The branch of the bromeliad family called Tillandsias, or air plants, intrigue on multiple levels: they derive their nutrients from out of the air itself; as “epiphytes”, they’re non-parasitic plants that require no soil, only a host to provide support; their appearance can range from the interesting to the outright bizarre … and I love them for all that! Yet I fear them for many of the same reasons … Unrooted in soil, I feel like I literally cannot “get a handle” on them, what if they drift off?; what if my environment — my very air — doesn’t possess what they need to survive?; what if I break them, they seem so delicate in their intricacy? I finally bought some at the LA Flower Mart recently and have been pondering where and how to live with them … I created the tableau above to showcase their unique beauty while I decide their ultimate perch, .
Reminiscent of both spiders and sea urchins, two tiny tillandsias rest atop rotund little pottery vases at the right; at far left a larger tillandsia gives a spiky shock of lime green from within a pinched pottery vessel; in the center, a much larger pale grey-green whirling dervish of a tillandsia spirals lazily out from a shapely vase. All pottery (and vintage linoleum samples) were purchased last weekend at the estate sale of a local architect … a weathered old wooden box from a garage sale serves as rustic backdrop.
Oh, by the way, I realize that tillandsias atop vases is probably the most earthbound presentation for them possible … a more acrobatic and ethereal display is forthcoming.