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 Epiphytes and the Summer Garden 
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Location: Kyushu, Southern Japan (33.607N latitude)
Post Epiphytes and the Summer Garden
Watch what some of the epiphytes in my garden look like this time of year. Believe it or not, all that spanish moss started from just a handful 7 years ago.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9MZkXWF5 ... e=youtu.be

That is not a TV in the background BTW, but rather my neighbors talking. This time of year families get together and party nearly 24/7.

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Tue Aug 07, 2012 2:26 am
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Post Re: Epiphytes and the Summer Garden
Very nice indeed Tom. I grew spanish moss and it did really well till the next spring when the sparrows pinched every last scrap for their nests :lol: It probably wouldn't have been so bad if they built their nests in the local trees but they tend to nest in the eaves of houses so no outbreak of spanish moss all over the neighbourhood unfortunately.
Maurice

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Tue Aug 07, 2012 5:05 am
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Post Re: Epiphytes and the Summer Garden
Tom
the Spanish moss looks like it's thriving in the warm Japanese summers . I just can't get it to grow down here ??

The Platycerium looks perfect it must not get that cold where you are .

BTW i really enjoyed the cycad video in the other post .

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Tue Aug 07, 2012 10:29 am
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Post Re: Epiphytes and the Summer Garden
Great vid, Tom.
Looks as if there hadn't been a winter!

These noisy cicadas would drive me nuts. :roll:


Tue Aug 07, 2012 1:36 pm
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Post Re: Epiphytes and the Summer Garden
Troydonovan wrote:
Tom
the Spanish moss looks like it's thriving in the warm Japanese summers . I just can't get it to grow down here ??

The Platycerium looks perfect it must not get that cold where you are .

BTW i really enjoyed the cycad video in the other post .


Troy, spanish moss needs warm summers to thrive I think, plus constant, high humidities. The biggest issue is that birds love to use it as nesting material, as Maurice noted. Here, sad to say, the bird life in spring and summer is mostly crows, so nobody takes it. It is very cold hardy though, I imagine even -10 C wouldn't kill it during brief events. The P. bifurcatum is a near veteran plant now, having spent 7 seasons out there. It has withstood frosts down to -4 C, subfreezing temperatures for 2-3 day stretches, continuous cold wet conditions averaging below 5 C for weeks, and tons of snow (albeit lasting less than a day usually). Unfortunately, the lovely P. superbum I had died due to the cold of January 2011. I actually cried over that loss. Glad you enjoyed the cycad vid - it is a slow burner, I know, and only for those who are really interested :roll:

Steven wrote:
Great vid, Tom.
Looks as if there hadn't been a winter!

These noisy cicadas would drive me nuts. :roll:


Winter is indeed a long faded memory Steven, but once it comes with a vengeance in December, then summer is equally forgotten. The cicadas you eventually get used to. They truly adore cherry trees and anytime you are near a grove of them you can't hear yourself think for all the noise. Right outside my kitchen window are four large cherries - needless to say, I can't have a telephone conversation on that side of the house!

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Tue Aug 07, 2012 10:34 pm
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Post Re: Epiphytes and the Summer Garden
Very enjoyable vid. Watched the others as well, particulary found the waterfall interesting as i'm currently working on an arid bed with a dry stream bed, so have pinched a few idea's :wink:

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Wed Aug 08, 2012 7:55 am
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Post Re: Epiphytes and the Summer Garden
Taffy wrote:
Very enjoyable vid. Watched the others as well, particulary found the waterfall interesting as i'm currently working on an arid bed with a dry stream bed, so have pinched a few idea's :wink:


Glad I could be of assistance :D

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Wed Aug 08, 2012 12:26 pm
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Post Re: Epiphytes and the Summer Garden
Ahhh,too short. I was just starting to relax on the moss...and it was over. I think I have lost 50% of my potential moss to birds. And maybe the occasional visitor who fancys it. Whats left makes a nice jungle mood to the broms. My Birds nest is just huge..the newest fronds are around 5'..too bad it's now going into the rafters..hard to get a whole view now. I never thought that would be a problem when I planted it on a cracked cement bird bath.Epi Plants love old(cracked basin) bird baths..
Its time to move it..but where? I think you and I Tom garden on comparable sized estates..


Wed Aug 08, 2012 8:27 pm
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Post Re: Epiphytes and the Summer Garden
Stan wrote:
Ahhh,too short. I was just starting to relax on the moss...and it was over. I think I have lost 50% of my potential moss to birds. And maybe the occasional visitor who fancys it. Whats left makes a nice jungle mood to the broms. My Birds nest is just huge..the newest fronds are around 5'..too bad it's now going into the rafters..hard to get a whole view now. I never thought that would be a problem when I planted it on a cracked cement bird bath.Epi Plants love old(cracked basin) bird baths..
Its time to move it..but where? I think you and I Tom garden on comparable sized estates..


