Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Exotica One

A bit of history behind the 'Exotica' name. Exotica was established in the winter of 2000, when I shifted to Point Wells from my home town of Mt Maunganui and in the process changed my hobby into my business. At the time it only took about 5 trips with a van and trailer to shift all the plants, although each trip took about 5 hours each way!

We were there for two years, in which time the stock increased many fold, to cover 900 sqm of greenhouse. Buying out a couple of other nurseries and bringing TC plants in from the USA helped achieve this.

The second photo shows the shop area. Believe it or not, at the time this was the largest retail area of bromeliads around! How things have changed in less than a decade, with any decent garden centre now having more than this in stock. At the top left was a huge grape vine that carried hundreds of bunches of early, very sweet green grapes. In the far corner was my favourite area, our tropical display.

This consisted mostly of a large round pool about a metre deep, surrounded on two sides by large slabs of fake rock, planted with Tillandsia. From the corner a slab of punga was used as a waterfall and around the pool various tropical bromeliads were planted.

The best part about it was the heating; by way of a heater scavenged from a hot water cylinder and an extension lead that dangled above the water. I must admit the wiring caused some raised eyebrows, particularly when the water felt a bit tingly.

The pool was heated to 30C, which was fantastic for swimming on cold winter day. You can see the steam rising off the pool in the 4th photo. It was also warm enough to have tropical fish, which hugely entertained Katelyn, who was a toddler at the time. The only real problem was explaining why we were in the pool when customers arrived!


  1. Hello, Mr. Steens,
    I am very glad that I found your blog. I have been collecing bromeliads for nearly 20 years. I am a senior student at a university in Hungary (horticulture) and I really need literature for my degree work (Bromeliad, of course). I know your book, but I could not find in Hungary to buy. But now finding this page my only problem is: where to begin??? :-)
    I am sure I will have a very good time reading your articles.
    Thank you.

  2. Welcome Diana, I hope you enjoy what I write. Best of luck with your degree.