I am the reluctant and sole owner of this giant agave. Armed with vicious thorns and weighing plenty, it is an incredible ordeal bringing it out of the greenhouse-never mind trying to decide where to summer it. Mark does a great job of wintering all my clients tender plants, but this one makes him grumble.
Mark’s staff person, the other Mark, is smiling here, but please notice the sunglasses, and the heavy duty gloves. This plant is like trying to handle a blue heron that has its leg caught in a rock (that’s another story for another time) or some other similar disaster. At this moment, no one is thinking about how beautiful it is-only how deadly it can be.
Mark shows up with a long sleeve canvas carhart jacket-never mind that it is 78 degrees. Rob is poised as if an unexpected left jab may be coming his way.
Finally these three slide it down the ramp, and off the truck. It sat for a week in the middle of the driveway, marooned. I finally said to my landscape superintendent Steve that it might be good to heave the thing in the dumpster, and be rid of it. Steve, who is predictably unpredictable, was indignant that I could even think of chucking an old plant as beautiful as this one. The “beautiful” part of his jolt of a statement set me thinking in a different direction. If I did indeed think it was beautiful, then where would I put it?
I asked Steve to haul it home for me. I did not dare go to photograph that planting scene; sometimes Steve is better left alone. The tuscan rectangle, whose planting scheme had been bedevilling me for weeks-the perfect place for a giant, homeless, but very beautiful agave. Do these two not look made for each other? The big design issue here is about the seeing. Seeing the beauty in a plant or an idea can inspire lots of good. This massive and unwieldy pain of a plant is now the star of its own show. A lot of plants, clients, schemes, garden arrangements and ornament are loaded on my design bus. All of these things need the right seat on that bus, on any particular trip, to shine. This is an issue which is mine to successfully solve.
Edward de Bono put it much than I ever could. “We may need to solve problems not by removing the cause, but by designing the way forward even if the cause remains in place.”