Friday, April 21, 2017

Blooming Junction: Agave report...a follow-up, after a difficult winter

Some of you may find this post disturbing. I understand. I however am thrilled I got to see these plants before they were all yanked and replaced. It's interesting to see how they responded to the extremes of our winter. Look at this as research, and if you want a refresher on how good this all looked last October, click here.

Friends and I visited Blooming Junction last week. If they thought it was odd I was photographing dead Agaves nobody said so, I guess they know my obsession runs deep. We'll start our Agave death tour in the display garden. I believe this is an Agave montana 'Baccarat'.

Or maybe I should say "was"... I wish I knew exactly how much colder it was out here, vs. in the city where I live. I doubt they got the ice we did (that's typically brought on by proximity to the Columbia River Gorge), but it was probably a great deal colder.

Maybe Agave havardiana?

I hope they let this one grow out of it. Of course that's assuming we eventually get some warmth. Who knows what this summer has in store for us.

I don't remember seeing this one before. I'm pretty sure it's an Agave parryi 'J.C. Raulston'.

Perhaps Agave ocahui? I have to admit I found this one strikingly beautiful, as is.

Agave bracteosa, a winner even out here!

It's the 'Calamar' selection — meaning it's solitary, no pups.

Agave ovatifolia, the center is still solid!

So now we venture over to the berm along the main road. This was full of Agaves last year, now only these A. ovatifolia remain, the others have been cleaned out.

Poor things.

Evidence of clean-up.

Will they let it grow out?

I just have to say I am still impressed a nursery in Western Oregon took a leap of faith and planted all of these Agaves out, knowing this might happen some day.

This was a freak winter. They could have happily grown on for many more years.

I hope they'll give them a chance, to see if they can recover.

I walked further along the berm, to see what I could see. This is a different Agave (I'm not gonna attempt an ID) and it's looking strong.

Not so much here.

Or here...

Well, we know what this one was.

Ugh. Thanks for trying Blooming Junction! Please don't give up...

Weather Diary, April 20: Hi 60, Low 43/ Precip .15"

All material © 2009-2017 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

33 comments:

  1. "Why's that woman taking pictures of dead piles of mush?" "Oh, that's just Loree." I think we're all pretty familiar with your obsession by now. Everyone should have at least one. In comparison to some of the agaves there, that 'Blue Boy' yucca almost looked good! I'm kind of curious how cold it got there, too. Some of those areas west of Portland get even colder than my area. Looking forward to planting out my little bracteosas this year!

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    1. I asked them how cold it got but no one gave me an answer. Glad to hear there are going to be Agaves in your garden! (you say little...you didn't grow them from seed did you?)

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    2. They were pups. I got them off a plant labeled 'Calamar', but it had a lot of pups on it.

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  2. I was really happy to see that healthy bracteosa! I did a lot of gasping at some of these pictures, though. I hope they don't pull out the ones that might bounce back after a nice warm summer. With all that gravel around them, I'm sure they'll survive.

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    1. It occurred to me the other day that I keep camping on the "nice warm summer" showing up eventually. But...what if it doesn't? I remember the year we installed the A/C we only used it a couple of days all summer long...

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  3. Poor agaves. Good for Blooming Junction for trying. Sure hope that your state of the agave post looks better!

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    1. I sure hope I get around to taking those photos!

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  4. What you said: hard to look at, but necessary to learn from it. What are the odds of you having another winter like the last one? I also hope they're not going to give up on the agaves that are still alive. They have more than proven themselves under extreme conditions.

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    1. I'm sure it's a hard call, after all they are a nursery and they must want their display garden to look its best.

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  5. It is the nightmare isn't it, that cold wet winter. Hopefully those that are left will come back, if is amazing how quickly they can recover, I often think they recover faster than tthey normally grow.

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  6. Well, for the sake of science, it was a good experiment. That's amazing to me that A. bracteosa survived, which isn't ever listed as the hardiest of Agaves. I've never seen one in person. Are the leaves thick? Or are they thinner than the other Agaves, and more yucca-like? I was at a friend's down our street and she has a large, in-ground Agave that is a pup from my A. parryi that met its demise at -20F during the polar vortex a few years ago. She's diligent about keeping it a bit dry and putting a big styrofoam box over it during the coldest parts of winter. I'm jealous, but not willing to go to all of that trouble! I need to head down and take a photo.

