Thursday, March 2, 2017

Agave order from Plant Delights Nursery

Like many of you, I've been a big fan of Plant Delights Nursery in Raleigh, North Carolina for a number of years. Even if you've never ordered from them, you're probably familiar with their catalog—easily the most unique and entertaining plant catalog in the country.

Owner Tony Avent is one of the world's leading plantmen, a true renaissance guy. To get an idea of what he's done and where he's been, check these plant expedition logs. Among many other plant categories, he's considered an expert in agaves. Plant Delights has introduced many agave cultivars over the years, including 'Silver Surfer', 'Arizona Star' and 'Frostbite'.

The 2017 catalog is particularly rich in new Agave and ×Mangave cultivars. Take a look here. The entire range of agaves and mangaves currently available is here. I placed an order when the 2017 catalog came out a few months ago, and today my plants arrived. For a plant lover, few things are as exciting as receiving a package like this in the mail:


I was a bit surprised by the size of the box, considering I ordered only five plants. However, right after opening the box, it became clear that everything was very well packaged.



This is where all the old Plant Delights catalog go:


And here are my new beauties:



×Mangave 'Spotty Dotty':



×Mangave 'Spotty Dotty' is a vigorous 2017 Walters Gardens introduction...a Hans Hansen hybrid involving three North American natives...Agave gypsophila, Agave bovicornuta and Manfreda maculosa. [It] forms a 10" tall x 3' wide rosette of 3" wide, lightly wavy, glaucous, blue-green leaves, highlighted by an abundance of maroon spots and edged with soft, plastic knife-like serrations.

Agave multifilifera 'Starshine':


 

Agave multifilifera 'Starshine' is a stunning century plant, similarly patterned but different from the better known Agave schidigera 'Shiro ito no Ohi'.  The leaves of Agave multifilifera 'Starshine' are 1/2" narrower (3/4" compared to 1.25") than Agave 'Shiro ito no Ohi', each surrounded by a very bright cream border. The solitary, non-offsetting Agave 'Starshine' is adorned with an abundance of small white curled hairs. 
The comment about it being solitary is interesting, considering my plant does have a pup already!


Agave 'Bluebell Giants':



Agave 'Bluebell Giants' is a 2016 Plant Delights Nursery introduction of a seed strain of century plants that originated from our 2014 cross of two of our largest and hardiest century plants, Agave × protamericana and Agave × pseudoferox 'Bellville'. If the size of the parents is any indication, we expect the offspring to reach at least 7' tall x 12' in width or larger. Each Agave 'Bluebell Giants' seedling is different, but the consistent traits we've seen so far are fast growth rate, nice blue foliage, and upturned leaf tips. Agave 'Bluebell Giants' contains genes from at least three agave species (Agave americana, A. asperrima, and A. gentryi). This is a limited-time offer or until we run out of seed.
The mature size of this cultivar is intimidating, but I couldn't resist. Now to find a spot for it!


Agave 'Desert Love':



We grew this seed batch of Agave ovatifolia and it was quickly obvious there had been some romantic hanky panky in the high desert mountains of Northern Mexico. The resulting offspring from the tryst appear to be hybrids of Agave ovatifolia with the lovely Agave parrasana and possibly Agave asperrima (scabra). The foliage of Agave 'Desert Love' ranges from wide to narrow with an assortment of recurved leaf tips, spine patterns, but almost consistently blue foliage...unlike the mostly green Agave ovatifolia hybrids we offer as 'Huasteca Giant'. This is our first offering of these amazing plants, so if you like hardy century plants, you may want to try several, since each individual is different. We anticipate most plants will mature in the 2' tall x 6' wide range, but there will be some smaller and some larger. 
This one sounded so interesting that I ordered two.


Here they are again:


I'm really excited about the potential of these rare and unusual cultivars. It's always good to have replacements on hand in case an in-ground plant needs to be removed. The likelihood of that happening is high after our extremely wet winter.

16 comments:

  1. Oh, the excitement of the arrival of a plant-filled package! You got some beauties, Gerhard! Plant Delights Catalog is, indeed, entertaining and chock full of treasures and humor.

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    1. I wish I'd saved all my Plant Delights catalogs from previous years.

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  2. Wow...that's a lovely purchase. I am amazed the ×Mangave 'Spotty Dotty' arrived looking so good, their leaves are so easy to break!

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  3. I like that you bought TWO of the biggest agaves. Twelve feet wide?! :)

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  4. Great selections! I haven't ever ordered from Plant Delights, although I have checked out their catalog on occasion. Now that you've pointed me in the direction of the agaves, I may have to correct my omission.

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    1. I can highly recommend them. Very healthy plants, and surprisingly large.

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  5. Wow, what a testimonial to Plant Delights that 'Spotty Dotty' wasn't broken up all to hell ! So far my purchases via mail order this year have been limited to Lily bulbs. I'm about due for an Annies run !

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    1. Annie's is on my list, too. And the Ruth Bancroft Garden nursery. But first I need to figure out what I will rip out and replace. I have so much damage from the excessive rain...

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  6. I was eyeing those Mangave hybrids myself.

    Where are you going to put a 12' wide Agave?

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    1. I honestly have no idea where these massive agaves will go. Probably into containers for the time being. And eventually a spot will open up somewhere.

      Or maybe I'll plant them in a large open-bottom metal container partially sunk into the ground; that might naturally stunt their growth.

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  7. Nice selection. I periodically go through their catalogue and fill my cart with whatever agaves strike my fancy, then abandon my virtual shopping cart -- cheap therapy! I liked their selections this year too.

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    1. I do the cart-as-a-wishlist thing all the time, not just with Plant Delights. It helps cheer me up when I'm in a funk.

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  8. So glad to hear I'm not alone in low-impact online plant shopping!

    Gerhard, thanks so much for including us all in the fun of opening your box of PD treasures. Not only is that 'Spotty Dotty' unbroken, but it looks to be remarkably far along the way to its mature size. Unlike that someday-whopper agave, which... well, tomorrow is another day, eh?

    Happy planting!

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    1. I think 'Spotty Dotty' will be a fast grower. Unlike the monster agave, which will take years to mature (thank goodness for that :-)).

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