Friday Garden F*ck Ups: The Agave

Can you guess what the f*ck up was? May 28, 2008

Avert your eyes Danger Garden I’m about to talk smack about an Agave. It’s not a bad Agave, just poorly placed. Did we bother to google Agave americana or even “blue agave” before getting one off of craigslist for free? Nope. We may not have had iphones back then, but we did have wifi and a laptop and eyes that could see the big spines on it and babies growing all over the place. Matti was stabbed pretty bad just prying it out of the free spot. The previous agave owners had a baby that just started to walk and they were worried the kid would fall on it. If we were wise we would have planted it and it’s babies against the back fence as far away from humans as possible. It could have even acted like security fence back there with plenty of room to grow and multiply, but nope I thought this corner next to the patio with a ton of other plants jammed around it would be great. It was also under the white fly infested, nasty ass myoporum tree that dropped leaves and crappy little flowers YEAR ROUND in to the spikey center.

October 10, 2010

They grew up quick. Do you know how many times I was stabbed? Enough times to make Matti dig out the smaller guy. By then big momma started sending it’s spikey spawn out ten feet away in spots I didn’t want more agaves. I’d even get poked as I ripped the evil babies out buy their long roots. Those solar lights are also very embarrassing. What was I thinking?

This happened a lot…

We would post our extra succulents for free on craigslist and dump them out front. Eventually we had enough people who often checked for our abandoned succulents that we didn’t even need to post on craigslist anymore.

May 7, 2011

Was it smart to put a sweet pea here behind a big pokey agave? No. Notice how there aren’t any weeds in this picture? I got stabbed so many times. The leaves and tiny flowers of the Myoporum accumulating in the center and all over the succulents made me crazy. Our neighbor would let us borrow his leaf blower to blow them out every now and then. It was a mess despite the pretty picture above. If I could choose what I’d plant there now it would be a Salvia clevelandii. It smells great and doesn’t hurt.

October 10, 2010

Invasion of the spikes. That one big momma sent her babies all over the place and at first we let them grow and thought it was all cute. That one behind Max was probably even planted on purpose.

The agave carnage
Ripping it all out October 10, 2010

We did this frequently since I’m known to cram as many plants as humanly possible in to tiny places and then they grow. I got sick of the blue chalksticks pretty fast. They grew fast and got all gangly. It’s the succulent to plant if you don’t want people stealing it. Succulent theft in San Francisco is a whole different story, but you’d be surprised at how terrible people are or maybe not. Sketchy landscapers even steal big plants and resell them to clients. Did anyone think the variegated Aeoniums on Sunset Ave. (in the Sunset) would last in those median plantings? I haven’t driven down it for quite some time, but it looked like everything except for the chalksticks was stolen. There is a shorty version I like way more Senecio serpens that stays all cute and little.

We didn’t learn our lesson October 10, 2010

So we gave some away, but thought it was a good idea to move some to the MIDDLE of the yard where succulents we got bored of were sent to multiply with wild abandon. That sedum on the left got peed on by Max almost every day and thrived. Oh god the Sedum album in front of the questionable rusty dragon, I was ripping that out constantly. Another hideous solar light tucked in there, too. Zoe and I peeked over the back fence from 48th Ave. a couple years ago and it was an empty sand pit, but I do have a picture of it in 2015 looking sad down the page.

One year later… October 8, 2011

We finally got really serious about getting them gone and ripped out the one we put in the middle. By this time we had access to free/cheap cool plants from work and this state-of-the-art Agave removing hoodie.

Polka King and Agave spawn of Satan

Remember those babies I was bitching about earlier?

Our giveaway piles got bigger, October 9, 2011

We just dumped this in front of our place and it would be gone in a day. We probably could have sold it, but that was too much work. I always hoped it would give us good garden karma.

 January 11, 2015

I was looking through old pictures and found this one I took when Zoe and I were being nosey a few years after we moved. It’s since been ripped out completely or eaten by gophers. I’m guessing people took succulents with them. We sold a bunch when we moved but, I just cut them. They would have all grown back with pretty much no effort. Check out that terrible tree I was walking about.

My favorite Agave in SF December 17, 2011

This is where you should plant Agaves that get giant. I was in love with this giant variegated guy across the road from the dahlia garden, next to the Conservatory of Flowers. It was a sad day when I saw the flower spike of death starting. It bloomed a couple years ago.

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