counting on agaves

No, I haven’t done a recent tally. But, boy, do they ever count when the days heat up and stay hot. Nothing looks as composed under the sun as an agave.

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Hard to say if their numbers are increasing, since I’ve been giving away the large americanas and seeking out smaller, slower-growing kinds. New to the garden this summer, found at a recent succulent show, Agave ‘Snow Glow,’ kin to ‘Blue Glow,’ both Kelly Griffin’s hybrids.

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Not new but one of the few agaves I own that still looks like it just came off a grower’s bench. Three offsets of this dwarf butterfly agave ‘Kissho Kan’ are making good size in the front gravel garden. Good size for a dwarf, slow-growing agave.

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The mother plant has grown so snug in its small pot that dunking it in a basin is how it gets very occasionally watered now. Keeps the leaves bright and shiny too. Looks like a mean water lily, doesn’t it?

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Sweeping jacaranda leaflets off the bricks at the front of the house this morning, I noticed that Agave desmettiana is beginning its monocarpic death dance and will be throwing a bloom stalk very soon, after which it will expire in that dramatic, Madame Butterfly flourish that ends the life of every agave. So subtract one desmettiana.

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For once it’s an occasion I’ve actually been looking forward to since the Acacia podalyriifolia is getting tree-like fast and needs a lower-growing understory.

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Agave parryi ‘Cream Spike’ finally showed up at nurseries this summer in less pricy sizes, another small agave that can remain in its pot for some time.

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The big agaves are undoubtedly an awe-inspiring sight, but a small garden can support only so much awe. Thank goodness for the little ones. All the essentials for late summer on a small table.

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7 Responses to counting on agaves

  1. kathy says:

    I see the water feature has been re-born ! That Snow Glow pot looks like it is resting in an old ashtray…I hope haven’t taken to puffing on stogies with that beer the mermaid opened up for you…

  2. Denise says:

    I have stacks of these old ashtrays, Kathy, and love finding new uses for them. I’m over my cigar phase tho. Marty keeps finding these old bottle openers at flea markets. Yep, I was a fool to let the fire bowl/dipping basin go unused.

  3. Hoov says:

    Roger’s had a dwarf version of A. guadalajarana yesterday, very nice. I’ll never be able to remember how to spell that, though.

  4. I know it’s wrong but that image with the ‘Kissho Kan’ in the water…I am in awe and now must somehow figure out how to replicated that. Such a silly idea but wow…

  5. Peter/Outlaw says:

    Your agaves are looking very nice indeed! I’ve come late to their fan club but now am enamored. After seeing how they perform in areas like yours with warmer an drier conditions, I feel sorry for mine and think I should send them all to California to live out their lives free of their potted, cool climate prison.

  6. Pam/Digging says:

    Very fiiiine! Like Loree, I’m enamored of that image of the agave seemingly floating like a lily in the basin. Such a mind-bending juxtaposition. Great photos, and yes, I’m a fan of little agaves too.

  7. Denise says:

    @Hoov, none of these guad’s look like my old one, so I’m starting to think that’s the one that was misnamed.
    @Loree, kind of shocking somehow, isn’t it? I’m thinking your silvery UFO planters floating over and reflecting on a pool of water…
    @Peter, I’m often impressed by how pristine your agave prisoners look after wintering indoors — no snail damage.
    @Pam, the little ones are great but it’s nice to let the big boys loose too, like your Moby.

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