the awkward age

My garden has lived through lots of them and will most likely continue to do so while I’m in charge. The latest awkward age involves a flowering agave and a young tree. Or maybe it will be a shrub. Neither the Acacia podalyrfolia nor myself can make up our minds yet. So far the Pearl Acacia is a little too beamy widthwise to prune out the lower branches and train as a tree, which will become an important issue when all the aloes I’ve planted here are ready to bloom. At that point (maybe this year?) there ideally should be a high canopy. Even so, for now I think we’re both leaning more toward shrub than tree and possibly moving the aloes elsewhere. What’s certain is that until the agave finishes flowering and expires, things will be looking a bit chaotic in this corner of the front garden. Watching the agave send that bloom stalk roof-high, I was reminded of a chat I had with a nurseryman, who felt that aloes were gaining favor over agaves with the public because they didn’t inflict such drama on a garden (flowering, death, and then a gaping blankness). I prefer to view the death of an agave as an act of creative destruction, and can’t wait til I haul out the carcass.


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Here’s the awkward part, the Pearl Acacia and agave getting in each other’s grilles.

While I’ve been distracted by the flag pole of an agave bloom outside the front door, I failed to notice what the acacia was up to. Was I catching a glint of lemony yellow as I raced from the car to the back office to deal with the merciless deadlines I’ve had the past couple weeks? Nah, must be eyestrain.

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Not yet two years old, planted as a small cutting, the Pearl Acacia was already budding up for a late winter/spring bloom. After all, this Australian evergreen is well know for its fast growth.
Still, it was a bit surprising to see the branches already studded with flower buds in November.

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Early this morning I took a closer look at the flashes of yellow and found these.

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Watching its mad dash to bloom, I can confirm that this tree/shrub’s reputation for speedy growth is well-deserved

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What’s that catty old saying, “Your lack of planning is not my problem”? This beautiful, quicksilver tree reminds me of it every time I pass it now.


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4 Responses to the awkward age

  1. Yours looks lovely. I let mine die a few years ago from lack of water. Every time I see one I could kick myself. They do grow fast and look great with the tight flower blossoms waiting for spring to burst open. I decided mine would be a tree. Now it’s a dead tree. I don’t know. Maybe I’ll get another one someday. Good luck with the Agave. Maybe she’ll put out a few babies before she calls it good.

  2. Scott Weber says:

    Oh yes…I think we’ve all done this…planted something, regardless of its ultimate size…and eventually we have to deal with the consequences 😉

  3. I kinda thought this was the way we were supposed to garden.

  4. Denise says:

    Grace, these acacias can supposedly get by on no summer water once they’re established — at least that’s the spot I’ve planned for mine! And yes, they’re are some babies at the base, and a couple more in pots…oy!
    Scott, when I think of the charts I used to draw when I first moved in here. Quite the different method now (madness!)
    Loree, bless you!

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