchid enthusiast, convinced the other board members — who were generally unenthusiastic about the whole idea — to establish the Gardens with a focus on epiphytic plants. He would become the director during the development of the Gardens and founding editor of its research journal, Selbyana (which publishes original research by staff and leading epiphyte and canopy scientists from around the world). In 1973, the first Executive Director, Dr. Calaway Dodson, was hired and began the task of transforming the residential property into a botanical garden. Two years later the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens were officially opened to the public.

The Gardens have evolved into an internationally recognized centre for research, conservation and educational programs about tropical plants and their habitats. The epiphytic plants collections originated from donations from the private collections of the early members of the scientific staff, and have been augmented through the years with plants from other donations and research expeditions.

The quaint, shaded, red-brick avenue that leads to the Gardens Entrance takes the visitor from the bustling, modern city to a tranquil garden reminiscent of a more peaceful time. The Visitor Centre is the starting point for learning about tropical rainforest plants and the Gardens.

But the real tour begins when you enter the Tropical Display House, a showcase for a spectacular living collection of rare orchids and bromeliads. This is the most concentrated collection of both native and exotic epiphytes and other tropical plants in the U.S. Some of the spectacular flora includes torch ginger from Indonesia, colorful bromeliads from the Amazon, carnivorous Bornean pitcher plants, heliconias from Ecuador, and Mexican vanilla orchids. Many of the plants were collected in the wild by the Gardens’ scientists on more than 150 expeditions to tropical forests.

Adjacent to the Tropical Display House, the Fernery displays only a select few of the 10,000 species of ferns that occur worldwide. More than one-third of all ferns live as epiphytes, and the ones exhibited are exclusively epiphytic. There are several species of staghorn ferns on display. No staghorn ferns are native to North America, and only one is from South America. The others grow in tropical Africa, Madagascar and the islands of the Indian Ocean to China, the Philippines and eastern Australia. Selby Gardens has examples of all.

Just outside the Visitor Centre, the Cycad Display showcases these slow-growing, ancient plants remotely related to conifers that have flourished in tropical and subtropical areas since the age of dinosaurs. The Gardens’ collection includes representative cycads from tropical Asia, Mexico, Japan, Africa, Panama, and the West Indies, as well as native species from Florida.

The pathways from the Visitor Centre lead among specialized gardens focusing on specific plants, interspersed with donated statuary, drums and bells. Bromeliads, including Spanish moss, adorn the high branches and understory trees of the Epiphyte Garden and the Live Oak Grove behind the Selby House. These magnificent trees graced the property when Marie Selby lived in the historic Spanish-Mediterranean-style Selby House. Lacy Australian tree ferns now grow under the oak canopy, and Selby House now contains the Book and Gift Shop which offers a diversity of botanical books and mementos. The Banyan Grove in front of Selby House was planted by the Selby’s gardener in 1937. These members of the fig family, native to Africa and tropical Asia, and widely cultivated in south Florida, are distinguished by their spreading aerial roots.

Between the Epiphyte Garden and the Banyan Grove is the Koi Pond, which features tropical water-loving plants such as elephant’s ear, native bald cypress, spiral ginger, and angel’s trumpet. The tranquil pond has eight Japanese Koi fish. Across the path from the pond is the Bamboo Garden, filled with a selection of species of these members of the grass family. The giant timber bamboo from China can grow to a height of 560 feet with stems more than 3 foot in diameter. Bamboos are extremely fast growing — some species can grow as much as four feet in a single day—and a few can reach their mature height in just two months.

Beyond the Banyan Grove the specialized plantings become less concentrated around the perimeter of the extensive Schimmel Wedding Lawn that stretches from Selby House to the vine-covered Gazebo at the far end of the property.

Along Hudson Bayou, walkers can explore above the ground on an ADA accessible canopy walkway through giant fig trees. The Hibiscus Garden contains numerous species and hybrids that flower throughout the year, in a range of colors from brown and lavender to the more familiar red, pink and yellow.

The diverse species in the Succulent Garden are a sharp contrast to the lush vegetation in other parts of the Gardens. This small, but quality, collection of succulent plants (those that store water in fleshy leaves, stems, or other structures) includes types from around the world.

A small Wildflower Garden across from the Gazebo at the far end of the lawn sports primarily native Floridian plants such as Echinacea, goldenrod and beach sunflower.

