The Luxury Of Slow

Agave pumila, a recent acquisition.  Agave pumila may be the slowest Agave of all--it is not known to have ever bloomed.  Annual growth is in the fractions of an inch, and its origins are obscure.  

I'll get back to Fling photos, but today I'll consider the slow.  It's not just the plants--I'm slow to go outside these past few days.  Typical late July weather:  mid 80sF  (~29C) means it is too hot to garden even when the sun dips low in the sky.  I've managed to get a few blocks up on the west slope, to redo the stairs, but not much more.  
And they need to be redone again.
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The 'Blue Glow' seedlings are painfully slow.  They haven't apparently grown at all since I put them into a raised bed.  At least they haven't died.  
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The Aloe capitata seedlings are double the size of the Agave seedlings, even though they are five months younger.  They are nearly 2" (5 cm) tall already.  Also now in the raised bed, they have grown, but 2" plants five or six months after germination--they can be considered slow. 
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Slow also are the remaining heavily variegated A. desmetiana plantlets.  Most reverted to the yellow-margined green parent.  The remainder, with considerable variegation, are slow.  As they revert to more green, they speed up.  This one has three leaves that strongly resemble 'Joe Hoak'.  I will try coring it in hopes of getting rosettes that are fully 'Joe' from that area of the plant.  The pair I tried coring last year didn't work out very well.  They might have been too small, and I didn't core enough to kill the apical bud.  Coring requires practice.  
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While on the subject of A. desmetiana, I was very slow in realizing a yellow companion, yellow with a slight touch of gold, precisely accents their beauty.  Even a mere Coreopsis 'Early Sunrise' creates magic.
Meant for each other.  Better late than never:
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A different kind of slow:  this Japanese Anenome hybrid was a give away at last year's Fling--more than a year later, the first flowers are finally about to open:
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My slowness can be cruelty:  I left these sweet Zephyranthes candida bulbs in the little nursery pot for far too long last year.  Guilt finally got them into the ground this spring, and they forgave me with these dainty flowers:
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So photogenic.  This photo turned out looking like Art Nouveau painted glass:
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I may have been cruel to the Zephranthes Zephyranthes, but Euonymous 'Chollipo' has been cruel to me.  I bought three of them based on their purported tall, narrow, vertical growth habit.  That was back in 2010.  The growth never materialized.  I gave up on them completely.  Then, of course, as if on cue, the narrow vertical growth appeared.  Plants can read minds.  
Four years of this, so I start reaching for the shovel...
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Within two months, this:
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Past seven feet tall now:
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But why so slow, Chollipo? 
A typical bare root rose here will bloom six or eight weeks after planting.  Not so with 'Ascot', which took seven months to produce flowers.  Slow. 
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Not everything has been slow this summer.  I planted this Iochroma 'Purple Queen' back in April when it was 4" (10 cm) tall.  It's now about 7' (210 cm).  Too subtropical for my garden, really, but it's for the hummingbirds. 
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Not every plant--or gardener--has the luxury of slow. 



  1. Everything's so hurried and fast these days, the good type of slow is a luxury. Enjoy :)

    1. Yes indeed. Too much rushing, not enough contemplating. Balance, balance.

  2. What a great theme for a post. I refuse to grow agave pumila because of its reputation for speed of growth. Mind you some of my other agave are not any quicker.

    1. On the other hand, no need to ever buy it a larger container.

  3. Your Zephrantus turned out really beautiful, as far as I know these are grown from bulbs?

    1. Yes, tiny little bulbs. It is in Amaryllidaceae. This particular species is a bit different from other Zephranthes in being native to boggy areas. There are 70 some species, some found in the prairies of the midwestern US. A very easy plant where the winter is not too cold.

  4. Slow in my garden increases a plant's chance of getting yanked or moved somewhere less visible (and hospitable). But I'm trying to learn patience. I love your Agave desmetiana - I put in one labeled "variegated" just last week but it has only the barest touch of yellow at its edges.

    1. Slow = less maintenance required. There's something in that...

  5. Some plants are procrastinators. They speak my language.

  6. Lovely, artistic photos as always, Love the A. desmetiana, coreopsis photo. superb

  7. I have a plant that's been the same size for 3 years and I'm just fed up with it. It really needs to get its butt in gear or hit the road. Your agaves would torture me. I'm patient but not THAT patient. But I could forgive the rose.


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