Broms aglow in Kamo.
Subject: Botanical gardens (Management)
Author: Titmus, Erin
Pub Date: 11/01/2010
Publication: Name: Journal of the Bromeliad Society Publisher: Bromeliad Society International Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Biological sciences Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2010 Bromeliad Society International ISSN: 0090-8738
Issue: Date: Nov-Dec, 2010 Source Volume: 60 Source Issue: 6
Topic: Event Code: 200 Management dynamics Computer Subject: Company business management
Geographic: Geographic Scope: New Zealand Geographic Code: 8NEWZ New Zealand
Accession Number: 257434799
Full Text: The first glimpse of bromeliads in Iris and Colin Symonds' garden in Kamo, just north of Whangarei, New Zealand, sets the scene for more that is to come: an overall sense of quality planting, both in plant health and clever composition.

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The garden has been established 40 years now and over that period the structure remains as first laid out, but the underplanting style has changed four times. The current emphasis on subtropical planting began 10-12 years ago when bromeliads became popular and available. This style complements Iris' first love in the garden, orchids. They appeal as a wider family of plants and as a bigger challenge to grow--more deaths! Three orchid houses cater for cool and intermediate planting requirements. Colin shares the interest as builder, sprayer and waterer of the garden and captures their beautiful results in photographs. Their skill in growing orchids transfers to the general garden where bromeliads glow in good health. "It is important to look after your plants," says Iris. "People keep buying them and often don't look after them well."

"You need a collection," she adds, "to be able to use colour for contrast which will come through better in numbers and groupings." And so Iris repeats specimens, colours, textures, and then intermingles contrasts to create her tapestry effects in the underplanting. Fine festuca blue grass and the native green-mounding scleranthus are favourite complements along with the softening textures of fine-leaved ferns.

Among the bromeliads, Iris favours the tillandsia genus. The hardy species mingle in the general garden. Spanish moss, for instance, hangs from many open boughs and is encouraged as it is a useful medium to enhance orchid displays. Other tillandsias feature in a collection that frames the broad opening of an orchid house facing north.

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Here, together, their diversity in leaf colour shows to full effect. These plants don't like wet with the cold and Iris moves them into the glass house over winter. The more sensitive plants have pride-of-place on a wall display inside the glass house year round. And why tillandsias you may ask? Well, Iris is looking forward. When the time comes to move to a flat they will be able to accommodate these plants which will be nicely established. Meanwhile, Iris and Colin's garden in Crawford Crescent continues to evolve as an eclectic mix that will delight from season to season.
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