30′ tall Flowering Agave – a pollinators dream

Agave Grey Gator in full flower at top with ladderIt’s been absolutely amazing to watch the swarm of honeybees, ants, and hummingbirds feeding on our giant 30′ tall flowering agave.  Here’s an updated photo of the blessed event from yesterday.  This weekend’s final summer open house is the last chance to see it in person.

 

Giant Agave flowering

Agave Grey Gator flowering with ladder and staff4

Here’s our research staff getting the giant ladder in place for breeding as the giant Agave salmiana x asperrima begins to open. Agave Grey Gator flowers with Jeremy on ladderAnd here’s Jeremy, who heads up our Research Division, gathering pollen and making crosses.  Breeding agaves is a little different from breeding daylilies, iris, and hostas. We hope you’ll join us during our summer open nursery and garden to see this monster in person.

 

Giant agave flower spike ready to open

Agave salmiana x asperrima flower spike ready to openThe flower spike on our giant Agave salmiana x asperrima is timed perfectly for our Summer Open Nursery and Garden.  We measured the spike on this 15 year old monster this morning at a whopping 29′ tall.  The actually opening of the flowers should start around Friday and will continue for several weeks.  We hope you’ll drop by for a visit during open house and take the opportunity to marvel at this wonder of nature.

 

Agave ‘Grey Gator’ flower spike peaking @ JLBG

Agave Grey Gator in spike

Here’s a current photo of our spiking Agave ‘Grey Gator’.  The spike began four weeks ago today, and was measured yesterday at 22′ in height.  The bracts that surround the flower spikes are just beginning to unfurl, so we’re probably a couple of weeks from seeing flowers open.

This is the largest of the winter hardy agaves we’ve grown, and we still have some of our crop of seed grown plants from its sister seedling that flowered a couple of years ago…sold as Agave salmiana var. ferox x Agave asperrima. Each seedling will be slightly different in mature size…some a bit smaller and some even larger.  Don’t miss your opportunity to try these for yourself.  Hardiness Zone 7b-9b.

Baptisia in the garden

Baptisia Cherries Jubilee4

Here’s Baptisia ‘Cherries Jubilee‘ in the garden…a unique butterscotch and brown flower…a Hans Hansen hybrid.

Baptisia Lemon Meraingue12Here is another recent baptisia photo from the garden…Baptisia ‘Lemon Meringue‘ looking mighty fine.  Baptisia thrive in either dry or wet soils as long as they have 6+ hours of sun.

Giant agave flowering spike starting

2015 9249 patio with Agave Grey Gator in spike from garage4

From high above our Southwest patio garden, you can get a good perspective of our latest agave to flower.  This cross of Agave salmiana and Agave asperrima (scabra) is our largest agave to ever flower (7′ tall x 12′ wide).  We’re expecting the spike to reach at least 25′ before it begins to open in late June or early July.

Agave Grey Gater spike starting

Here is a ground level photo from 2 weeks ago, when the flower bud first emerged.

Agave Grey Gator in spikeHere, the flower spike is 10 days old and nearing 12′ tall.  The flowering of large agaves evokes both excitement and sadness….excitement that it will flower and hopefully set seed, but sadness that the parent plant will die soon after flowering.  Although it would take 100 years to reach flowering size in the wild, our plant is only 16 years old, growing faster because of our higher rainfall.  While they last, we are pleased to offer seed-grown plants from its sister that flowered a couple of years earlier.

 

 

New Agaves in the 2015 catalog

Agave Straight and Narrow PDN024 striata x bracteosa 2.cc

 

For those who love century plants, here are few that you’ll find in the 2015 catalog that is now only 8 days from going live.  The first is our hybrid of Agave striata x Agave bracteosa that we named Agave ‘Straight and Narrow’.  It’s a small agave, with virtually no offsets.  We’ve had this in the ground through single digits F with no problem.

Agave titanota Solar Eclipse - Mediopicta Aurea2.cc

Agave titanota ‘Solar Eclipse’ has been circulating among collectors for several years without a valid name, so we added one and finally have enough to include it in the catalog…not hardy outdoors, except in the mildest climates.

Agave potatorum Eye Scream PDN001.5.cc

Agave potatorum ‘Eye Scream’ is another century plant that has circulated in the collector market without a valid name.  This is truly a stunning century plant, we think you’ll enjoy, although it’s also only hardy outdoors in frost free climates.

Two favorite agaves – Agave bracteosa and Agave ovatifolia

Agave bracteosa Lyn Lowrey2 Agave ovatifolia Sierra Lampazos4

The Agaves are looking great in the garden today as we start our Fall Open Nursery and Garden.  Here are two of my favorites as they look today…the spineless Agave bracteosa (top) that looks like a stiff green squid, and the magnificent Agave ovatifolia. (botttom) Both of these were brought into the US from Mexico by the late plant explorer, Lynn Lowrey of Texas.  You’ll see them both on display when you visit during the next two weekends. Be sure to say hello while you’re here.

Agave ovatifolia mutant

Agave ovatifolia Killer partial mutant

Here’s a teaser for the morning.  We’ve assembled a rather fun collection of variegated agaves (century plants), and here is a one-of-a-kind mutation we found on Agave ovatifolia, where the chimeral pattern is stable on one side of the plant and unstable on the other side.  The next chance to see this in person is when we host the Southeast Palm Society Meeting on August 9.  Visitors and guests are welcome to attend.

Agave albopilosa

Agave albopilosa PDN001

I took this photo of our oldest plant of Agave albopilosa yesterday.  We sold out of our first crop quickly this spring, but our next batch is almost ready.  It’s one of the coolest century plants we grow…very slow growing, and on the small side even when mature, but what a conversation piece!