Taking a cue from Barry, a friend from whom I have stolen several good gardening ideas, I bought this $20 metal side table from Ikea over the summer with the purpose of using it to display some of my 16 agave plants (or is it 17? Someone make me stop.). For months I scoured the thrift stores for something used, hoping to find a table that would match Barry’s, a quality, heavy metal base with what may be a granite top. Luck was not on my side so I gave up and opted for Ikea.
I chose metal because it is lightweight and can hold up to the weather outdoors. Unfortunately, I can no longer find the product on the Ikea website — they may have discontinued it. However, if you are interested in something similar, I also purchased this metal, white side table with the intention of painting it a bright (yet undetermined) colour.
The large inflorescence in the background of this photo belongs to Agave parryi, an agave that can be hardy to -18C (according to “High and Dry: Gardening with Cold-Hardy Dryland Plants” by Robert Nold), depending on the growing conditions. Recently, I have been learning about some of the hardier agaves and was pleased to see a few at the Denver Botanic Gardens that were not only over-wintered outdoors, but in bloom.
Oh how I dread this time of year.
It’s cold. So cold. I am a wimp. The days are growing shorter, and darker. My hands are like ice cubes almost all of the time. The days of fresh tomatoes and basil are coming to an end. Sweaters, warm socks, and months of dust are coming out from the back of the closet. My book manuscript, photos, and designs are due soon.
It’s getting cold enough at night now that most of my cold sensitive houseplants need to come back inside for the winter. This process takes time. Lots of time. It involves a lot of repotting, shifting, and rejigging my haphazard indoor growing situations (I can’t give these homemade contraptions a more formal description) to make room for my most beloved plants.
Now is the time when I am forced to make decisions about what stays and what simply can not be shoved into a window or underneath a light. Just how did I end up with 10 agave plants? I often wonder if the local cops have looked up at one of my south-facing windows and considered what goes on there. Surely no one would bother to put forth so much energy, time, and money into growing plants without a street value?
Davin jokes that I need a plantervention. Either that or more space and bigger windows.
One thing I do like about this time of year is taking the time to appreciate the great plants I am growing and seeing them in a new light after they’ve had months replenishing outdoors.
Over the weekend my friend Barry opened his garden up to public viewing and for something special, brought most of his impressive agave collection down from a third floor balcony and into the yard for viewing. It’s not just that Barry has assembled this collection, but that he grew many of these large plants from seed! Perhaps not such a difficult feat in a southern climate, but here in the North that means years of shifting spiny plants indoors and out, and months of coddling under lights and in sunny windows through the winter.
I walked around the table with my cellphone and shot a little video of the plants. If I had to choose a favourite, I think it would be the one that has black leaf margins and spines. But only under duress since there are several others that are just unbearably pretty. The white one in the centre of the arrangement is pretty impressive too. And the little one with the very thin leaves….