A Lafayette, Louisiana native and petroleum engineer, Don Beadle revolutionized the long ignored Billbergia genus of bromeliads. Don’s love affair with Billbergias began when he was building his business, Macero Minerals in Corpus Christi, Texas. He and his neighbor, John Anderson began a friendship that eventually began his path into his bromeliad passion. John and Don began auctioneering together and eventually the duo went to a bromeliad society meeting. That fateful meeting lead to a lifelong addiction and hybridizations no one could ever imagine.
At the time of his fortuitous introduction, only twenty Billbergias were available to bromeliad enthusiasts. Given Don’s science background, its not surprising the idea of hybridizing fascinating and underserved Billbergias became his key interest and life’s calling. Hybridizing has many challenges, and Don’s first was pollen, which expires after a few days. He soon found that pollen could be frozen keeping it fertile for up to two years.
His first hybrid came after getting his hands on a long awaited ‘Domingos Martins’ which were difficult to come by. “I lusted after that bromeliad with a passion,” Don recalls. Once he finally got a pup, he crossed it with ‘Ed McWilliams’, and Billbergia ‘Hallelujah’ became his first success. This stunning hybrid has deep color with luminous pink spots.
As Don continued to develop his talent, he started creating more brilliant and impressive Billbergia hybrids which became the envy of bromeliad buffs. were high in demand. He soon built a greenhouse to expand his collection.
After 10 years of hybridizing, he vacationed in Florida and soon became a resident. He bought a property already flush with greenhouses and ready for Don’s talent. This property became Los Milagros Nursery and Don went to work creating a gorgeous estate flush with his 140 hybrid creations.
Eventually Los Milagros Nursery was sold to Michael Kiehl, another talented hybridizer, and eventually became Michael’s Bromeliads.
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