Agave americana: monster plants

Agave americana in bloom

Yesterday’s post was a macro shot of a tiny bee on an allium: today I’m stepping back to get something much bigger in the frame.

If you love gardening, I hope you can find time to check out The Frustrated Gardener’s blog – he’s one of my firm favourites. Today he shared a post ‘Agave Aggravation’ with must-see pictures showing how an English glasshouse has been adapted to allow an Agave americana to flower.

It’s a giant, monocarpic plant: after several years it diverts all its energy into producing a spectacular flowering scape which is fertilized by humming birds. Afterwards it dies, leaving only its children to mark where it once thrived. The plant takes no chances, multiplying from small offsets that form around the base and from thousands of cross-pollinated seeds that bounce down from the sky.  Continue reading “Agave americana: monster plants”

Artichokes and allotments

This weekend we were lured to a Yellow Book charity open day in a thriving community garden, Mossfield Allotments in Urmston, by promises of fruit, veggies and flowers, gardeners we could chat to, a brass band & all the cake we could eat for 50p per slice. Now, that’s a North West day out! You might call it entrapment for people of our ilk.

Artichoke crop

I loved this artichoke plant I saw in one of the allotment gardens, but I’ve had to crop it quite tightly as my iPhone’s narrow depth of field makes the background very distracting. The blue and turquoise supports at the top make a frame of sorts, though I’d magically whisk them away if I had the editing skills.  Continue reading “Artichokes and allotments”

A celebration of our gardening differences

Cactus nursery

We went to a meeting of the cactus society recently. My sweetheart wanted to find out more about succulents that survive outside in cold, wet climates, such as here in the North of England. Though we met some lovely, welcoming people, I couldn’t help observing that the presentation featured a lot of remarkably similar small, green spiky things.

So why am I posting this picture, taken earlier this year at a cactus nursery – Cactus King – in Texas? It’s to celebrate differences between gardeners, and our wild enthusiasms for particular genres of plants that others frankly find just okay. I might not be in any danger of going wild over cacti myself, but it wouldn’t do for us to be all the same, would it?  Continue reading “A celebration of our gardening differences”

Want quick results in your garden? Or are you a patient gardener?

Gertrude Jekyll Garden, Lindisfarne
A hundred year old garden, designed by Gertrude Jekyll at Lindisfarne and restored by the National Trust

Most industry research tells us that today’s gardeners expect instant results, particularly if they’re new to gardening. Not a problem: if you have the money to throw at a garden, you can almost certainly achieve quick results, if that’s all you aspire to. Just plant or pay someone to plant big, expensive plants – lots of them – when they are all in bud and just about to bloom.

Whether the garden will stay the same for long without intervention is another question! Continue reading “Want quick results in your garden? Or are you a patient gardener?”