Friday, February 17, 2012

Agave americana in motel landscaping

We spent last weekend in the Santa Cruz/Watsonville area south of San Francisco, and we stayed at the Best Western Rosen Garden Inn. Usually motel landscaping is as generic as it comes and I rarely get excited about what I see. However, being the succulent nut that I am, I was thrilled to find several suckering clumps of Agave americana.

Agave americana is a somewhat variable species. It can be as large as a compact car, leaving behind a difficult-to-remove carcass when it flowers (and dies),  or it can be quite refined, especially in its protoamericana incarnation or when interbreeding with closed related species.

I don’t know if these are plain-vanilla Agave americana or something more exotic, but I loved the overall look just as I’m sure the motel gardening contractor loves the fact that these are zero maintenance plants. Considering how critical the water situation is in Northern California, landscaping with extremely drought-tolerant plants such as agaves is a definite plus. Kudos to Best Western Rose Garden Inn for making all the right choices for their location!

Curiously, I didn’t see a single rose, but I tend to tune out plants that don’t interest me.

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Other posts from our trip to Santa Cruz and Watsonville:

4 comments:

  1. I would have been very tempted to liberate at least one of those pups...(were you?)

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    1. I'm sure he didn't, as Gerhard has already written that he'd never consider planting this species. :-)

      (Be careful what you write!)

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    2. I was definitely tempted but there was too much traffic and in out.

      The regular form of A. americana is probably my least favorite agave because it grows large, is lethally armed and pups like crazy. The choicer selections, like Silver Surfer, would be tempting if I had a large enough spot for it.

      On the other hand, I love Agave americana 'Mediopicta Alba' and Agave americana 'Striata'; they are smaller-growing and much less vigorous.

      Having said that, I still think it's a great landscaping plant for public facilities, like this motel parking lot. It needs much less care and water than almost any shrub.

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