Saturday, March 15, 2008
You can't have a flower with these colors, can you?
This beautiful flower is Billbergia nutans, also known at Queen’s Tears. It’s named for Swedish botanist Gustaf Johan Billberg (thank you, Wikipedia). I have this growing at my favorite client’s house in a few locations. I just took my landscape design class on a tour of a few gardens, and this was in full bloom.
Billbergia is in the Bromeliad family (Bromeliaceae), and if that seems foreign to you, just open a can of Dole pineapple and you’ll be eating a bromeliad.
Back to this stunning gem. It grows in part shade, likes to be a little moist, and needs no special care or fertilization. What absolutely stuns me is this amazing floral color scheme. When you get up close, you see these perfect blue stripes juxtaposed with the crisp green, yellow stamens and pink outer layer.
If a child whipped out they’re crayons and created a flower like this, they’d probably have some grown-up tell them, “That’s not what real flowers look like.”
Anyway, spring has really hit us in Santa Barbara. If it’s not showing up on the arrivals board near you, it’ll be here soon. Hope springs eternal.
UPDATE - I'm getting lots of comments about growing it as a house plant, so I just went to Google, typed in "Billbergia houseplant" and it looks promising. I suggest that all who are interested in trying this one out do the same search. I hope you have great success. Now I feel guilty for being able to grow it using benign neglect.