Two agaves come down

One of the downsides of a small garden is that it sometimes becomes necessary to remove mature plants because they’ve grown too big for their space or are simply out of proportion. The two agaves featured in this post are good examples. Both still had years left on their natural clock, but they had to go, each one for a different reason. The fact that May 1 was the last curbside yard waste pickup until November precipitated my decision. (I didn’t relish the idea of having to chop these large agaves into pieces small enough to fit in our green waste bin.)

Agave #1 was Agave vilmoriniana ‘Stained Glass’. It looks decent enough next to our Yucca queretaroensis, but to my eyes, there’s something unbalanced about it. Plus, its leaf tips tend to dry up, which drives me crazy.


My trusty reciprocating saw made short work of it, slicing through the leaves and core like a hot knife through butter.





Here is the chopped up pile at the curb, looking surprisingly small:


Agave #2 was Agave americana ‘Mediopicta Alba’ at the base of a Yucca rostrata. This has been one of my favorite combinations for many years, but the agave had gotten so large that it was sticking out into the sidewalk. Even though my wife periodically clipped the terminal spines, it was a hazard—and a liability I felt more and more uncomfortable about.


As with Agave vilmoriniana ‘Stained Glass’, it took less than 15 minutes to remove Agave americana ‘Mediopicta Alba’. I found a handful of pups behind the mother plant and saved the three largest ones.



I’m in no hurry to plant anything new. I want to get it right so I’ll take my time to play with different scenarios. I have no shortage of replacement plants waiting in the wings so I won’t even have to go shopping.


© Gerhard Bock, 2023. All rights reserved. To receive all new posts by email, please subscribe here.

Comments

  1. Sorry to see those two go. They were spectacular specimens. However, gardens are never static and all about change so look forward to seeing what you decide to plant in their place.

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    1. Never static, so true! My garden will never be "mature" in the traditional sense, because I'll always be swapping out plants.

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  2. Always painful to have to dispose of a healthy mature plant ! I procrastinated giving Agave weberi 'Arizona Star' the heave ho for quite awhile before actually did but as you said, it had to. I did rescue a pup which lives in a pot. My 'Blue Glow' has started offsetting from the rosette this spring so it will be on the way out at some point. I expect you'll have fun deciding what to place in your Agaves former spots !

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    1. I removed an Agave weberi 'Arizona Star' a few years ago. Beautiful plant, but it needs sooooo much room!

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  3. That combo was lovely, the mediopicta & Yucca rostrata - however, the Yucca rostrata really is a showstopper all on its own!

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    1. With the agave gone, it becomes even more apparent how much the Yucca rostrata has grown. I'm going to remove the dead leaves to expose the trunk. I prefer that look.

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    2. hard to remove plants even if they bother you for various reasons - but good you pulled the plug!
      side q: how much of a chore is it to remove the rostrata leaves ? and when they grow tall ? thinking about all that all this before buying one

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  4. Bye-bye agaves! Wow, I'm sure a lot of people would think you crazy but it makes sense, especially the liability issue. Off topic, why does the curbside pick-up halt for the summer (and beyond)? That's insane!

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    1. When we moved to Davis, we had curbside yard waste pickup EVERY MONDAY. Now it's every other Monday November-January, once in March, once in May, and not all all from May to November. We pay more, but get far less. A winning recipe for corporate profits.

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  5. Albeit necessary, I find this even sadder than the winter loss. On the bright side: you get to play around with new design combinations in the newly vacated areas. It will give the affected beds a fresh new look.
    I chuckled at "I won’t even have to go shopping", as if we ever need a reason to plant shop!
    Chavli

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    1. LOL, I'm trying to use plants I already have. That doesn't mean I won't buy anything new if something catches my eye...

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  6. Ouch! I guess I need to find a reciprocating saw when it comes time to take out my blooming Agave vilmoriniana - it intimidates me even just looking at it. If your 'Mediopicta Alba' is anything like mine, I imagine you may find pups popping up in the months to come that you can move to a more suitable location.

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    1. I couldn't live without my Sawzall. Seriously, the best tool ever (well, next to my RootSlayer cutting spade/shovel).

      There shouldn't be any more pups; I removed all the roots and runners I could find.

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  7. The 'Medio-Picta' looked excellent with the Yucca, but pedestrian safety is really important. 'Stained Glass' didn't look right--two "focal points" is one too many. Both beautiful Agaves, though.

    "Have" to go plant shopping?!? "Have"?!? It's a tough job, but someone's got to do it. 😁

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    1. It was a great combo. I'll miss it greatly. I'm thinking of a couple of small agaves that won't extend into the sidewalk.

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  8. In the first photo, there are small pots on top of the fence, next to the sidewalk. Aren't you afraid they may get stolen?

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    1. I used to not worry, but after we had two agaves stolen (they were in the ground), I'm a bit more nervous.

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