Although this could very well be a picture of me finding a new treasure at a favorite nursery, it's actually an illustration by David Catrow for a children's book called Plantzilla.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

A Package Arrives From Texas

If you follow Pam Penick's groovy blog, Digging, you know that Moby,  her Agave ovatifolia, aka Whale's Tongue Agave, bloomed this year.  Being monocarpic, it only blooms once and then dies after a number of years of growing an impressive sculptural plant. Another common name for all agaves is Century Plant because it takes so long for them to boom. (certainly not a century though.)  What an impressive show a large agave bloom stalk provides as it grows as tall as a tree!  The bloom stalk produces hundreds of bulbils (small clones of the mother plant) that fall to the ground and root to continue  the cycle.  You can read about Pam potting up Moby's bulbils here.

On Monday, a slip arrived in the mailbox  letting me know that a package was waiting at the post office for me.  Because Tuesday was one of those 13 hour work days, I wasn't able to go to the post office until Wednesday.  A package in the mail is always fun but a package from a gardener is especially exciting.  What could it be?  Well, there was a beautiful card and cool gold-striped tissue.

In their own little nest were three rooted bulbils, "Moby's spawn."  I was so excited that I took them immediately out to the greenhouse.

And potted them up.  Here are Ishmael, Ahab, and Elijah with their feet in the soil.  

What a wonderful surprise to receive not one but three of Moby's kids.  Pam's Moby lives on through his spawn not only in her Austin garden but in gardens of lucky agave lovers across the country.  How fun is that?   Thank you again Pam!

While I was out in the greenhouse I snapped some other pictures.

Over the weekend, while filling the yard waste containers in our back alley, I found a discarded agave.  It could have been one that I'd given up on earlier in the year or did someone dump one out there? Somehow, the thing had put on some growth and was actually pushing out roots so it had to be rescued from the rain and potted up while I was playing with Moby's kids.

It may end up going back out to the yard waste container some year but for now, it has a reprieve.

The papyrus never made it outside this summer and put out huge stalks that nearly touched the top of the greenhouse roof  which is 20 feet tall.  It's chosen now to put out more growth.  Crazy plant.

This hibiscus will continue blooming for a while yet but will take a rest during the darkest months. I forgot to take a picture of the grocery-store camellia which, happy to finally be free of the scale insect infestation,  has been blooming for a couple of months now.

The tillandsia xerographicas bloomed and put out pups.  Now the pup on this one is blooming but the main plant shows no signs of dying.  Does  xerographica eventually grow into a ball composed of many individuals like some of the other tillandsias?

While the schlumbergera in the house has blooms opening, those in the greenhouse are a bit behind.

Lastly, I decided to throw the two potted collections of Lithops together in one shallow bonsai planter. These plants are growing on me.

You can see why a common name for these is Living Stones.  By the way,  if you water them in the winter, a common name might be Dead Mush or Expensive Compost.


  1. What a nice tribute to your own Moby spawn. Love the names. So appropriate. I think I'm going to name one of mine Queequeg.

  2. Ha! We both posted about Pam's gift today. I don't have names for mine yet. Next year I really have to look for some tropical Hibiscus. They have such vibrant colors.

  3. Mine are all potted up too, but unnamed thus far. Your names rock! (of course)

  4. You and Alison both posted this today...Moby's family grows and grows :-)

  5. How lovely of Pam to share the babies. Love the living stones. Can just picture them as mush!

  6. Naming your baby agaves is hilarious. I may be the only one here who doesn't know what those "chocolate truffles" around them are.
    The tillandsia xerographicas and pups in the bright tentacle planter is an awesome sight. Finally, I love the Lithops collection. You call bonsai, I call it miniature garden; either way it's too cool.

    1. The chocolate truffles are a hydroponic growing media that I found in bags at Ikea and thought it would make interesting mulch for potted plants. Glad you smiled. Gardening should be fun.

  7. Glad you mentioned the papyrus -- the one I have in a bucket of water (never got around to planting it) grew MUCH taller than the one in a bigger pot or the one in the ground. Hmmm...

  8. Moby's progeny are taking over the country! I received a package too with bulbils for me and 3 other SoCal gardeners, delivery pending. The living stones are wonderful too - I've yet to try growing those.

  9. Yay! I'm so glad to see they still look green and healthy after a week in a dark box. And I'm delighted to know they're so appreciated. I sent extras in case any didn't make it. ;) Love the names!

  10. I always enjoy seeing your exotic plants, Peter.

  11. They look so cute in their little blue pots! The might be a post here to see how far and wide the little baby Moby's have gone. Pam is sending us one via her sister who lives near us here in Houston. I was mentioning to Pam about the book the Botany of Desire and how plants got us to transport them around the world.

  12. That's so nice... Good job, Pam! Congratulations, Peter!

  13. Hurrah for packages full of plants!


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