Things do not always go according to plans. Seasons and weather change faster than we can keep up. Many plants do what they want to do rather than what we want them to do. There is always compromise. It is a bummer that a unique agave is bolting now, and will eventually die, but it provided plenty of pups to replace itself with. It is a bummer that I must remove a productive elderberry bush before the berries ripen, but there are plenty more elsewhere. It is a bummer that two exemplary red maples may have died, but there are three more. The excess of recycled cannas is not a bummer though, but merely extra work.

1. Whale’s tongue agave was a splurge. The horticulturist who got it had been wanting to grow it for a while. However, two years later, it had a litter of pups and is now blooming!

2. The flowers are not even very pretty. At least the floral stalks are weirdly striking, and bloom slowly. Although monocarpic, it could take months for the original rosette to die.

3. Six big potted maples were installed temporarily last year. Three are red maple. Three are Norway maple. The red maples foliated before we made arrangements for irrigation.

4. Elderberries are developing nicely. These are some of the best. However, they are on a big healthy elderberry bush that must be cut back from a roadway before they can ripen.

5. Cannas are fun! I was pleased with an opportunity to recycle a bunch from a neighbor. However, this pile is HUGE! Well, I know what I will be doing this Saturday. Goodness!

6. These cannas bloom very nicely. Most are bright orange. Most of the rest are yellow. A few are red. Unfortunately, they are blooming in the big pile, unseen and unappreciated.

This is the link for Six on Saturday, for anyone else who would like to participate:


25 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: Bummer!

    1. Yes, but we expected it to live there for many years before bolting, blooming and they dying. However, some who work nearby are as impressed by the striking bloom as with the striking foliage. We are fortunate that there are more than enough pups to replace it with, as well as to share with those who have taken a liking to it.

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      1. Technically, they do not, although the primary rosette does. Truly monocarpic plants die completely after bloom. This agave generates pups prior to bloom, so that as the primary rosette dies, there are plenty others to replace it with. We remove the pups as they develop because they look silly so crowded together below the primary rosette. If canned individually, they develop very symmetrical form, rather than leaning away from others. One of the symmetrical pups will replace the original specimen when it finally dies and the last pups are removed.

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    1. Well, not exactly. Like the landscapes, the buildings are compatible with the surrounding forests. We removed larger and bolder agaves elsewhere, but thought that we could sneak this more subdued sort in. It is not so easy to get away with while it is blooming! Initially, it was one of those ‘trophy’ plants, that was intended to be something very different within the larger landscape. Between the paired arborvitaes and in front of the stone chimney, it really was striking, and still is, but fits in about like a Brancusi sculpture in front of a Victorian home.


    1. Oh, that agave would be unhappy there (I think), and cannas are likely common enough. Would you like me to send some canna seed? I do not have many of the interesting sort, since I collected seed from those that I want to grow as vegetables, but I might have something of interest.

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    2. A cursory inspection of the canna seed that remains here reveals that they are rather mundane. Canna edulis, which is grown as a vegatable, gets about three feet tall, with more open foliage and ribbony red bloom, on stalks that tend to lean. It is not exactly a pretty sort, but is genetically stable. Canna musifolia gets so tall that I must bend the canes over to deadhead them, with ribbony red bloom that is similar to Canna edulis. Although the bloom is not much to brag about, the rich green foliage is appealing. I do not know how genetically stable it is, so can not predict if some of its progeny might bloom with other colors, or if their foliage might be bronzed. (I just gave away seed from another of the same species, with orange bloom and mildly bronzed foliage.) Canna indica (hybrid), which is also known as Canna X hybrida or Canna X generalis does not produce much seed (because of hybridization), and is not genetically stable. There happens to be about a dozen seeds from a cultivar with simple green foliage, rich red bloom and short or medium stature. Genetic stability is questionable. Of the seed that remains here these are the only seeds from a specimen with large floral structures, rather than ribbony bloom. I can send any of this seed if you like.

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      1. Only Canna indica? There are only about a dozen seed. I am sorry that there are not more. I will get them into the mail within the next few days. I am sorry that I did not do it already. I got behind schedule on Monday. I have not checked my email yet, but will do so to get your address.


      2. Since there are so few seed, and since the others are either too tall or too unimpressive, I will watch for more seed on the more flowery ornamental sorts later.


      3. Incidentally, although I do not scarify Canna seed, they supposedly should be scarified. I do not want to scarify them prior to sending them, since they should be sown shortly after scarification. Most people simply use sandpaper to wear through a spot of the hard exterior.


    1. Agave are not easy to work with. They were a fad in about 2009, and so-called ‘landscape designers’ were putting them into situations where they did not fit, such as in parkstrips between sidewalks and curbs. They used Agave that grew wider than the parkstrips! We were careful to not do that, by installing an Agave that stays relatively compact. It has been surprisingly popular, and those who work nearby were asking for pups before the pups appeared.

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    1. Cannas have been fun! I am so pleased that they are so popular with the neighbors. I installed MANY of them into one of the landscapes just today. There was a trash can full of the yellow sorts left, and two trash cans full of the orange sort left. What the neighbors do not claim will get canned on Saturday or Sunday. They seem to grow just as fast in cans as in the ground, and are more ‘presentable’ with fresh new foliage on them.


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