Hey Stan,

I'll try to slow things down more! Honestly, with the low end quality of my minicam, I really have to move barely at all or the visual distortions get out of hand quick. I'm learning.

If memory serves, your birdsnest is either A. nidus or more likely A. australasicum - neither is cold hardy here. I tried both a couple times and the result was the same - dead, dead, dead after just one winter. A. antiquum by comparison is very hardy, but not as grand a plant. You are right, these guys LOVE drainage. Probably the best growing situation would be on an old tree stump - rotting and rich, but elevated. Spanish moss is a weed here - that whole mass you see in the vid came from just a handful 7 years ago. Actually, I worry about it naturalizing in the surrounding woods...another bloody exotic.

Yes, we have similar lots - tiny. The typical Japanese urban lot is 10 meters square, and around 2/3 of it is taken up by the house and carport. That's what you call cramped gardening. And yet people who visit my house say, "oh, what a HUGE yard you have, SO MUCH space!" Japan :roll:

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Wed Aug 08, 2012 8:47 pm
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Post Re: Epiphytes and the Summer Garden
Great video! That Neofinetia falcata looks superb! The only problem is that it looks kinda lonely :D
What about Hoya motoskei? I've got Hoyas on my mind because I recently received a bunch from Thailand. Based on a bit of research...Hoya burmanica, Hoya fungii, Hoya globulosa and Hoya shepherdii/longifolia should be relatively cold tolerant.

Kind of in the same ball park is Dischidia formosana. I'm happy with it but not quite sure exactly how much cold it can take. It does appreciate some decent moisture though. I have it growing on my Pygmy Date Palm along side Lemmaphyllum microphyllum. Folks in my fern society were very surprised to learn that I've been successfully growing it outside.

Cautleya gracilis would look pretty neat on your tree. Just recently I attached Hedychium longicornutum to my tree with a ton of New Zealand Sphagnum. It's growing nicely but I'm pretty sure that either the dry or cold of winter will do it in.

There's got to be more than a few epiphytic Gesneriads that would be happy on your tree with a decent amount of moss. Let's see...there's Aeschynanthus acuminatus...which occurs in Southern Japan. Aeschynanthus garrettii and Aeschynanthus evrardii both have been documented to handle some frost. The Sinningias that go deciduous can take some cold...but not sure if they would be able to take your cold. Codonanthes and Nematanthus are happily growing on my tree...but again...not sure if they can take your cold.

Plectranthus, Peperomias and plants in the Commelinaceae all have quite a few good candidates for trees.

If you have any rampant succulents in your garden then you might try growing them epiphytically.

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Thu Aug 09, 2012 3:47 am
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Post Re: Epiphytes and the Summer Garden
Congratulations Tom, I love your Platy,Asplenium,and of course Spanisch :mrgreen: moss!

How about your tree ferns?

Regards.

Mau


Thu Aug 09, 2012 9:46 am
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Post Re: Epiphytes and the Summer Garden
Mau, glad you enjoyed it. I'll get to the tree ferns, but honestly, there isn't much to see, mostly potting young plants. The star of the show, Cyathea australis was killed by the terrible winter of 2011.

Carlos, interesting suggestions. I've been neglecting to put much on the crape myrtle, that is true. Especially on the upper branches I should get some more orchids up there at the very least. I like the idea of getting a clump of Cautleya gracilis going. The tree that needs more epiphytes is the Ilex rotundifolia simply because it has so much more space.

I think the climate here is just a little too cold from late December through February to support many of the plants you suggest. Aeschynanthus acuminatus grows in Okinawa only, not the mainland, a place that never gets frost. It might be possible to get a Sinningia to resprout each spring, but for sure the winter will fry the foliage. Peperomia is an interesting idea and I need to explore getting more cold tolerant Tillandsia. Hoyas - I doubt any of them will handle the cold here.

I've had very good success with all the native epiphytes of course. Two ferns, Lepisorus thunbergiana and Davallia marseii, in fact are weedy and hundreds of sporlings have to be removed each year or they will own the place. All the native orchids do well, and a few exotic orchids seem to handle this place OK too - Dendrobium nobile and its hybrids, Dendrobium kingianum and its hybrids, and some species from the Atlantic rainforest of Brazil. Selaginella seiboldii too is just fine outside since it is a native of Kyushu.

In the next vid I'll show the plum tree - it is stuffed with all kinds of epiphytes.

