Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Austerity and Opulence

In the Spring and Summer this year I shopped at two nurseries that gave out Rewards Dollars -- coupons basically -- that were redeemable in the holiday season. One was Swanson's in Ballard, and the other was Watson's Nursery in Puyallup. Today, December 8, was the first day to use the coupons at Watson's.

So around lunchtime, I headed over there to see what I could see.

Watson's is one of the biggest nurseries in the South Sound area, and they still have quite a lot of shrubs and trees out in the nursery area. Also, plenty of Heucheras and Hellebores and Ornamental Grasses on the Perennials tables. But I was actually looking for houseplants. I've been on the look-out for a while for a really frilly Echevaria. Not any specific one, just one with lots of color on the edges, and lots of frills. They had plenty of nice succulents, but nothing that just jumped off the table and into my cart.

This was bigger around than my head, but still didn't tempt me.

They had lots of interesting Cacti.
Then I found this.

An Agave vilmoriniana. It jumped into my cart in the time it took me to read the tag. It's not hardy here, but I just love its form. Well, maybe not the form of this small one, but I'm hoping it will get bigger, and those wonderful tentacled arms will start reaching out to grab unsuspecting passer-bys. It does have one arm that's been amputated halfway, but then I also found another one, with a mama and a pup. So I snatched up both pots, for $8.99 apiece. That way, if I kill one, I'll at least have a spare.

There was plenty of other interesting stuff to choose from too.

For a spare $350, I could have had this strange and wonderful creature.

Alluaudia ascendens -- way too big and too scary for my house


I also picked up two Burgundy Ice Dyckias, and a flowering Aloe.

Aloe flower, there were several flower spikes actually.

But then I spied this!

Agave utahensis -- Cool stripy arms, and I can plant it outside!

And this!

Agave scabra

Three pups here, and two more on the other side of the pot -- oodles of spares

The tag said it was cold-tolerant, so we'll see. All the info online says hardy to Zone 8b, and I'm maybe zone 8 if I believe the new zoning. So my plan is to put it in the ground outside and see what happens. It's going to spend this winter indoors, though. It was $25, but that's for 6 of them! I could have gotten one online for $15, but shipping would add more to that cost. So I put the Aloe and the Dyckias back.

Was I really going to go home with nothing but Agaves?

Why, yes.

In fact, I was quite tempted to buy more, but the rest were most definitely not hardy.

Agave bovi cornuta

Agave zebra

I had reached my quota. I had $17 worth of Watson's holiday coupons, so I got $46 worth of plants for $33.

That's the end of the austerity portion of this post. On to the opulence. On the table right next to all the succulents was this bunch of fancy-pants ladies.

Ooooo! Aaaaaaah! I bought two orchids two years ago. They haven't flowered again, and are just hanging on. Talk about divas.


  1. Looks like you had a productive trip to Watsons; what a fun place. Orchids do seem pretty divaesque. I got my first ever orchid as a gift in September - the blooms are gone but it's put out two new leaves. If it blooms again, great; if not, it'll make beautiful compost.

  2. You go girl! I am so excited about all of your agave purchases and can't wait to see them grow grow grow!

  3. I have three orchids, one is finally putting up a flower stalk...after two years. Just amazing.
    I like the architectural strength of agaves.

  4. I have random luck with orchids, but no idea why sometimes they rebloom and sometimes not. I thoroughly enjoyed this nursery visit.

  5. I was really attracted to the Aeoniums after visiting San Diego last summer, and bought a tiny one in a pot, but find it hard to keep alive. My orchid that has held on the longest has tiny blooms faithfully every spring, Maxillaria sanguinea. Congrats on all the agaves.

  6. Those agave pics gave me a serious case of jealousy and envy!


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