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December 26, 2010

My Tillandsia Christmas Loot

I'm the luckiest girl in the world!  On Christmas Eve, the present my husband bought for me arrived, so I got to experience Christmas a bit early because plants can't be left in a shipping box, especially when there's a greedy gardener in the house.  He ordered me the large "Selection of Our Best" assortment from airplants4u.com, which came with some gorgeous tillandsias.  Right now I have only identified 3 and have only photographed a few, but I'm sure I'll place a name to a face soon enough.  If you do happen to know the ones that I don't off the top of your head, I'd appreciate naming these guys sooner rather than later!

I asked my husband to select a few tillandsias from this nursery because I figured I could handle a few more tillandsias despite the house and garage being a bit stuffed with overwintering plants.  Tillandsias really don't require much care, and there's no potting to be done!  I would like to find a bit of driftwood for displaying them, but I have a hard time justifying such a purchase.  I might troll around the neighborhood looking for branches and what-not and fashion something on my own.

It was only recently that I discovered how fabulous and diverse this genus is which is quite unfortunate.  It's easy to find a few of the species easily, but there are so many other ones that you have to purchase through mail order.  That's probably why I suggest airplants4u.com to my husband - they seem to have a huge variety and incredible prices, especially compared to local retail nurseries.  However, with retail nurseries, you can select the plant you want, and you can generally find larger plants than through mail order.

So today I set up my little (crappy) studio and took a few photos of some new acquisitions, and I'm quite pleased with just how black the background came out.  I barely had to do anything in editing, which is a great relief!  If you don't have to do much editing, you took a good picture.  For the tillandsias, I definitely had to use a black background because they're generally very pale, and pale plants really stand out against black.  The photographs are much more interesting in my opinion because of the contrast.

Tillandsia caput-medusae Closeup

To take these photos, I hung the plants from a thin piece of wire, set up a piece of black poster board behind the plants, and placed a spotlight on the plant (but not on the background).  It took a little bit of fooling around to find just the right lighting, but I think it was worth it.  I might be submitting a couple of these to the national Gardeners of America annual photography contest, which reminds me...

I need to select 20 of my best photographs for this contest, and I'm not sure which ones to choose.  I have a fair number of photographs on this blog, but I also have quite a few on my DeviantArt account.  If you have time to troll around the blog and my DA account, I'd love some suggestions as to which photos to submit.  I don't think I'm very good at selecting the photos because I'm too involved since they're all plants I own and have cared for.  Some photos I love because they show a plant that I've taken from near death back to life, and for some others, I see all the flaws which I don't think are obvious to everyone else.

Oh, and the Rainforest Gardener is throwing a giveaway just in case you also have a fascination with epiphytes.  If not, his blog is very interesting and definitely worth checking out.  It's absolutely charming, and the owner's enthusiasm for tropicals and epiphytes is contagious.


  1. I don't know much about air plants, but it might be an indoor plant I can handle. Your pictures of them turned out great. I'd always rather get a plant or garden related item any day over clothes or jewelery.

  2. Hi Not-So, These photos are brilliant. My favourite is the second one with the colours but they are all wonderful. The black background makes all the difference. I like the idea of planning and creating a setting and background for plant portraits. happy new year, cheers, catmint

  3. Hi Johanna, I've looked through your Deviant Art collection (great name!) and my favourites and suggestion for competition entry are the current ones of the airplants. Great photographic work. cheers, catmint

  4. I would not know which photo(s) to pick as you have such a great eye for this. I am so glad you shared the links for the tillandsias. More places for me to get into trouble...

  5. You've photographed them beautifully.

  6. Glad you are joining in the fun over at Steves! Your Tills are so pretty! I love the ones I have...and so easy to boot! Happy Cactus/Succulent Monday!

  7. That second shot is mesmerizing - absolutely beautiful!

  8. Great captures. I would grow Tillandsias except the squirrels think I hang them on the trees for a snack and entertainment.
    Happy New Year!
    David/ Tropical Texana/ Houston

  9. I love these little guys! I have some attached to coral in my corner kitchen window!


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