There are plants on this earth that look extremely alien or other worldly. In my 4 June blog, I featured the yucca, the blooms of which can look quite alien. But the process by which the agave (in the same family as yuccas) blooms is truly bizarre.
The agave likes heat. It can grow in desert, high desert, and tropical climates, and many of its species have subdued and lovely shades of verdigris, making them perfect elements for New Mexico gardens. Below is an image of the plant featured in today's blog two years before it evolved into its alien stage.
Because most agaves have many years on them before they arrive in a garden from their native habitats
- as many as thirty or more - one can never really know its age or when it will bloom. So when the bloom stalk appeared one day in a local garden around the corner, and continued to grow literally feet every day, we looked forward to seeing its progress on our daily walks. This image was made on 4 June. How much taller would it get?
Just 11 days later, on 15 June, I used a friend's height for scale (Robert says he's just shy of 6') demonstrating how much the stalk had grown.
Another 15 days later, it had gained possibly another four feet and the bloom pods were starting to reveal themselves.
Each one of these branched inflorescences will explode, exposing bright yellow flower parts.
The images below were made yesterday, another 16 days after the pods started to appear. The bloom cycle lasts 3-4 months, and happens just once in a lifetime. New agave-lets appear in the bloom bundle and fall to the ground. Under the right conditions, they may grow into new agaves. Which is the point, since, unfortunately, the agave has put its life energy into the process and then dies. I feel lucky to have witnessed its life cycle. As you can tell, this agave has not quite finished its presentation.
Numerous stamens are waving in the breeze loaded with pollen. The bees had already discovered the newly unfurled pods.
Hope all of you in the northern hemisphere are able to deal with whatever weather conditions nature presents this week. Thanks to Debbie & Steve, Marilyn G., TTT, Barbara F. R., Steve, Jean & Sam, and Lawrence for commenting this week. And thanks to Ann for growing and caring for this agave, and to Robert for giving the bloom stalk scale.
until next Monday,
a passion for the image©