STUNNING green foliage and tropical flowers flourish in the thousands in Ross and Dianne Smith’s extensive Bromeliad and Orchid garden located in Tea Gardens.
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Bromeliads are a stunning range of exotic leafy plants that thrive in outdoor local conditions, including drier periods as they can store water.
The endless range of their striped and mottled green, pink, red or white foliage is fascinating and the mass display reminiscent of a prehistoric Jurassic Park.
Orchids are a colourful plant family, renown for beautiful symmetrical flowers and exquisite scents.
The local couple have been propagating both of these plants in their Tea Gardens nursery since 2000 but their shared passion goes back over 50 years.
Ross shared how it all started for him, recalling, “I was a young timber cutter and I came across a beautiful tiny but strongly scented orange flower in a tree I felled at Bells Mountain.”
The flower was a single Orange Bloom Orchid and it sparked Ross’s lifelong fascination for the plants.
The couple have since collected over 11,000 Orchids and Bromeliads.
The Smiths’ propagate new plants from the pup-plants that grow at the base and are usually best in pots.
They specialise in hybridisation, a breeding process that can take years with spectacular results.
Dianne informed NOTA that,”We have registered thousands of wonderful new varieties in Australia, breeding for, and winning at local, national and international shows.”
Show season is looming with the Bromeliad Society of Queensland Show on 8-10 April at Bray Park, QLD, followed by the Bromeliad Australian Society Show on 9-10 May at Castle Hill, NSW.
The Smiths have also attended several World Bromeliad Conferences and will be attending in 2021 in New Zealand.
The close and very knowledgeable couple are happy to host groups for garden visits to share tips about breeding, care, potting mix and fertilisers.
They require at least a week’s notice on 02 4997 2880.
By Sandra MURRAY