The Florida East Coast Bromeliad Society

Next regular meeting Sunday, November 12, 2006

1:30p.m.

Garden Tour

President Bradley Rauch386/767-8937

Vice President – Jay Thurrott – 386/761-4804

Secretary – Nina Leggett - 386/673-0550

Treasurer – Jim O’Shaughnessy - 386/253-0335

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The hurricane season of 2006 is drawing to a close and I think it’s safe to say that we have successfully avoided any serious storms this year. Don’t forget the season of 2004 though! Tropical storms and hurricanes can and will affect our area so between now and the beginning of the 2007 season you should give some thought about what you would do in the event of a hurricane threatening our area – and while you’re at it, give some thought to what measure you should take to safeguard your bromeliads.

This month’s meeting:

One comment that we hear from our members regarding activities for the club is that they would like to have more visits to members’ gardens. I think this is a great idea – after all, everyone faces different challenges is building a collection of bromeliads. Some people have strict space constraints and have focused on making the most efficient use of very small spaces, where others have difficult environmental conditions to overcome such as too much sun or too much shade. People come up with their own unique solutions to these obstacles and we can all learn by seeing what can be done and hearing about what works and what doesn’t. This month Jane Upham has graciously agreed to have us visit her garden at at 105 Coquina Ave. in Ormond Beach. Jane grows some beautiful bromeliads, so I’m sure that we can all learn from her experiences. Need a further incentive to attend this month’s meeting? The Uphams have recently completed the construction of a brand new shadehouse. They will present a short program on how to build one of these beauties from the ground up…or is it from the top down? Find out on Sunday. A map showing how to get there is in this issue of the newsletter

Clean Up of Bromeliads at the Garden Center – an update

Thank you everyone who helped out at the Garden Center before last month’s meeting. We had a lot of eager volunteers and the work went smoothly and quickly. We received many very nice complements on the results of this project at the Halifax Council of Garden Clubs meeting on the Monday after our meeting. At the risk of forgetting someone who helped out (I’m trusting to memory here – never a good bet) I’d like to recognize the efforts of Nina Leggett, Phil and Betty Dollar, Alan Bennett (and thanks Alan for contributing those bromeliads that you brought with you), Joan Campbell, Mike Fink (and thank you Mike for the plants that you brought also), and of course, our leader – Brad Rauch. Thank you all for a job well done!

FECBS hosts the Florida Council of Bromeliad Societies

Club members Ron and Carolyn Schoenau volunteered to have the Florida Council’s quarterly meeting at their beachside condominium and the facilities and assistance from our club members in the set up and clean up couldn’t have been better! Thank you Ron and Carolyn and thank you volunteers Louise Diantro, Linda Stagnol, Betty Dollar, and Brad Rauch. The meeting went well, attendance was very good (8 of 10 Florida clubs were represented), and some necessary Council business was transacted.

Photo courtesy of Betty Dollar

Library Book Still Missing

Has anyone seen our copy of Baensch’s "Blooming Bromeliads"? I’m afraid that we may have to replace it with a German version and some help from the Muellers in translations.

Not All Bromeliad Pests Have 6 Legs

I have a small shade house in the backyard but most of my bromeliads are outside under the oak trees in my yard. I know this exposes them to all sorts of environmental damage, but I’ve reconciled myself to the occasional falling tree branch and even those acorns that fall from a great enough height to achieve terminal velocity before blasting a hole in a bromeliad leaf. It’s those shredded center leaves in my bromeliads though that have me the most concerned. Friends have told me that this is just the result of squirrels looking for moisture in our dry Spring months. "You should just put out a dish of water for them and the problem will go away." So, I put out dishes of water, but all I got for these efforts was an empty (and muddy) water dish and more shredded bromeliad leaves. In some cases, the leaves were in the empty dish. The last straw was when I found the shade house had been broken into, many of the plants knocked over and damaged , and in some cases – the entire center removed from the plant and the tender bases of the leaves eaten. I knew then that I was dealing with something other than bromeliad weevils!

All of our members may not be aware of it, but the club receives a fair amount of mail from vendors who apparantly think that we are a business. Some pretty interesting catalogues arrive addressed to FECBS and one of them, FarmTek, offered live animal traps for sale.

Soon, my very own "large animal" trap arrived at my door and, at the suggestion of a bromeliad enthusiast from Texas who had dealt with such problems before, I baited it with a can of sardines and anxiously waited for results. The next morning the sardines were gone and the trap sprung – something had eaten and run. The next can of sardines yielded a very handsome raccoon and I loaded cage and creature into the back of our van (look for a future column on how to remove raccoon smells from vans!) to be relocated miles away. Raccoon #2 (#1’s dumber brother) apparantly wandered into the unbaited cage a few days later looking for his partner and tripped the door – and was relocated to the same location. Not knowing if the infestation of raccoons had been eliminated, I again baited the trap and again, found that something managed to remove the sardines without tripping the cage.

Dry catfood in the empty sardine can produced better results. #3 thought that the cage was just about the best playroom he had ever seen and spent the entire day wrestling with a short piece of rope that he had picked up somewhere and dragged into the trap with him. #4 wasn’t so fond of the cage, didn’t enjoy the ride to join his partners, and took some time figuring out how to leave once the cage door was opened (probably more closely related to #2).

It’s now been a week since the capture of #4, my bromeliads have been untouched since then and the shadehouse has not had any further break-ins, so I think that I can accurately state that raccoons can and will damage bromeliads. I don’t know if their motivation is in looking for water in the leaf axils (doubtful – there was always the water in the dish), hunting for frogs and lizards hiding in the plants (quite probable) or enjoying the taste of the bases of fresh new bromeliad leaves(in which case – is it an acquired taste and will future generations of raccoons also attack bromeliads or pass them by in favor of more familiar prey?), but further investigation may be warranted.

Looking ahead:

November 18 & 19, 2006 – Larry Giroux gave me a beautiful and colorful poster of this sale to post in our newsletter, but unfortunately, it doesn’t copy so well in black and white. Here’s the text of the poster:

The Caloosahatchee Bromeliad Society’s Bromeliad Sale – Auditorium at rear of Terry Park located at 3410 Palm Beach Blvd. (SR80), Fort Myers, Fl.

Saturday, Nov. 18th 9am – 5pm

Sunday, Nov. 19th 10am – 4pm

Call Betty Ann at 230-334-0242 for more information.

Dec. 10, 2006 – FECBS annual Christmas party. More details in next month’s newsletter.

March 15-18, 2007 "Everybody’s Flower Show" at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach. Standard judged flower show, horticultural displays. Many vendors selling garden related items.

April 21-22, 2007 Bromeliad Society of South Florida annual show and plant sale – Miami

May 5-6, 2007 Broward County Bromeliad Society annual show and plant sale