The Baywalk takes visitors along the furthest reaches of the property, on the edge of Sarasota Bay. The skyline of the city is visible above the mangroves lining the water. Mangroves grow in flooded saltwater areas and are found in Florida from St. Augustine around the peninsula. These plants protect shorelines and provide habitat for birds and small marine animals. Red mangroves are distinguished by their dense tangle of arching prop roots. Black mangroves have black trunks and short, pencil-like root appendages called pneumatophores. The related buttonwoods that grow in the drier zone behind the mangroves have rough bark and button-like flowers and fruit, while the related sea grapes that border both the mangrove and dune areas have large, rounded leaves.

Along the trail opposite the water and west of Selby House is a small Palm Grove that includes date, fishtail, talipot, and triangle palms, as well as the native Florida cabbage palm and saw palmetto. Bromeliads are used as bedding plants under the trees in many places along this walkway. The path continues along past the Activity Center and the Bayfront Garden planted with salt-tolerant species, eventually connecting with the Shoreline Restoration area. Native plants surround a small lagoon that attracts wading birds, such as white heron, that hunt for aquatic creatures along the shore. This area is located behind the stately, colonial-style Christy Payne Mansion, a neighboring residence acquired early in the Gardens’ development, which now houses the Selby Museum of Botany and the Arts.

On one side of the Mansion is the Azalea Garden. On the other side of the Mansion is a Tropical Food Garden, with a variety of edible plants including Malabar spinach from Ceylon, white Cuban sweet potato, a giant-leaf edible hibiscus from Asia, and black sapote, a fruit from Central America with a licorice-like taste. Pineapples, papayas, plantains, bananas, sugar cane, and star fruit are among the many tropical fruits and vegetables grown here.

In front of the Mansion are a small Fragrance Garden and a Butterfly Garden filled with caterpillar food and nectar-producing flowering plants for the adults. The colorful flowers attract a wide range of butterflies. Monarch butterfly caterpillars were feasting on the various milkweeds, but there are also lantana, cassias, passion vine and salvia plants as food for other types of caterpillars, including swallowtails, monarch, fritillaries, buckeyes and Florida’s zebra longwing butterfly.

Behind the scenes, the Gardens undertakes serious scientific research into epiphytic plants and their canopy ecosystems. The Gardens’ Stark Botanical Research Centre, which is not open to the public, is home to the Orchid Identification Centre and the Mulford B. Foster Bromeliad Identification Centre, which together provide more than 800 plant identifications annually for institutions and individuals. Scientists and students from around the world utilize the Research Centre’s herbarium, which contains over 85,000 dried plants and 24,000 plant specimens preserved in alcohol.

The Gardens are open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (except Christmas), and several special events, such as plant sales, are held throughout the year. The Plant Shop adjacent to the Visitor Centre sells colorful orchids, bromeliads and other plants and supplies.

(Article taken from the Journal of the Bromeliad Society, July/August, 2000 Vol. 50(4))

Bromeliads are surprisingly hardy. Most people think of them as being tropical plants which are unable to be grown outdoors in most areas of New Zealand and other parts of the temperate world. In fact, many bromeliads can survive frosts of minus 7C (19F), which we have recorded in the early 1990s here in New Zealand in gardens with plants such as Aechmea apocalyptica, Billbergia nutans, Canistropsis billbergioides and others. On the other hand, Guzmania zahnii variegata will start showing cold spots when the night temperatures drop below 10C (50F).

Cold sensitivity is variable though. It is affected by the overall condition of the plant (for example its' nutrient status), the light levels received, and temperatures preceding the cold period. The placement of plants in the garden also has a marked effect, with overhanging foliage or proximity to a building being quite beneficial. Also, both the duration and intensity of the cold period and the moisture level of the air have an impact.

An early cold snap, particularly one that had been preceded by warm temperatures, is more damaging than one that occurs late in the winter.

Even in a greenhouse some of these factors are important. Increasing the cold resistance of your plants will allow you to decrease the heating level, thereby reducing your costs. Factors such as correct nutrition, light levels, air movement and placement are all important in greenhouse situations. Leading into winter, it is good practice to prepare your plants by cutting back on nitrogen fertilizers. Consider applying foliar feeds which are high in potassium and low in nitrogen.

Improve air movement and light levels by reducing the amount of overhead shade (without exposing the plants to frost) and prune away dense foliage surrounding your bromeliads. Consider which plants are most susceptible to cold, wet conditions and consider moving these to a bank, near a building or even indoors for the winter.

