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V-Day: Hooray

February 13, 2015

Growing, showing!

Today’s Friday the 13th, but I couldn’t care less. It’s tomorrow, Valentine’s Day, I care about. Reading this, however, you must not be misled into thinking that I’m a romantic. I do not favor hearts chock full o’ chocolates, except as fodder for binge eating. And speaking of emetics, I have no affection for stuffed animals, pink cards or candlelit dinners either. So, if I hate all the usual Valentine tropes, just what is my interest in the day? I love V-Day because I see it as the first real sign of spring … It’s usually about February 14th that I begin to notice changes in my garden, signs of growth, renewal and lots more color. This year I received another sign of that growth when the fun guy who lives at the end of our block rolled down his car window and shouted, “Hey! Nice phallic symbol!” … I was standing next to the plant with my camera at the time so I knew what he was referring to. He didn’t hear me reply as he sped off, “Thanks, which one?!”


You may remember the post before last (click here) that featured my large agave and its brand new flower stalk? Well, that’s it in the photo above; as you can see it’s lots taller two weeks later and it’s got new bud-tipped branches. I don’t think it’s yet at its full height … but it’s not alone.


My octopus agave has suddenly equipped itself with a blush-inducing pink flower stalk on the 14th Street side of the Rancho. Always a stand out — what with those undulating arms — this agave now really seems to be of the sea floor. I can’t wait for the bloom to open!



Not to be left out, the Rancho’s Redwood Avenue rear area also features a huge stalked agave. Although this specimen isn’t nearly as photogenic, it’s equally as large in every respect as my favorite at the top of the story. Everyone who sees them asks the same question: Will these plants die once they’ve bloomed? I always give the same answer: Probably they will, although I hope not. At least not before the (humming)birds and bees have had their fill … That whole “love something, let it go” thing is never easy.

Happy Valentine’s Day!



I happened to be on Pinterest the other day and I saw that someone had pinned this photo of the Rancho’s front yard in 2011 … It took me a minute before I realized that in the foreground, next to the big red rock, was the agave that has stalked so spectacularly on the corner. Look back at the first photo in this post and you can see that it now completely overshadows big red, and is taller than the African sumac tree next to it. That I’ve been documenting the Rancho’s garden — almost inadvertently —is truly one of the best things about having this blog.

20 Comments leave one →
  1. Guida permalink
    February 14, 2015 3:13 am

    As always so inspiring……You are motivating me to keep simplifying (I know that is hard to believe of me, ha)….so happy to once again see your beautiful front garden….Happy V-Day to you and Paul..

  2. Vickie Perez permalink
    February 14, 2015 5:19 am

    It’s so lovely to see the growth and blooms that spring gives us. I’m going to have to do a drive by to see these in person. If that’s ok? Can’t wait. As ya know I don’t have much that large.

    • February 14, 2015 6:00 am

      Yes, please … just email the day before so I can be sure I’m not out! 😉

  3. Vickie Perez permalink
    February 14, 2015 6:03 am

    Thanks! Will get back with ya on the when.

  4. February 15, 2015 1:45 am

    Happy Valentine’s Day! Your garden (then and now) is inspiring as ever. Also, thank you for writing (four or five years ago? Time flies) about the Jurupa Mountains Discovery Center Aloe Walks — I went on last week’s walk with Buck Hemenway, and went back today not so much for the V-Day walk as for the plant sale afterwards. Ay, ay, ay, did I ever find some nice aloes and agaves, at great prices! The Center has a new director, and improvements are in store, sounds like. Thanks again, and have a wonderful Valentine’s weekend!

    • February 15, 2015 2:30 am

      Oh, very cool Luisa! We didn’t make the Aloe Walk or sale but it’s good to know that the center is alive and kicking … and improving. happy V-Day!

  5. February 16, 2015 7:42 pm

    OK ….since my name is Valentine, I have to wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day also. And no, my birthday is not Feb. 14.
    Your Agaves are so beautiful. I wish I had room for at least one, but my jardin is too small. Most of my plants are helliconias, but they are also pretty. I’m anxious to see the octopus agave in bloom.
    Love your reply to the guy from down the street from you. LOL

    • February 16, 2015 9:04 pm

      I’ve never met anyone named Valentine before; very pretty. Speaking of pretty, helliconias are gorgeous … lucky you!

      • February 16, 2015 10:23 pm

        Now you have….I was named after my aunt. I’m not that fond of it which is why I just use Val.

      • February 17, 2015 12:14 am

        It’s amazing how names can cause us to react … I was the first born boy in my family — which would’ve made me a junior in most Latin families. And I don’t know why my mom named me Reuben. Even the spelling is odd for a Latino. Still I’m sooooooooooo incredibly happy that I was not a junior, I do not think I could be a Pete ever. If I’d been named Pete I think my whole like would’ve been different, and not in a good way! 😉

  6. February 19, 2015 3:42 am

    We are having a lot of snow (not a fraction of what N.E. is getting) , and the morning lows are hovering around 0 degrees F, so I’m GREEN with envy over your warm climate.

    • February 19, 2015 4:39 am

      Whoa! I cannot even imagine those temperatures … You have my sympathies, JR, bundle up. Here’s wishing you an early spring!

      • February 19, 2015 12:29 pm

        Thanks! The local newscasts are giving us a countdown to the first day of spring. Today’s HIGH is going to be only 6 degrees.

      • February 19, 2015 4:34 pm

        6°— How is that even possible?! ;-(

      • February 19, 2015 4:44 pm

        Catch a flight to the Midwest today and you can find out! :/

      • February 19, 2015 5:26 pm

        Um, not gonna happen! Paul’s brother is in Chicago and has been sending photos that caused my teeth to chatter, so I’m happy to take your word for it!

  7. February 21, 2015 4:23 pm

    I remember that grouping of pots in the Pinterest photo — maybe they’re still there, hard to tell in the first photo now, behind that giant blooming agave. So much fun watching the Rancho evolve.

    • February 21, 2015 4:56 pm

      Hey, Denise, that grouping of pots went at my first big sale … happily I can visit them in their new home; the benefit of selling to friends and their siblings.

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