Having Babies....

Not me...but our Agave plants!

When I purchased plants for the our Ojai landscape, I included three varieties of Agave.

They are very drought tolerant and add so much interest to our garden beds. 

 I wanted these to be companion plants, to the many other softer,
 more willowy plants that complement the style of this garden

Sometimes they are called a Century Plant, 
because they bloom about every 15 to 20 years,
but what I have learned is that they will bloom sooner
 if you pamper them a bit...which it looks like I have done!

Most of the Agave that we planted were in 3 and 5 gallon containers...actually pretty small

I planted the T Webber's Blue, Americana 
and my favorite the Desmettiana Variegata

Almost all the Agave have become really large, 4 years later
 and most of the plants are surrounded by "pups" 

 We will try to dig up and divide these this winter or early spring 
to use in other areas of the garden.

Let me add that these pretty but pesky plants 
are really difficult to dig around...my husband and I have both gotten some pretty nasty "pokes' from the sharp ends 
and they leave bruised and tender lumps when you get jabbed!

 now for the 
"plant sic-fi"
 part of this post

  about a month ago two of them started to sprout this 
crazy weird asparagus stalk thingy...
what is that....?

oh no...

I don't think this is a good thing!
the stalks are about 4 feet high right now 
and seem to be growing about a foot each week...

it's like a Jack and the Beanstalk event

 I did some research and came across a great blog called  

You must visit this site
 if you are even somewhat into gardening...trust me on this one.

 One of the blog writers happens to be a well known author and lecturer named Debra Lee Baldwin. 
 I realized when I read her bio, that I have one of her books, which I love:

Designing With Succulents.

I highly recommend her book 
if you have a desire to use succulents in containers 
or in your garden.  

It is full of info and inspiration!

 Agave are a type of plant called Monocarpic,
 which means the plant will die after if flowers.

  The mother plant grows this tall stalk, in order to reproduce more agave
and expends all of her energy as she does this. 

In the photo above you can see where the stalk is staring to produce 
the beginnings of lateral branches.

Here is a photo of what this stalk will eventually look like
 courtesy of Debra's web site
 The stalks will go from green to red 
and form these 20 foot tall "trees"
Each branch will have many groups of blossoms.  
When the stalk can no longer support the weight of the blossom clumps
 it falls over.

  The idea is 
that the small little Agave babies 
will start to grow where they land...how efficient is our Agave mom!?

This type of agave offers highly nutritious nectar for butterflies and hummingbirds too

It is also used as a sugar substitute 
which I think we have all seen in the super market  as 
Agave Nectar...
similar to honey but much sweeter

 The longer I garden in this climate 
the more I have come to love succulents 
and the beauty of these unique plants
 I will keep a good "gardeners journal" on this happy event
I may never see this happen again in our garden..or in my lifetime even!
  I have decided to buy a pair of really long leather gloves for dealing with these beauties...and maybe a pair of goggles...
and a helmet
and a...OK I'll just show you
happy gardening!

  1. Congrats on your newborns!! Loved your post....love succulents too!
    Happy gardening ;)) Debra

  2. your garden looks really great!

  3. Well I sure have learned a lot of new plant names and other info here today! Our street frontage is full of these XL agaves, and I trim the tips to make sure no one gets poked by the spikes. And yes, aren't the flowering stalks magnificent to watch grow??!

  4. Congrats on the new babies! Your garden looks beautiful!

  5. Congrats! can't wait to see more.

  6. This post is hilarious! Do you have any canary island date palms in your yard? You need that same suit of armor when pruning them! I have always been scared to death to plant the century plant. I will be anxious to hear more!

  7. thank you for the link to gardening gone wild. Debra lee just blogged about some amazing succulent wreaths. i always look forward to reading your blog Kelly. I enjoy your take on style. jess


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