Frosts occur most often around the full moon when the weather is settled, especially at times with little wind and clear skies. Keep an eye on the weather forecasts. If frost is predicted, set your alarm for at least an hour before daybreak and start watering! Don’t stop until at least ½ hour after daybreak, when the sun starts to warm the plants (or later in shaded areas). Spraying water over plants is a long-established method of preventing frost settling and is surprisingly effective.

The Journal of the Bromeliad Society, in an article by Dale Jenkins (reprinted from the Sarasota Bromeliad Society Newsletter), provides a comprehensive list of cold sensitivity by individual species and cultivars. Use this to determine the requirements of your collection. The list can also be found on the web site of the Florida Council of Bromeliad Societies at

The following table summarizes some of the factors that impact the cold.

High nitrogen levels
Lush growth with low resistance
Low nutrient levels
(other than nitrogen)
Poor resistance to cold
Low light levels
Produces weak, thin leaves
Overly wet soil
Produces poor root growth
Poor air movement
Plant resistance deteriorates with time
Lengthy cold period
Cold air settles in low areas
Overhanging foliage
Prevents frost
Overhanging foliage
May restrict air movement
Nearness to buildings/structures
Buildings retain heat longer
Planting on upper slopes and banks
Cold air flows downward
Planting among rocks
Rocks retain heat longer

Reprinted in part from the bulletin of the Bromeliad Society of New Zealand, Inc. (40)5:12-13

This classification includes the innovations proposed by Varadarajan & Gilmartin (1988) and Spencer & Smith (1992) for the subfamily Pitcairnioideae. However, the alterations made by Smith & Kress (1989-1990) and Smith & Spencer (1992) in Aechmea and Streptocalyx, respectively, have not been included for the reasons presented by Leme (1992) and Brown, Luther & Kress (1993).

(Reference details unfortunately not available—Ed.)




It is with the greatest sadness that we record the death of Dulcie, who died on Saturday, 5th February, 2005, just a few days after celebrating her 84th birthday.

Dulcie was one of the inaugural members when our Society began back in March, 1992 and right until the last she worked so energetically for its success. As well as all of the official positions she held—Publicity Officer, Committee member, bus trip organizer, refreshment supply officer, show steward, and recorder of monthly plant competition details.
Dulcie always added so many extra nice touches to everything she did—like handing out lollies and raffle prizes on the swaying buses, keeping our members fed with her lovely sandwiches and teas on the Sundays of our Shows, not to mention that she never failed to supply one of her beautiful cryptanthus bowls as a raffle prize at these Shows, and spent hours and hours at the raffle table. In recognition of this, she was awarded Life Membership at our Christmas Party in December 2003.

But she had also received Life Membership from the Corrimal Garden Club and was also an active member of the West Wollongong Garden Club, no doubt contributing as much to those Societies as she did to ours.

At her funeral, Graham said that we had always thought of her as “Our Dulcie”, but she was obviously very important to a great many people, not least her family, who described her as the ‘centre of the universe’ for the family and was the first supporter at any family event including all the grandchildren’s and personal achievement milestones.

Dulcie was also a very skilled and creative craftsperson and her family enjoyed many unique garments from her knitting, sewing and needlecraft efforts over many years. In fact two absolutely lovely cross-stitched cushions were on display at the funeral parlour—the stitching and colours exquisite!

Dulcie was certainly the quiet achiever—so many things accomplished with so little fuss!
She had served in the Australian Women’s Army Service from 22nd April, 1942 to 19th December, 1945 as a driver in the Army Motor Transport Division and was one of the few women drivers who could master the massive Blitz ambulances of that era. She was a very active sportsperson for much of her life and was a District A Grade tennis and golf player, winning many monthly and pennant medals for golf at Kembla Grange where she was one of the first Associate Members.

Dulcie and her husband, Frank, were married for just on 58 years and she survived him by only a couple of weeks.

Dulcie, you are going to be a very hard act to follow!


(Uses 8 oz measuring cup)
This loaf is best eaten on the same day as it is not a creamed mixture.
1 cup water
¾ cup sugar
1 cup raisins – pressed full
2 Tbsp. butter
Place these ingredients in a saucepan and melt—do not boil. Allow to cool. When cool, add 1 small teaspoonful of carb soda.
Sift 2 cups of S.R. flour into a bowl
Add the above liquid and 1 beaten egg
Mix thoroughly and place in a greased and floured loaf tin. Cook at approximately 1800C for 1 hour.
(If mixture appears too stiff, you have used too much flour. Do not bang down flour container or press. Add flour with spoon, lightly).

Click HERE to return to Illawarra Bromeliad Society "Club News Page".

Updated 10/07/05