Gardening with Ruth
I was contacted last month by Graham from Tuakau and invited to see his bromeliad vriesea imperialis. It is a most impressive plant with the flower stalk growing over two metres tall.
He has had the plant for around 35 years. He came by it when he owned a nursery at Oritea in West Auckland.
"In the 1950s I visited a lady named Muriel Waterman, who pioneered growing the species in New Zealand during the 1930s."
"She had bromeliads growing everywhere in her house and it whetted my interest in these beautiful plants." he said.
Graham comes from a long line of nurserymen with his father and uncle being in the trade and now his son has picked up the mantle.
"It is in the genes. I love plants of all types but particularly dry and hot climate plants like Cyclades and, of course, bromeliads. I had a huge collection when we had the nursery, some of them were very rare varieties," he explained.
Another plant he is very fond of is the Glory bower, bleeding heart vine or Clerodendron thomsoniae which comes in central Africa. This plant has a very spectacular flowering cycle. Starting, as seen here, with white and red blooms, then the white falls and the red turns to purple. When the fruit sets it is bright orange and black.
(Glory bower, bleeding heart vine or Clerodendron thomsoniae)
(bromeliad vriesea imperialis)