Some bromeliads prefer shade and some actually request to be placed more in the direct sun. There are over 100 shade and semi-shade loving bromeliads serving as filler and ground cover throughout Hoe and Shovel. I do love them all as they are virtually maintenance free.
I'm not all that hip on every variety but I know what I like when I see it. I've admired the larger varieties that grow to 4 feet tall every time I've seen them used in landscaping. But, without a place to locate them here, they haven't been so tempting that I couldn't resist buying them. Until now that is.
There's another plant, Verbena Bonairensis, I HAVE been looking for without any success. Last week I found it at the Tropiflora Fall Festival plant sale in Manatee county.
That's also where I found the Aechmea blanchetiana 'Orangeade' bromeliad I just had to have. The one above (taken at Tropiflora) shows the enormous bloom they produce. It stands erect another 2-3 feet above the plant when it blooms. The bloom lasts for 4-5 months and it is attractive to bees and butterflies.
Fortunately I was already in the process of digging up more sod in the newly front lawn renovation when I went to the plant sale.
1)The front lawn is having a big problem transforming to all-organic treatment. It is rebelling I think. It needs its chemicals ... but we are in rehab right now. Later it will thank me. Until then I keep removing more of it as it quits on me.
2)There was a second Giant Spider Lily Crinum augustum 'Queen Emma' from my neighbor that needed a home and it occurred to me to put it right out in the front garden. Enormous. Oversized. Queen Emma Crinum not-to-be-missed in the front garden. Risky.
Last time I did all the digging myself. For this dig I made sure to have my best help in tow. Any freshly turned soil is a magnet to this little fellow with his junior-sized tools in hand. So dig we did.
With another 4 foot width of additional curvy bed to fill the Crinum found its new home toward the front of the bed when looking from my driveway. More towards the front of the bed than most people probably would have placed it. Risky.
Side Note: (That's my neighbor's house in the background ... this bed borders the far side of my front garden and his driveway.)
The newly acquired Aechmea blanchetiana (I love the sound of those words... pronounced just how they are spelled) was large with two almost equal sized pups attached. Separating them into three individual plants gave me more to work with and made the bargain found on sale even better.
Blending bromeliads with crinums doesn't seem so odd but blending bromeliads with muhly grass and purple top verbena and native pineland lantana, Lantana depressa, and pentas, and caladiums might seem a little risky to some. It was a combination of textures and form that fell together in a pleasing layout when all was said and done.
There were several pups on the second crinum. Two of them small compared to the momma plant but large enough to warrant planting in the newly dug space. That makes three of them in the sprawling bed.
View from the street.
It never is my habit to place any plant perfectly centered or predictably balanced. I'm pleased with the new bromeliads for so many reasons. The sheer brilliance of the chartreuse foliage which is expected to turn deeper orangeish-red on the tips from the sun would be enough for me even if they never bloomed. Their magnificent size and the fact that they will come out with that outlandish bloom eventually is just a bonus.
The butterflies didn't even wait for me to get the verbena in the ground before they discovered the nectar. That's exactly why I wanted them. Butterflies love them. They are in front of the caladiums and to the right of the crinum with the yellow pineland lantana at their feet for ground cover filler.
The entire border of Flax Lily was moved out to the new perimeter.
Initially I was hesitant to increase the size of that area after just completing it. Now that it is done, I am more than pleased with the additions and the new size of the bed.
Siam Tulips, Curcuma alismatilfolia
Persian Shield, Strobilanthes dyerianus
Red Pentas, Penta lanceolata
Cigar Plant, Cuphea ignea
Forsythia Sage, Salvia Madrensis