Every couple of months, usually on a Saturday, an older Mexican gentleman parks his pickup truck outside a corner convenience store a few miles from our house and unloads a treasure trove of talavera pottery from Mexico. While his selection is different each time, it always includes beautiful pieces with traditional designs in addition to folksy animal shapes that seem to be very popular these days.
My wife and I picked up a couple of pots this spring and summer but we didn’t quite know how to use them to their best advantage. One of them is shaped like a cup (6 in. tall, 9 in. wide). To be honest, I would have preferred not to have the handle but I was drawn to the typical blue-and-white design. I knew I wanted to put a special plant in this pot that I would enjoy studying up close.
At Succulent Gardens’ recent Extravaganza I finally found the ideal plant: a Queen Victoria agave (Agave victoria-reginae). Like talavera pottery, it also hails from Mexico—surely this fortunate coincidence must bode well!
The Agave victoria-reginae specimen I bought at Succulent Gardens is as perfect as they come. And at $10, I think it was a steal.
As soon as I planted the agave, I knew I needed a top dressing because the bare dirt was just too ordinary-looking. My first thought was to use black lava rock but the texture and color were wrong. Then I remembered I had been give a small bag of white aquarium gravel that I’d never found a use for. It turned out to be just what was needed to offset the gray-green of the agave and to complement the blue-and-white design of the talavera pot.
I’m very happy with the final result: a beautiful plant showcased beautifully.