Doug Jimerson

When Gardening Gets Dangerous

Squid Agave

Octopus Agave

In a previous life, I must have lived in a warmer climate. Otherwise, I have no clue why I’m so attracted to big tropical plants that have no business living in my Iowa garden. Take agaves, for example. I love these plants and have a collection of them that I must move to warmer spots in my house for the winter. Yet, I persist on getting new agaves every year. Last spring, for example, our friends at Monrovia sent me a gigantic octopus agave that weighs so much I can barely budge it. It makes an extraordinary container plant and caught the eye of everyone that visited my garden this summer. Trouble is, agaves, are not fun to move because most species have sharp, spear-like foliage. And, no matter how careful I am, I always end up with puncture wounds on my hands and arms (agaves eat garden gloves for lunch). I imagine it’s what wrestling a porcupine would be like if that opportunity ever arose. Anyway, I’m happy to report that all my agaves are safely indoors for the winter, including the giant octopus agave–the way it kept grabbing me I understood why they call it an octopus agave.

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