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LAPD HQ: Arresting Agaves

March 30, 2012


Enjoying lunch across the street from the LAPD (Liliyah’s; decent Singapore curry noodles with pork) I happened to look out of the window and see these spectacular gold agave stalks. Unlike the Mr. Big produced by the Rancho’s agave attenuata (pics here), these upstanding examples are of the remarkable agave vilmoriniana. Also different from Big’s stalk, these agaves eschew a lazy arc in favor of a much more, er, strident presentation. Agave vilmoriniana has always been a fave, what with its thickly sinuous leaves that have earned it the nickname ‘octopus agave’ … but seeing it now, adorned with these jutting and super-tall stalks, it’s taken the top spot on my list …


There are four of these amazing stalks along the 2nd Street side of the LAPD main building, and they must be at least 15- to 20-feet tall. Almost as amazing as the stalks themselves, though, is the fact that no one sitting on nearby benches, or walking their dogs in the de-facto dog park in front, is taking any notice of them! It’s all I can do to run out of the restaurant to get a good look, but decorum (I’m not eating alone) prevents it. I have to wait until the following morning to take in their golden glory …


Moving in for a closer look I realize that I’m not the only one who’s stopped by for early-a.m. agave stalk appreciation. A very active little hummer is orbiting one of the stalks with obvious relish …


… and why shouldn’t he? On this one stalk alone he’s found enough sweet satisfaction to last all day. I know I’ve complained in the past about the lack of care shown for the LAPD’s landscaping, but I’m happy to report they seem to have resolved most problems. Still some linger: beds are still overplanted and choked with weeds … and worse of all, a grove of  once-gorgeous Desert Museum palo verde trees seems to either be falling spontaneously — tree by tree — or being uprooted. Here’s a picture link showing the palo verdes their first spring at the LAPD … standing tall and in spectacular bloom … Sadly, this year none have bloomed.

I’ll content myself for now with these agaves and their golden stalks, although it’s a contentment tinged with sadness … Like most, once these agaves bloom they will die. I hereby pledge to honor them with a visit every day before crossing the street and heading up to my office!

16 Comments leave one →
  1. March 30, 2012 4:24 am

    Arresting indeed–as are your photos!

    • reubix1 permalink*
      March 30, 2012 4:39 am

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  2. March 30, 2012 4:37 am

    They have some A. vilmoriniana where I work and they are so beautiful and tall and covered in bees and hummingbirds that I promised myself I’d buy a few at the plant sale this weekend. They’re also one of the few that seems to be resistant to the Agave snout nose weevils.

    • reubix1 permalink*
      March 30, 2012 4:41 am

      Gorgeous and weevil-resistant? I’m in love … I lost so many agaves last year I will definitely be adding some of these beauties in their fallen comrade’s places.

  3. March 30, 2012 6:58 am


    I have a question not actually related to this blog post, though the agave reminded me of my question. I am building a school garden with my students right now. Outside of one of the classrooms (unconnected to my garden) is a raised bed overflowing with aloe vera. I want to transplant some of the aloe vera into my garden both to have it in my garden and to prevent the aloe from choking itself to death in the raised bed.

    What is the best way of transplanting aloe vera? do you have tips on this?



    • reubix1 permalink*
      March 30, 2012 3:49 pm

      Well, Nisha, I’m no expert … but my usual tactic is to dig up all or part of the aloe I want to move or transplant. Then separate the plant where it seems to clump naturally (if not with my hands, with a knife or kitchen shears). Then just plant it where I want it. My love of succulents really does stem from the fact that they’re non-fussy and easy to grow: I dig a hole and plant them … when they get too big for their britches I dig ’em up and move ’em. Simple. Let me know how it goes!

      Here’s a youtube video of someone doing pretty much what I do, except with children chanting in the background and cars passing; charming somehow:

  4. March 30, 2012 7:00 am

    Oh! and i LOVE the hummingbird shots!

    • reubix1 permalink*
      March 31, 2012 11:23 pm

      You don’t know how long I’ve been trying to capture a hummer in a photo! … I think this one was maybe a little nectar-drunk and moving slower than most…

      • April 1, 2012 6:55 am

        These are one of my favorite bird species. The photos made me happy! I am glad to witness the success of your attempts to capture hummingbirds on film. 🙂 and thank you for the video! it is very helpful. 🙂

      • reubix1 permalink*
        April 1, 2012 1:46 pm

        Cool, glad you found it helpful, Nisha!

  5. March 31, 2012 11:39 pm

    I’m with you on the ease of succulent transplantation. I took a ton of cuttings to the RRFM at Fairmount Park this afternoon. Everyone is amazed that you can just put them in the dirt and they grow!

    • reubix1 permalink*
      March 31, 2012 11:52 pm

      Truly the most awesome plants to garden with … this is why and how I can use them as design elements so easily!

  6. March 31, 2012 11:59 pm

    Amazing garden photos, thank you for sharing. 🙂

    • reubix1 permalink*
      April 1, 2012 12:00 am

      Thanks! for reading and commenting …

  7. Vickie Perez permalink
    April 2, 2012 5:35 am

    So do love your pics… I’m always wishing that I could remember to take my camera. I’ve had so many generations of hummers here that they don’t always dart off when I’m watching them. But I usually notice them while I’m working on something else, So i’ll just enjoy yours. Those aloes are incredible… Do agree about succulents. The more I learn about them the more I like them.

    • reubix1 permalink*
      April 2, 2012 12:08 pm

      My policy on succulents now is: Just when you think you’ve seen it all, there’s more … and I have to love ’em for that!

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