Some time in either the late 70s or early 80s mum gave me an agave. I popped it into a side garden out the back and it just sort of grew and grew and kept having babies until there was quite a spread of them.
One day in 2007 I noticed something fuzzy emerging from the original plant:
Aha!! Not seen this before. Wonder what it is? Soon after it had grown somewhat. That's our little Hyundai Getz I can see lurking down the driveway.
It continued to grow, ever upwards:
The old building in the background has since been demolished. It had been a garage which we didn't use so we'd stripped off the roof and cladding and left the frame. We grew vegetables and other plants in there for several years.
Eventually this spiky thing began to bend over as it got heavier and then dainty flowers began to appear along its entire length:
I took a photo of Phil standing underneath the spike to give an idea of how large it was but I took it at a bad angle as it makes poor Phil look rather dwarf-like. He was about 168cms (5'6") at the time which gives a good idea of the size of this flowered spike. (We both used to be 5'7" but have both shrunk and are now 5'5"... after my hip ops I actually grew a centremetre or so which was good).
You can see by the number of plants in the bed just how many 'babies' the original plant had. Then the spike began to gradually die and with it the plant that had given it birth. Apparently that happens when an agave flowers. The plant gives it life to produce this wondrous flowery spike and then is no more. A few tiny agave plants also had tiny slower spikes which only grew a few inches and died off. You can see in this photo where the flowers are turning brown even though the tip of the spike still doesn't have flowers on it. Difficult to see the end of the spike in this photo but it nearly reached the ground (in the shadowy area):
Eventually we had about 30 agave plants which were transplanted into the original bed with many being potted. We have given several away over the years and recently gave a friend some plants to sell at a fete. I have been told by our lovely house cleaner Jenny that the very large agave are worth up to $100 each in some nurseries. Jenny has two of our 'baby' agave to plant in the garden of her new home she has just built.
This is the bed of agave now. About a dozen plants (my how the babies have grown) and not a flower spike in sight. Wonder how many years before another one appears?
The plant you can see on the left is one of those skeleton bushes. I have no idea what they are called but they have a rather nasty milky substance in them. Our hairdresser gave us a small piece a couple of years back and now it is nearly as tall as the 6' fence behind it.