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Author Topic: Christmas in June  (Read 1278 times)
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soob
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« on: June 10, 2014, 04:07:36 »

Okay -- the picture is actually from January. But it's 90+ today so it feels good to reminisce -- well, okay, not really. Winter's not actually that much fun.

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splinter1804
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Hobbies: I belong to the Illawarra Bromeliad Society as well as the Illawarra Light Railway Museum Society and we restore and operate old 2' gauge steam and diesel locomotives and associated rolling stock
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« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2014, 07:46:35 »

Hi everyone -

Hi soob - It's always great to see a new member posting, but a pic like that makes me feel very cold just looking at it. The coldest we've ever had here were two days when the dog's water had ice on the top and that was in winter 2011 and we don't want it that cold again.

How do your plants survive conditions like that, do you have heaters in your tunnel house?

Now 90 degrees F. is more like it, that's about a normal 33 degree C. summer day here and much more to my liking. Although the January 2012 wasn't so good with a couple of heatwave days nudging 50 degrees C. in my shade house. I have a couple of pic's I took of a thermometer which I took into the shade house to see just how hot it was. The liquid in it separated at 50 degrees C. and has never gone back to normal since. We don't want too many of those days either.

Now that we have you posting, how about a few pic's of the type of plants you grow, I'm sure everyone would be interested in looking at them and they then could post some of their pic's in return.

All the best, Nev.
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soob
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« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2014, 05:22:11 »

I guess I could post a picture of my compost pile. They all died from the cold...

...just kidding.

Here's a picture of many of my favorite plants, protected by the old shade tree:

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Most of them came out okay but it killed my variegated guzmania musaica, which I had really liked.

I do have electric heat in the greenhouse. We probably had 60+ nights below freezing this year, could be a record. I am from about 100 miles south of here and we'd get less than 15 nights below freezing, if that. I know a guy that was able to keep Tillandsias alive outdoors there for a couple years. I bet they didn't survive the record cold this last winter, though.

The first thermostat I had for the hoop house was defective and the temps got down to about 30 that first night. Ice in the cups and frozen condensation on the leaves, but almost no injuries. Uncovered, temperatures a little above freezing seem to cause injury to most varieties when paired with rain and wind, even without frost. I am impressed with how tough they are in the greenhouse. Temps barely above freezing at night and well above 100 F during the day cause no harm (except to a few varieties that suffer in the cold). The only real injuries I had were from shifting sun. Going from mostly shade to full sun in late February can burn even a tough a plant. It was the first winter at the new place so hopefully I'll do better next year.

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Here's an heirloom plant, one my folks have had for a while. I think it's probably Saundersii or a hybrid of it, but I really don't know. It's tough to get nice pink coloration, but grown with space and light they can achieve nice form.

I will post more later. Thanks for the warm greetings.
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splinter1804
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« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2014, 08:32:46 »

Hi Soob – Nice to see you back again posting and providing us with more pic's as well as a bit of information about your growing conditions. I don't know about my brom's, but I'm sure I couldn't handle that amount of cold. Brrrrr! I saw the snow once and that was enough for me; never again.

The plant in your second pic. I think is probably Bill 'Hoelscheriana' and although not Bill. saundersii as you suspect, it is a primary hybrid from (Bill. nutans x Bill. saundersii). It has been around for a long time and is a prolific grower given the right conditions. It must have good light to get good colour and if grown in low light will just be a “nothing looking plant'.

In my previous post I mentioned taking a thermometer into my shade house to check the temperature during a heat wave in 2012, well I found the pic I took of the thermometer and have attached it  for you all to see. I said I don't like the cold, bit then I don't want too many days like the one that caused this either.

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All the best, Nev.
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soob
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« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2014, 05:27:46 »

I am originally from New Orleans, which is known as a very hot place, but in reality it's just very humid and not particularly hot. I can't imagine what 50c/~120f feels like.

I think you're right about the plant ID. I'd seen the old drawing of Saundersii and noticed the leaf tips of mine are wrong. I thought it was a "nothing looking plant" when I got it, as they were packed together like a bundle of green straws. Imagine my surprise when I broke some up and their offspring were a third as tall and five times as wide (and pink). I am still experimenting with water and fertilizer and how it affects the size and shape of bromeliads. I have seen some that (I think) were starved for water and they grew half the size in a very compact form. Can't really control water outside, here, though. I am actually fertilizing most of my plants more than ever before these days; they seem to like it and don't seem to suffer any ill effects.

I am at a new place and in a transition (and expansion) so I don't really have anything ready to post. I've spent the last few months digging up my yard -- to put in remote faucets, a drip irrigation addition to my sprinklers (for vegetables), landscape lights, new mulch beds, and new sod in the shady parts. I have three big Bradford Pears (rightfully known as a terrible tree) that I heavily thinned to allow some light. It really is too small of a space to seriously grow tropicals, even though ones like bromeliads; even they have to be housed for 4-5 months here.

The right thing to do is to get plants that fit your space, not try to fit your plants to the space. I have made a lot of mistakes in that respect. Now that I have a good idea of what works I'm going to end up paring it down rather than getting more plants. Shame! I do need to get a hundred or so half-sun plants with attractive leaf undersides for the front, though. I have one big bed under a tree in the front that's a real hit with the neighbors. Unfortunately I don't have a good picture of it; here's what it looked like when I was still setting it out:

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Color is better now but the spot is too severe for even for the fireballs. We get a lot of sun during the summer up here in the more temperate latitudes.
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