Oh, and Grower Jim from Garden Adventures was there and he's just as nice and helpful in person as he is on his blog.
There were species bromeliads, cultivars, hybrids and even bi-generic hybrids to look at, and I have to admit running around like crazy trying to make a decision on my shopping spree. I didn't want to keep my fiance there too long, since I didn't supply her with a gossip magazine.
Of course I mostly opted for what I hope will be cold hardy, even though many of the cold hardy aechmeas and vrieseas had already sold out. There were however, a lot of neoregelias.
This is a (say this three times fast) stunning stoloniferous specimen of... well I forget what it is. But isn't it beautiful?
Outside the garden club there's some lovely bromeliad dominated landscaping, like this vignette of billbergia pyramidalis "kyoto" climbing a sabal palm.
The vertical leaves of snake plant in the background combine nicely with the flat rosettes of neoregelia spectabilis, while apple green neos in front really pop out from the shadows!
So here's my first find, which had the label taken off at the time of purchase, so I don't remember what neoregelia cultivar it is. I do know that it will have a hot pink center at flowering though, and the leaves look pretty leathery, spiky, and therefore the plant is likely to be cold hardy.
Nidularium Rutilans is a very cold hardy plant with glossy arching leaves, and a much softer texture compared to the neoregelias. Bright red flower bracts will appear in the center at flowering. They prefer deep shade, so its going to stay on my balcony for the time being.
The green offset pictured is labeled as aechmea winkleri, but it has stiff leaves with a bluish tinge that make me think it might be aechmea calyculata. The burgundy pup should be aechmea "burgundy", and if it is, the a. distichantha parentage would help make it pretty cold tolerant.
I normally only go for the cold hardy types, but if you're going to choose one tender bromeliad for your collection, I recommend Aechmea "blue tango" or the smaller aechmea "del mar". I ended up getting "del mar" which is considered the "poor man's blue tango", but the smaller size is appropriate for my limited space. Here's a shot of what the flowers will look like:
(This picture is from Plants Are The Strangest People and is not mine. Go to Mr. Subjunctive's blog. Its great.)
Finally, the piece de resistance is this huge Neoregelia "Sunshine", which seems to have a lot of n. cruenta in it, which is not supposed to be hardy. However, a couple of the society members said it would be hardy, and I can always put it in the garage if I have to for its first winter. I just love the chartreuse leaves and neon pink fingernails too much to let it pass by! Besides, it matches the color scheme of my blog. So there.
Next post I'll be a little more in depth and show you where I planted these bromeliads, what I moved, etc. and tell you about our trip to IKEA!