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    1. That's a good question (the leaves)...they are definitely thicker than a Yucca, and much more fleshy, but not as thick as your average Agave. Nice that your agave lives on! Yes please...a photo!

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  7. It would be nice if they left them to see what happens so they, and all you local gardeners, would have this info.

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    1. Maybe I'll write a letter asking them to!

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  8. That's pretty awful, Loree. I know you didn't get through that horrible winter unscathed but I hope your own collection fared far better than Blooming Junction's.

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    1. All in all yes, but if you were on FB or Instagram you'd have seen a very mushy Agave dug out from the garden yesterday. What a gooey mess!

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  9. Ouch, that hurts! I was just thinking along the same lines we learn much more from the plants we kill than from the ones that happily grow like weeds as soon as they are planted.

    Quite a few lessons in this post, but...oh, ouch!

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    1. Indeed. Although the ones that grow like weeds are so much more fun.

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  10. Yuk ! That is so sad , but we all take our chances when we push the zone envelope don't we ?

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    1. When I see Zone I think temperatures, this certainly drives home the idea it's about much more than just the number on the thermometer.

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  11. Oh! gosh! Enough to make you weep. I fear for what is left as I have removed the outer leaves of mine only to find more and more showing damage every week until not much is left. But as you say the winner is the A. bracteosa. Mine fared the best this winter too.

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    1. Good to know your A. bracteosa also did well. As Tim states above it's interesting, since it isn't listed as being particularly hardy.

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  12. a very sad sight! Here where I live I never worry about winter since is mild and scandalously short and the agaves love the harsh summer sun.

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    1. I want to live where you live!!!

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    2. Here in Argentina the spiky succulents and cacti are very popular for practical reasons: property crime is a very very big problem here and people use these plants to protect their houses from burglary. It's very common to see cacti planted along the base of fences and yuccas/agaves under windows, the danger garden is very real here!

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  13. That all is interesting. I got an Agave Ovatifolia 'Frosty Blue' from Blooming Junction last summer and it didn't make it as far as Christmas. I also had a Parryi Truncata that I kept in a pot but transplanted out to the garden. It was gone before the end of January. Live and learn.
    I also got a 'JC Raulston' with many pups from Blooming Junction last summer. It powered thru the winter like a trooper. I did loose one leaf that progressively rotted, and there are blemishes here and there. The pups I potted and kept next to my house under the eve and they look 100% OK, no blemishes at all. I'm glad I didn't try to "mainstream" my Agave Montana. It was happy in a pot in my coldframe. In the pot it will stay but it will be featured out in the rock garden when the weather is safe.
    Still it's good to know that 'JC Raulston' can take the cold and wet at the same time. Lot of Agaves can take the cold with no problems at all, but the drenching rains and snow and ice... not so much. So now I have to 'JC Raulstons' planted in-ground in the garden, but the other varieties are going to have be be in pots. Not a bad compromise.
    I await your 2017 state-of-the-agave report.

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    1. I am just baffled by your A. ovatifolia loss. And saddened. Glad your 'JC Raulston' is performing well. Mine all have spots, and I pulled/cut off several leaves the other day, but they are still solid and I'm sure once we get some heat they'll grow out of it (fingers crossed). Thanks for the push to do my report. I need to get on it!

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  14. A plant is a terrible thing to lose.

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  15. Hi Loree, I love your passion for Agaves, I suppose it is good that some species and individuals seem to be able to survive such cold winters. I think it's a problem when people want plants to look perfect all the time and if they leave them many will come back.

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    1. Thanks for saying that. I'm struggling with what to leave and what to pull in my own garden...

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  16. I'm impressed they planted agaves in the first place. It's sad to see them in such a state. I bet though.. they served their purpose well. Think of all the people who might not have ever seen an agave before if they had not been there. They took one for the team.

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