walking by the driveby agave garden

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Oh, yes, I do keep a sharp eye on developments at the “driveby agave garden,” a local garden I stumbled on in 2012, even if I don’t blog about it. Maybe I’ve become a little squeamish about privacy concerns since 2012, when the Internet seemed wholly benign and full of promise. I know the garden owner values his privacy. But this little garden is a continuing source of inspiration. Especially regarding mature sizes, spacing.

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Although this garden is at least 2 miles from my house, somehow it’s become a feature of my “casual” walks about town. (Hey, I’ll always go out of my way for gardens like this.) And it continually surprises. After all these years, recently that rust-colored shrub behind the palm, something I hadn’t registered before among the riches of agaves, came into focus as very familiar.

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I’m pretty sure it’s the boxleaf acacia, A. buxifolia. I have a small, potted one at home for comparison that’s taking on those russet-tinged tones. Between our two, I haven’t seen another one locally — or indeed anywhere outside of the Australian Native Plants nursery where I purchased mine.

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And it’s always lovely to experience the anchor plant in bloom again (Colletia paradoxa). However formidable to the flesh, it’s such a sparkly thing to the eye.

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And I’d never noticed the Solana maxima vine topping the privacy fence before until seeing it in bloom this month. But that’s a feature of the gardens of those bitten by the obsession, that there will be sublime surprises gracing the garden for as many months as the climate allows.

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For the obsessives, it’s never about getting it all “finished,” but about watching, learning, noticing and exploiting lulls, vacancies, opportunities. The driveby agave garden shows me all this and so much more — especially when I’m on foot.

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9 Responses to walking by the driveby agave garden

  1. Kris P says:

    It’s a fantastic garden and I appreciate the periodic progress reports but I understand your apprehensions about intruding (even if ever so softly) on someone’s privacy. I adore the Colletia paradoxa, which I’ve seen offered for sale in just one garden center, in an excessively large container with a truly exorbitant price-tag. I’d hoped they’d eventually offer a smaller version but that never happened. After it’d been there for ages, and was clearly declining in its pot, I suggested that the store might want to take cuttings and offer these for sale at more palatable prices but that never happened either. Coincidentally, I stopped by the very same garden center today and made a point of looking for it to no avail.

  2. James Golden says:

    I saw Colletia paradoxa several years ago in a garden in Uruguay, where it is native. That one was a dark green, very different in color from this one. Do you know if there are different cultivars available with different colors?

  3. Peter says:

    A great garden! You’re right, it’s not about it being done but about the process of playing with growing things in the dirt.

  4. I always enjoy a peek at this wonderful garden, and envy you your proximity.

  5. hb says:

    A plant lover’s garden, obviously, and one of the best. Thanks for giving us a look.

    Is that a Bismarkia I see on the right side of the picture window? That and the Chaemerops work beautifully with the Yucca, Agaves, etc.

  6. Nell says:

    Have just been re-reading writing by and about Gertrude Jekyll, and am struck by how well the agaves fronting that spiky-foamy Colletia function as the dry-climate counterparts to her Bergenias — solid, smooth footers.

    I could look at that photo all day, if I put my thumb over the security-company sign. Looking again at the top image of the whole frontage, it’s surprisingly obtrusive for its size…

  7. Nell says:

    Clarifying: I could look at that *last* photo all day…

  8. Denise says:

    @Kris, I rarely see colletia for sale. Let me know when you do!
    @James, I wonder if it’s a natural variation in color. I’ve heard the leaves described as gray-green too.
    @Peter, even though the big stuff gains size, I’ve noticed that gaps from agaves blooming are sometimes left, so the proportions of the garden are continually shifting.
    @Loree, walking around town is a cheap pleasure!
    @Hoov, yes, that is a bismarckia crowding in among the Yucca rostrata, steely blues!
    @Nell, I usually edit out stuff like the security signs but wanted to get a full photo of the entire garden.

  9. Nell says:

    Oh, not at all meant as a criticism of the photo! I figured that quickness was a key tactic in your wise strategy of discretion, and these are great looks at a great garden. I was thinking of the gardener owner.

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