Vriesea bituminosa x saundersii medio picta which was purchased at last month’s

Meeting photo by Jim Boynton

November 2001 NEWSLETTER

This month’s meeting will feature Roland Schnabel who will talk about judging plants in a BSI sanctioned show. He will be preparing us for the mock show that is planed for the January meeting. Please bring plants to be critiqued at this meeting. All of this is leading to entering plants in the show at the world conference in May.

Please do not forget that the meeting night has been moved to Tuesday November 6th, at the Hope Presbyterian Church, 1698 S. Belcher Rd., Clearwater, Fl. The doors to the hall open at 7:00 and the meeting will begin at 7:30, hope to see you there.

Last Months Meeting

Michael O’Leary presented a very good program on the list of favorite bromeliads. He must have brought 30 or 40 beautiful plants with him and he had ranked them in order down to number one, and explained why they were on his favorite list. He considered things like cold sensitivity and ease of growing as well as the obvious of color and variegation. It was a very informative program, which made all of us, think about our own collection and the plants that we admire. At the end of the program Mike sold as many of the plants as he could part with. Some were his only specimens, or something that he had just acquired. This made it easier to load his car for the trip home and allowed a number of members to go home with some new favorite plants of their own. This month’s cover plant was one that I bought from mike after the meeting.

We want to thank Michael for his efforts on our behalf. There was a very light turnout at the meeting which we attributed to changing the meeting night to the first Tuesday. I hope that everyone has this new date marked on his or her calendar by now.


Michael Keihl, Steve Littlefield, Marty Baxley, and Fay O’Rourke provided refreshments for the month of October, and we want to thank them for their efforts.

Refreshments for the November meeting will be provided by Tom and Bev Borawski, Don Auerbach, Bob Levine, Phyllis Steil and Kelly Gross.

Remember the December meeting will be the Holiday Party and everyone will be asked to bring a dish to share, so if you wish to sign up at this month’s meeting, we will have an idea of what will be there for the party. The club will provide turkey, shrimp platter, cheese, rolls, and drinks as well as the paper and plastic ware. If you cannot sign up we want everyone to come and bring a dish to share if they can.


This was transmitted shortly after the tragic events of September 11, but too late for the October newsletter.

By Hattie Lou Smith

There is a gaping wound in the fabric of the society of the United States but we know this wound will heal. There will remain scars. None of us can predict the size and shape of these scars, but they will change our lives.

The Bromeliad Society International is International. Almost 26% of our members are outside the United States but all of us will feel the effects of these events, for our world is very small.

Since we don’t know the future, it is not out of line to stress the importance of holding on to those things that make our lives special. Join us in the celebration of beautiful bromeliads and friendship at the WBC2002 in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Pre-Conference events begin May 13 and the Conference ends with a tour to Selby Botanical Gardens and Tropiflora Nursery on May 20.

Contact Registrar Carolyn Schoenau at PO Box 12981, Gainesville, Fl. 32604, phone 352-372-6589, or email bsi@nersp.nerdc.ufl.edu to register.

Reservations at the Hilton St. Petersburg may be made at 1-888-843-6929 or 1-800-944-5500. Stress that you are attending the World Bromeliad Conference. Room rates are $99 per night.

Details of all aspects of the Conference are on the bsi.org website or contact almost any member of BSI.



The birthday people for the month of November are Jinx Watkins and Gary Lund. We hope that they have a very special year ahead.

For the past 6 years Janet Bankhead has been sending out birthday cards to the members at her own expense. She will be ending this practice at the end of the year. If any of the members want to pick up where she is leaving off, please contact her for the list of members. Thank you Janet for you dedication for all of these years.

. Did "Ya ever wonder?

Q. Tillandsias always look great when they’re mounted on driftwood and their roots grow around and over the wood to securely anchor them. Whenever I buy a nice Tillandsia and set it on driftwood, the roots don’t "grow in" the way I see them on pieces of wood in Bromeliad shows. What am I doing wrong?

A. There are several possible reasons why you are having this problem and, in a fine bureaucratic Tradition, we will answer your question with a question:

1.Is the Tillandsia that you purchased a young plant or a mature plant? Remember that the roots on these plants don’t serve to absorb moisture or nutrients like a typical houseplant. Most members of the genus Tillandsia only produce roots when they are young…and, if you think about it for a minute, this makes sense. These plants are epiphytes and only use their roots as holdfasts to anchor them to a tree or rock surface. Once the young plant attaches itself adequately to the surface, why should it produce more roots? If the roots don’t do a good enough job, the plant falls to the ground and, at this point the last thing it needs is more roots – it probably won’t survive anyway. If they work as intended, the plant is anchored in position for life and can put its energy into maturing, flowering, and producing seeds. So…back to the question at hand – if you are going to mount a bromeliad on driftwood, start with a young plant.

2. Have you been securely fastening your Tillandsias to the driftwood? Unless the young plant is tightly fastened to the wood (no "wobble factor" allowed) it will not produce the roots you are looking for. There are many ways to do this. You can try one of a number of types of glue on the driftwood and then hold the plant in position until the glue sets. You may also use wire (please no bare copper wire though – this may kill the plant) to anchor the plant…or twine…or a heavy weight (if the plant is mashed flat – use a lighter weight next time). The main goal is to hold the plant in a fixed position long enough until the roots form and take over for the glue, wire or twine. Then you can remove these aids and the plant will look like it grew onto your wood all by itself.

3.One last point – if you have a difficult time keeping your Tillandsias looking nice as individual plants, you will probably have just as difficult a time keeping them looking nice when they are on driftwood. Just because some people call these plants "air plants" doesn’t mean that they can get along without proper light levels, proper watering, proper air movement and everything else that goes into good culture of plants in this genus. That seashell on the refrigerator magnet with a Tillandsia glued inside is not going to thrive on the side of your refrigerator – unless you keep your refrigerator outside in a greenhouse.

Article by Jay Thurrott, president and editor of the Florida East Coast Bromeliad Society newsletter. July 2000 issue.

Extravaganza held in Maitland

The FWCBS wants to thank everyone that participated in the Extravaganza held for the FCBS. I was unable to attend, but I understand that everyone had a very good time. We want to thank those members who donated plants for the rare plant auction, which was held Saturday night after the banquet.

Slate of officers for 2002

At the November meeting the election will be held for the officers for the year 2002 will be held. The nominating committee presented the slate at the October meeting:

President Fay O’Rourke

Vice President Bob Levine

Treasurer Gary Lund

Secretary Linda Halley


November 1st – FWCBS Board Meeting

November 6th – FWCBS Meeting

November 9-11th - The Caloosahatchee Bromeliad Society will present its 2001 Standard BSI show and sale. Bromeliads-The Native Americans, Judging will be Friday, Nov 9th and the show and sale will be open 9-5 on Saturday and 10-4 on Sunday. Terry Park, 3410 Palm Beach Blvd., Ft. Myers.

November 10-11th - 9:30-4:30, Ramble, at Fairchild Gardens, Miami. A Garden festival with over 15,000 plants, 10901 Old Cutler Rd. Coral Gables (305) 667-1651

December 4th – FWCBS Holiday party

May 13, 2002, The beginning of the World Bromeliad Conference, St. Petersberg Hilton, Florida.


John Bankhead, newsletter editor

Florida West Coast Bromeliad Society

1367 Summerlin Drive

Clearwater, Florida 33764