Say what? What is a Bromeliad? It is a really cool tropical plant that does not grow naturally in my neck of the woods…Michigan.
Some types you might have heard of are…air plant (Tillandsia) a spiky silvery stiff leaved plant that may be seen growing on bark (or trees in their native habitat)…or silver vase plant (Aechmea fasciata) with a pink bloom and overlapping cupped stiff leaves that hold water. The plant actually forms a vase in the center and you probably could put cut flowers in it. Watering is done by filling the plant cavities and a bit on the soil or misting or dunking the air plants.
Paul Wingert has been collecting, growing, learning about and hybridizing bromeliads for over 30 years! There are many more varieties than I just mentioned. His collection numbers in the thousands! Yes, he keeps them inside a greenhouse in the winter.
Yesterday I visited his collection in Farmington Hills, Michigan which he will proudly show to anyone interested…and he usually has some nice plants for sale too. Contact him through his website http://sites/google.com/site/paulsbroms for an appointment…and all the advice and help to get you started.
Not only is his house a bit difficult to find…tucked away on a dirt road next to the freeway…but his plants are in a screen house that isn’t visible from his house. You take a path up the hill, winding through the woods…nicely landscaped with perennials…until you see the plants. OMG! There are a lot of them. Hanging, sitting on benches or the ground…and in special pot holders he purchased.
It is a bit overwhelming…I didn’t know where to look first, but Paul started to point out unusual varieties and some of the hybrids he had created and I started to see the differences in the plants…even for a novice like me. I am a Master Gardener…I write about and visit gardens…I also hope I’m smarter than a fifth grader…but I know nothing about bromeliads…
Looks like I’ll have to learn. I purchased a Tillandsia attached to a piece of cork bark with a bloom starting to form…can’t wait to see it!
If you want to know more about Paul Wingert’s bromeliads, visit him, catch him at a bromeliad show…check his website or just oggle the photos I have included…
If you are live in Michigan, watch for my article in the Michigan Gardener Magazine about Paul and his bromeliads…in 2011!
Have a great week…check out those bromeliads!