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Thu Aug 09, 2012 9:04 pm
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Post Re: Epiphytes and the Summer Garden
Tom, on one hand...you're probably right that most of my suggestions wouldn't be able to take your cold. On the other hand...it sure is wonderful to discover that a plant is more cold tolerant than expected.

Okinawa never gets frost? What do you consider "never"? Once in a 100 years could count as "never" for us but that's all it takes to weed out cold tender plants. Consider this passage from "The Orchidaceae of The Bahama Archipelago - Taxonomy, Ecology and Biogeographic Patterns"....

Quote:
The Isles of June epithet, referred to earlier, was severely strained, when in the early morning hours of 19 January 1977, seven years after the last entry in Tables II and III, light snow fell on the islands of Grand Bahama, Great Abaco and New Providence as well as in southern Florida. In addition, frost formed in localized depressions on these islands and on Andros. This was the first time in recorded meteorological history that such a phenomenon had occurred. We visited these islands approximately one month after this extraordinary event in order to assess its effect on the tropical flora. We could find none. We feel this attests to the surprisingly eurythermal resiliency of the Bahamian flora and it might suggest that the remnants of cold-tolerance still exist in the populations from the Wisconsin glaciation.


Hoya motoskei/carnosa is native to Southern Japan...but a quick Google search did not reveal exactly where in Southern Japan it occurs. Not sure how often you make it down south but some habitat photos of your native Hoya would be great. Hoya burmanica has been documented surviving down to -5C. Can it go colder than that? No idea.

Many of the Sinningias are deciduous...so you wouldn't have to worry about winter frying their foliage.

What I'm trying to figure out is just how much cold/drought tolerance variation there is within a batch of seedlings. Your Platyercerium superbum was fine during your typical winters...but an exceptionally cold winter did it in. What would have happened if you had sown it from spore each year? Would the offspring have exactly the same cold tolerance as their parent? Or perhaps there would have been 1 to 2 degrees of variation?

No two individuals are exactly the same...right? We're all unique snowflakes. Recently I've been sowing a bunch of seeds. The thing is...we seem to get a really bad freeze only once every 7 years. In the meantime I'm going to see how much drought tolerance variation there might be between seedlings.

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Fri Aug 10, 2012 6:26 pm
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Post Re: Epiphytes and the Summer Garden
Hey Carlos,

Actually, you have pushed me to get some more epiphytes growing in available spaces. The winter of 2011 shocked me so much I just backed off utterly in planting anything new. I have several orchids I want to move to brighter locations and a few ferns that need mounting.

As for Hoya, yes, they may be able to survive here, though I imagine they will have some damage during bad cold spells. Hoya carnosa is native to the southern islands of Japan and is listed also in Miyazaki Prefecture in SE Kyushu - place warmer in winter than here. I didn' know about H. burmanica, I'll see if I can source one.

Here is a nifty little site I found and you can see H. carnosa growing in habitat in the Amami Islands, just north of Okinawa. The side bar will show you many plants from those subtropical islands, though only in Japanese: http://tokorin.cocolog-nifty.com/photos ... 70611.html

I'm no weather historian, but in recent history at least the islands south of Yakushima indeed do not freeze. I guess at some point in history they have, but not recently. They are in a different climate regime than the Bahamas or Florida Keys, but biologically are quite similar with flora from the south dominating, coral reefs present, large mangrove estuaries, etc.

Your experiments sound very interesting, but searching for that perfectly hardy Platycerium superbum isn't something I really want to pursue at this point in life. Where would I grow them all! Right now my little botanical garden has me running in 6 directions at once and adding more is, ah, out of the question unless I retire or revert back to a 30 year old.

Still, I have found some plants to be cold tolerant beyond expectation - for instance Cibotium barometz which is only found in and around Okinawa in Japan. I have one plant that has sailed through the last 3 winters completely unaffected by cold that killed Cyathea australis, Cyathea dregei, and the Kyushu native Angiopteris lygodiifolia. Go figure.

Tom

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Post Re: Epiphytes and the Summer Garden
You lost the C australis and the dregei? C.dregie seems to be much more cold sensitive then its South Africa origins would lead you to beleive. C.australis? Along with the D.A's were able to survive our deep 1972 and 1990 freezes..down to -8C. And in 1972 that cold was near all month of freezing temps.
Its all matter of duration..and I know you said the days weren't rebounding. It might be worth a re-try Tom.
And D.A.'s can;t take the summer for you?
Platycerium superbum did so well..I would get back on that horse...and protect it in winter this time. Like my Mango's..how much winter effort makes the difference as marginal is extreme marginal with them.


Sun Aug 12, 2012 10:14 pm
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