Our Michigan weather looked nicely settled in early May, so I felt confident in moving everything to the shadehouse. It then came as quite a shock when a freeze warning was issued for the morning of May 13. Blankets, sheets, and tarps came out and covered just about everything! The official low was reported as 30 F. The location of my shadehouse- on a hill, and surrounded by trees may have offered some protection. In the end, a few plants showed a few spots of freeze damage, but there seem to be no long lasting effects. Curiously, several Billbergias all commenced blooming in early July. Coincidence?? This summer has been cooler and wetter compared to our average. I have had to do very little supplemental watering so far.
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Updated photos 4/1/2014
This selection from a grex of Neo. ('Hatsumi' x Rien's Pride') x 'Small Wonder is a 'fascinating plant that first caught my attention during the summer of 2013. The sequence of photos shows the progression from June 2013 until first bloom in February of 2014!
Close up of flower
Here are some favorites from 2013-
This is a grexmate to Neo. 'Copper Quest' and Neo.'Copper Craze' which bloomed during 2012. Overall, the grex had a lot of interesting plants, with wide variation in overall leaf color. This was one of the darkest red ones. Neo. 'Rien's Pride' x 'Royal Cordovan'.
No sign of blooming on this one, but it just keeps getting better and better! Neo. [(Pink Sensation x sib) x Puerto Rico] x 'Royal Cordovan'. It's a medium sized plant, about 16" across, and it's really starting to develop multiple layers of leaves.
I made a cross between Neo. [Passion x Grace] and [Pink Sensation x sib] several years ago. Several have bloomed in the past, but none surpass this one. Saving the best for last?!
pre-bloom- June, 30, 2013
From a grex of Neo. 'Small Wonder' x 'Lokelani'- this one has looked good for a long time. The blooming plant did not disappoint!
Not the first time this one has bloomed, but perhaps the first time I've captured photos of it in bloom. This is what I'm calling my "Best Pink" selection of a cross between Neo. ''Royal Cordovan' x 'Victoria'. It's a subtle, yet dramatic change as it comes into bloon.
Even the young plants show outstanding color
This is a laggard from a grex of Vr. 'Sunset' x 'Eva'. Similar colors as the reverse grex, but this one is more compact than its counterpart (also on this page) Worth the wait?
This was a nice surprise! The combination of foliage color with the inflorescence is just too cool! Here is a picture of Vriesea 'Little Chief' x 'Sunset'. Pups are starting to develop now.
In 2003, I had the opportunity to cross Bill 'Hallelujah' with Bill . 'Sangre'. The progeny from that cross was a virtual collection of Billbergias, with lots of variation in coloration and spotting. The selection pictured below is my absolute favorite. Registered August 2014 as Billbergia 'Holy Grail'.
Perhaps if it were more heavily fertilized, I would have seen a bloom sooner. However, after a couple of generations of pups, I finally had a tube bloom in September of 2013.
This is another Billbergia worthy of consideration. Seed parent is Bill. amoena x horrida. Pollen parent is Bill. 'Hallelujah'. The inflorescence makes a great statement. Here's the plant habit-
The plant below is from a grex of Neoregelia 'Puerto Rico' x 'Sunscorch.' It first bloomed June 2009. Nice and compact- about 10" across, and brilliant cherry red. This one deserves to be registered. Needs a name!
August 2007, I was toying with the following group of banded Neoregelias. It was the first opportunity I've had to work with this type of Neo. It's hard not to be excited about the possibilities!
Now, the kids are starting to show their stripes! Several bloomed during the summer of 2011. These pictures show a few different arrangements and perspectives. (photos from 9/29/2011)
Here's one of my favorites to bloom so far- Neo. 'Punctate Red' x 'Blushing Tiger' #11-3. Photos from July 2011- top and side views.
Favorite so far of a grex of Neo. 'Tunisia' x 'Blushing Tiger', though I have 5 or six rather promising ones that I may see through to first bloom. Still no flower on this one as of 4/1/14
Here's a nice grexmate to the one above. It's particularly nice from the side view-
No flower yet, but I really like the big teeth on this relatively small Neo. 'Tunisia' x 'Governor's Pleas F2'
This is one of my favorites from all of 2012. Neo. ['Angel Face' x cyanea] x 'Tunisia'. Great color, leaf texture, shine, flower color, and compact! Update August 2014-Registered as Neo. 'Scarlet Starlet'. More good news- I'm getting 6 pups from the original mother plant!
...and a surprising grex mate to the plant above! I'll wait to cast judgement on it 'til it blooms. Photo from July 2013.
During the summer of 2007, I had the opportunity to cross Hohenbergia leopoldo-horstii with H. correia-araujei. I managed to get a very limited number of seeds from the H. leopoldo-horstii. The cross has been quite uniform, as it should happen with primary species crosses. The influence of each parent is quite evident. The remaining few that I have kept have been potted on to 5-6" pots, and are up to 10-14" tall. I'm guessing that they'll end up to be about 18-20" tall when full grown. I really don't care what the bloom will look like on these (they're Hohenbergias!), but so far, I really like the way the foliage is developing! The second one may be the pick of the grex! Just a little darker (Photos from July 2013)
I enjoy growing Orthophytums. Here in Michigan, I call them "earth stars for dummies". They tend to be more tolerant of a bit of neglect compared to most Cryptanthus. Mostly new batch of Orthophytum hybrids and f2s from seed sown in December 2009 (photo from 9/29/2011)
My grex of Neo. 'Gespacho' x ['Charm x Mocha Mint] started to come into bloom during June 2009. First flower 6/30/09. This is one of the wilder ones. There's no getting away from the spots on this one. This one's worthy of registration. I need a couple more pups, and a good name!!
Here's a nice spotty one. This is the best selection so far of Neo. 'Fosperior x Carousel' x 'Merry-Go-Round'. The seed parent gives kind of a strappy character to it. Perhaps the new pups will develop a bit fuller, or in a warmer climate. Compared to the named Neo. 'Aztec' (dark form), I like the colors and contrast of spotting better in this plant.
I had a decent one of these bloom last summer. This one is better by far. From a grex of Neo. olens var.696 x smithii, this one is a real charmer!
This uses my registered cross of Neo. 'Smoky Amethyst' as the pollen parent. Neo. 'Royal Burgundy' is the seed parent. The result is more compact than 'Smokey Amethyst', with nice colors and good form. It's about 16" across-
This is the first to bloom from a cross of Aechmea chantinii 'Black' x Ae. zebrina. It's not my favorite in terms of foliage color and banding, but the inflorescence is of pretty impressive size (favors the pollen parent Ae. zebrina) and it bloomed for more than 8 weeks! (photo from September 6, 2010)
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