by germinatrix | July 23rd, 2009
The bloomspike of an agave is a marvelous thing to behold. It is the culmination of a lifetime of stored energy – as the agave dies, its life-essence bolts up and out in a glorious spire; a potent spire!
My first agave bloom ever belongs to my erstwhile A. wilmorinina. I don’t even remember when the spike began to stretch and make itself known – suddenly one day it was THERE – alert; insistent. I screamed with excitement!
I had heard this particular agave bloom was a big one – I couldn’t wait to see how big my spike was going to get! Yes, yes, I know this is all unseemly and full of double-entendre … but what else can I do? These are the real feelings that rise up between a gardener and her plants, I’m not about to dance around them for the sake of propriety! I was thrilled about the impending hugeness of my phallic blossom!
As I’ve said, I was inexperienced. This was my first agave bloom. I was as nervous – I needed information. None of my gardening friends had ever had a blooming Agave wilmoriniana … I needed the gardening version of ”Forever” by Judy Blume.
“Agaves, Yuccas, and Related Plants – A Gardener’s Guide” by Mary & Gary Irish gave me some insight as to what I could expect – ‘a raceme which can be 10-16 ft tall, and quite straight. The yellow-white flowers are held tightly to the stalk, interspersed with numerous bulbils during and after bloom.’ Sixteen feet! “Quite straight!” Wow!
Mary & Gary were right on target. I didn’t measure (should I have? Do people really do that?) but I think the slender spike topped out at thirteen or fourteen feet. It was a wonder! Jan and I kept on thinking that it was going to fall; it was impossible that it stay so upright, but upright it stayed – even through a weekend of hot, blowing Santa Ana winds. Nothing phased this pole of tightly spaced flowers – it was proud and strong, attracting bees and hummingbirds from all around. It lasted forever – it just kept on going and going. Just when I thought a wave of flowers was spent, another wave of flowers perked up and blossomed! It was a stunning and impressive display – I was honored to be a part of it!
But nothing THAT good lasts forever – it just can’t. The flowers dried and the seedpods swelled and then exploded with teeny, tiny Agave wilmoriniana babies! The bloomspike, now spent, its job done, began to arch over. It just made touchdown on the gravel patio yesterday.
Sigh. What an experience! What extended pleasure!! Months and months of bliss!!!
People! What are you WAITING for? Get yourselves an agave! NOW!!!