30. Krulik, Gerald, "Bromeliads in Singapore", PUP TALK (Saddleback Valley Bromeliad Society), 12
(10), p. 4, October 2005.

If you have ever been to Singapore, you know that it is like living in a huge garden. The city-state is only
about 250 square miles, with over 4 million people packed into this small tropical island almost exactly
on the equator. Public gardens are everywhere, and the streets are lined with palms, tropical trees, and
flowering bushes, all nicely trimmed. The variety is great, but relatively few of the plantings seem to
involve bromeliads. There are some around hotels and other public buildings, but the best place to see
them is at the Singapore Botanic Garden.

This garden was founded in its present site about 1859, so has had time to grow fully mature trees
from the original plantings. It even includes a section of the original rain forest which used to cover the
entire island, though without the tigers, elephants, king cobras, and other wildlife which formerly ranged
through here. One of the highlights of the free gardens is the separate, fee entry section devoted to
smaller plants. This is nominally an orchid garden, but has many ferns, bromeliads, and other plants.
The centerpiece of the bromeliad collection is

This collection was donated by a lady living in northern California. It has been given its own section of
the orchid garden, its own shade house, and its own plantings. Of course, many bromeliads are
scattered around among the trees and flowers and foliage plants. They appear to be actively
propagating the bromeliads, so I expect to see lots more throughout the garden. Hopefully, they will be
spread around and make their appearance throughout the city. The orchid garden features hundreds of
named specimens of orchids, growing all over the garden trees, and mixed in with the wild staghorn
and other ferns, philodendrons, and other plants growing wild. I would love to see many more of the
bromeliads mixed in among them. Meanwhile, here are a few of the photos which I took.

31. Krulik, Gerald, "Tillandsia Weeding", PUP TALK (Saddleback Valley Bromeliad Society), 13(3) p.4-
5, March, 2006.

No, I don’t mean that it is time to take the weeds out of your Tillandsias. I assume that everyone keeps
those nasty things, like grasses, ferns, chickweed, wild mustards, oxalis, and such, under close control
in your pots. What I mean is, it is time to weed out your hanging clumps of Tillandsia usenoides, or
Spanish Moss.

I guess I will never win any award for the most manicured garden. It really is a jungle out there, in my
yard. And one of the surest signs is the numerous large and aggressive clumps, strands, clots,
streamers, and blankets, of Spanish Moss. It grows so easily near the coast, with the frequent fogs and
heavy dews of very lightly salted water for fertilizer. I rip off large chunks to thrust upon any uncautious
visitor who casually admires it. I spread it liberally around. Any wind blown strands are picked up and
hung from trees, pots, fences, shrubs, and other objects. I don’t exactly consider it a weed, but, it is the
only bromeliad I know of that really is weedy.

I do use it for good purposes. I swaddle smaller Tillandsias and bromeliads with Spanish Moss, when
I attach them to hot and exposed areas. This gives the other plants protection from the sun, and a
padding of some moisture holding capacity. Have you ever seen any Spanish Moss that has been
sunburned? I never have.

I also use Spanish Moss to wrap plants and cuttings of spiny bromeliads, cacti and succulents, and of
small and delicate plants, when giving them away to visitors. I have even used it as a glove, when
forced to repot spiny cacti. It works even better with paper around your hand first.

Last week I planned to do only one chore in the yard. I went to transplant a volunteer seedling of
Epidendrum orchid from a pot, onto my large Plumeria (Frangipani) tree. This tree has Spanish Moss,
Tillandsias, a hanging pot of Hectia, and some large Bromeliads attached to it. Of course, the Spanish
Moss is the biggest component by volume, by far. As I was shifting some around, in order to get the
orchid roots near the trunk in a large crotch of limbs, I found two very old mourning dove eggs just
sitting among the top layer of Spanish Moss. They had not even bothered to build a nest, they just laid
them directly on the Spanish Moss. Investigating further, I began to uncover layers of Spanish Moss
overlying numerous small to fair sized Tillandsias, many of which were, let us say, pining for the light of
day. I found a lot of plants that I had not realized or remembered that I or Terry had planted there.

Well, yesterday was even hotter and nicer than last week. I should have learned my lesson, but, I am a
gardener. I got out my stepladder so I could just check plants and trim dead blossoms from a twenty
foot length of aluminum open wire edge framing material which I have nailed to a long length of
wooden fencing. I have tied many Tillandsias, and a few others such as Racinaea and Vriesia, to this
excellent support material. Of course, the plants looked too bare and vulnerable so I added generous
amounts of Spanish Moss for additional support and protection. Every time I got plants or cuttings that
had no other place to go, I attached them here.

This particular fence garden was started three or four years ago. As the aluminum wire is about 7 feet
up, I don’t get up there to look at it very often.

I started at one end and worked my way down. I became aware that there were a lot more plants than I
had thought, just from looking up from the ground and hosing them down. Many of the upthrusting
mounds of Spanish Moss, actually had other plants at the center. Some were long gone; others were
clustered nicely, and seemed to like it there, even pushing out flower stalks. I believe I uncovered
around 14 plants and clusters that I had not realized were actually there! It took a long time and quite a
bit of effort to untangle all of the strands of Tillandsia usenoides that had wound around and
interpenetrated all the leafy clusters of everything.

So I urge you, if you have Spanish Moss, to check it out. Now is the best time to uncover some of those
rare slower growing plants which may need a bit of sun and air, before the really hot and sunny weather
starts. Unless of course, you are one of those pathologically neat persons who never allow Tillandsia
usenoides to run wild, in which case this does not apply!

Shown below are a few of the Spanish Moss colonies in my yard, all mixed with other Tillandsias,
Bromeliads, Orchids, etc.