The King Has Fallen

February 2014:  Yucca filifera, one of the largest known specimens in existence, at the Huntington.
Yucca silhouette photo dgyucca3731_zpsd6f80b1c.jpg
January 2014 2015
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We think of trees as living on and on--but they don't.  I remember noticing rot at the base of the Yucca on our last visit, but didn't expect a stump on our next.  I hope the guardians cut pieces to root that will eventually be as big and magnificent as the king was.  The king is dead, long live the king.  
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Elsewhere at the Desert Garden, much was in bloom, mostly Aloes and Agaves.  The cacti, Yuccas, and Dasylirions, along with more Aloes, will begin their show from late winter into early summer.  
Still resting
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Caesalpinia cacalaco with its knob-studded trunk. 
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One flower to be seen.  More will follow.
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This Golden Barrel is possibly the oldest Golden Barrel in the collection, but it seems to still be in good health.
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An absolutely enormous Agave vilmoriniana.  It must have been six feet tall.
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Nearby, I spotted the variegated version, 'Stained Glass', one third the size, tucked into a protected spot between two Beaucarneas. 
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There's one prime bench at the edge of the Desert Garden, looking into it, where you can sit and watch the sun light up the golden cacti.  Mixed in with the cacti are blue Agave parryi truncatas.  A lovely combination upon which to meditate.
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Looking from the same bench to the left is visible a Fouqueria, its foliage dropped for the winter, showing off a wonderful caudex.
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Small plants...
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...and large.  
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The king has fallen.  Everything changes.  Everything. 

Comments

  1. I wonder if it will send out new shoots from the base?

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    1. Half the base looks quite solid, so it is likely--curious if they will allow it to sprout, or if they have plans to remove it and redo the area. Budget is probably an issue. Not cheap to remove a stump of that girth. I think it was planted in the 1920's if not earlier.

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  2. I really like seeing photos from Southern California during winter. Love all of the backlit cactus, sad when a really large and old specimen disappears -- but change comes with the territory, right?

    (That second caption should be "January 2015" I think?)

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    1. Thanks, fixed it. Yes, change is unchangeable.

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  3. I wonder how long it takes for an Agave vilmoriniana to reach that size. The photo of the backlit cactus (4th shot) is particularly beautiful.

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    1. That is a fast-growing species and I usually see it blooming at a much smaller size. Nice to see one that has reached magnificent proportions.

      Yes, 4th was my favorite.

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  4. Looks like there might be a few princes waiting. Beautiful photos!

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  5. I enjoyed this look at the Huntington. We're planning a trip to Southern California this spring, and I'm setting one day aside to visit the Huntington. I know it's going to be a thrill!

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    1. I go there quite often, and it is a thrill every time. You definitely need to plan to get there at opening and stay until closing--so much to see. Enjoy!

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  6. Thank you for solving the mystery. I stood and stared at that trunk, knowing what ever was there had to be massive.

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  7. So sad, but not even giant yuccas live forever :-(.

    I'm glad you pointed out that Agave vilmoriana 'Stained Glass'. I noticed it, too, tucked between the beaucarneas. So lovely. If I ever come across a nice specimen, I won't hesitate to snap it up. No clue where I'll put it, but I'm willing to dig up something I don't like as much to make room.

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    Replies
    1. It took me years to find a relatively decent one. Keep looking--there is one out there somewhere!

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  8. Gorgeous plants and wonderful light dear Hoover, sadly nothing is permanent in this world.
    xoxoxo ♡

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  9. I could handle seeing those in person...quite the Yucca filifera that went to the great desert in the sky! But a Golden Barrel with all those heads? I had no idea...I think they live 15-20 years here before the next big freeze wipes them out, so none like that.

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    1. That one there is six or eight feet tall!

      It's taken a while for me to realize (I get overwhelmed when there) that there are three or four mass-plantings of GBs, with one in particular far older than the others--dating back to the original collection--that specimen is in the oldest group.

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  10. I'm just beginning to realize that if you stay in a garden long enough, some plants will outlive their usefulness or reach the end of their natural life span or, more usually, conk out for no apparent reason. We can soldier on, meeting the challenge head-on or we can slink away to some new plot of ground. What do you recommend?

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    1. We neither of us have acres and acres of garden space, so head-on, right? :)

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  11. So sad to see the end of something that old and noble. What Mark and Gaz said - maybe it will re-sprout? Fingers crossed... I loved the photos of all the backlit cacti - absolutely stunning!

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    1. I'll be watching to see what happens with the Yucca. It should be interesting.

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