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MarkbVet

Pindo and Trachy etc. in 'desert' garden Beaverton Oregon

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MarkbVet

A few pics of my front yard, focusing on a couple palms (Butia capitata, Trachycarpus fortunei), + large yuccas, large agaves.  The agaves are about as tall as I am,  the yuccas mostly taller lol.   The front garden view shows trunks of tall T. fortunei and a large Yucca schottii in background, with blue 733532112_GardenwithTrachyfortuneiandYuccaschottiiinbackground.thumb.jpg.4637235c1d96aa8d4b529c147c18bcfb.jpgAgave parryi in front, and A. salmiana var. ferox behind (large, dark green). 

Butia capitata (odorata), Pindo Palm.jpg

Pindo palm closeup.jpg

Agave americana var. protoamericana, 6 feet tall.jpg

Agave salmiana var. ferox.jpg

Yucca schottii with offset at base, & Trachy trunk behind to right.jpg

Yucca aliofolia variegated 8 feet tall.jpg

Yucca rostrata- 4 heads.jpg

Edited by MarkbVet
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Meangreen94z

Great looking garden! Thanks for posting

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MarkbVet
1 hour ago, Meangreen94z said:

Great looking garden! Thanks for posting

YW!  I'm on a corner lot; I heard that neighbor kids used to cut across the front yard to save time.   Not any more...   ;-)

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Allen

Looking good.  Great agave!

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teddytn

@MarkbVet Literally all the things I love. Palms, cactus, agave, yuccas. Just awesome, how long have you been working on that area? Your cylindropuntias look particularly good. Looks like imbricata, spinosior, is the smaller one whipplei?

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Chester B

@MarkbVet is that second last one variegated Yucca aloifolia?

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MarkbVet
3 hours ago, teddytn said:

@MarkbVet Literally all the things I love. Palms, cactus, agave, yuccas. Just awesome, how long have you been working on that area? Your cylindropuntias look particularly good. Looks like imbricata, spinosior, is the smaller one whipplei?

Thanks!  The garden was put in around 2004 ish.  I've got about 15 different cholla varieties;  those that may be visible include imbricata, spinosior,  imbricata var. viridiflorus (smaller with the fruits visible), whipplei varieties (short and lots of white spines), and a tall open-branching one (with burnt orange flowers streaked with brown stripes when it blooms)-- likely a hybrid of imbricata and acanthocarpa.  Oh, and also pencil cholla C. kleiniae with the very thin branches.   :-)

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MarkbVet
1 hour ago, Chester B said:

@MarkbVet is that second last one variegated Yucca aloifolia?

Yes indeed!  And the last one is Yucca rostrata, branched into 4 heads (not the Sapphire Skies cultivar though).  

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Paradise Found

Classic PNW desert garden, I like it.  Add some Mangaves to add more color. would be cool.  

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Chester B
8 hours ago, Paradise Found said:

Classic PNW desert garden, I like it.  Add some Mangaves to add more color. would be cool.  

For sure, and maybe a Brahes armata for good measure. 

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Trustandi

@MarkbVet I am jealous of your spikey garden, it is impressive. Do you protect your Agave salmiana? I lost my favorite Agave mr.ripple last year. 

 

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MarkbVet

Thanks!  I don't protect any of my desert plants, except a purple prickly pear that gets some winter rot if i don't.   It's so vivid colored (teal mostly, but purple if stressed) that I go to the effort.    The salmiana var. ferox (now re-identified by Plantdelights as  Agave X pseudoferox “green goblet” is hardy here, but when smaller it would get leaf rot that would knock back its size a bit in winter (hasn't done it in recent years, in part due to milder winters).  Same with my A. americana Var. protoamericana  which is nearly as large; both plants are now 5-6 feet tall.  Producing offsets like crazy too... invading my other plants lol.   Sorry to hear of your agave loss, not all of them are really hardy in zone 8 if really cool/wet in winter, even with good drainage.  I've got quite a few Agave species, but exotic yuccas are probably more tolerant of PNW conditions in general.  

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Trustandi

@MarkbVet are the pears from your opuntia edibles and good tasting? I have been searching for the replacement for my agave. I got the Agave americana, I guess this one is not as hardy as your Agave protoamericana?

 

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MarkbVet
1 hour ago, Trustandi said:

@MarkbVet are the pears from your opuntia edibles and good tasting? I have been searching for the replacement for my agave. I got the Agave americana, I guess this one is not as hardy as your Agave protoamericana?

 

Most cactus fruit is edible...but the ones from my Opuntias, though sweet tasting, are very seedy, not like the commercially grown Indian Figs which have large fruits with more soft pulp.   So, besides 75% of the fruit mass being very hard, inedible seeds, there's also the spines on the fruit capsule, which are naughty.  One would have to remove the spines reliably, then mash & strain the fruit to get strained pulp/juice..  could make juice or jelly from it I suppose.  :-)

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MarkbVet
1 hour ago, Trustandi said:

@MarkbVet are the pears from your opuntia edibles and good tasting? I have been searching for the replacement for my agave. I got the Agave americana, I guess this one is not as hardy as your Agave protoamericana?

 

Regular Agave americana may not be very cold/wet hardy.   The variegated varieties even less so.   Give it a try and cross your fingers... very good drainage, plus some winter protection from rain ideally, may give it a chance.  

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Las Palmas Norte

Now that's what I'm takin' about!

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Chester B

@MarkbVet I know you mentioned ocotillo in one of your posts.  I recently read that Sean Hogan had one growing well in NE Portland that came from a ponderosa pine forest in New Mexico’s Guadalupe Mtns.

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MarkbVet

Wow hadn't seen that, will be visiting his nursery again this spring so will look for it.  I suspect it's protected from winter wet, as Ocotillo is a desert plant that really doesn't tolerate winter moisture.  Cold, yes....  I've seen it growing in Sedona Arizona,  where it gets snow every winter.  But it seems to need summer heat to actually grow, and dies easily in wet winter conditions.  They sell Ocotillos full sized (7+ feet tall) bare-root with minimal root balls, in big box stores in Arizona etc...  wonder if Sean got a large one and planted it as such, in which case it wouldn't actually have to grow much.   Or is it a truly thriving plant??  Will check it out, I'll bet he's got it dry in winter regardless.  (if not, i want whatever cultivar he has!!)   He doesn't list it in his current catalogue of plants for sale.  

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MarkbVet
3 hours ago, Trustandi said:

@MarkbVet are the pears from your opuntia edibles and good tasting? I have been searching for the replacement for my agave. I got the Agave americana, I guess this one is not as hardy as your Agave protoamericana?

 

Agaves you might want to try would include Agave parryi (very hardy, not huge but pretty blue, see them in the foreground in my garden photos), or A. havardiana, similar to parryi but larger, fewer leaves, not giant but decent sized... Can get a pic if u want to see what it looks like.  It's supposedly non suckering usually, but mine produces a few offsets, a good thing since the original plant already bloomed and died once, just as my A. parryi have.    Or A. americana var. protoamericana or Agave X "pseudoferox' Green Goblet, if you want really large plants (eventually).  Plantdelights.com carries some of these, if they'll ship to your area.  Sadly, their selection of winter hardy agaves & yuccas isn't as wide as it was 15 years ago....and Yuccado is no longer around.  

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ShadyDan

@MarkbVet I have some Agave americana ssp. protoamericana growing in my greenhouse. They are doing quite well for me there, but just wondering if you could shed some more light on growing them in our climate. I've heard they are the best large agave for the PNW, but otherwise information about growing them here is hard to come by. I imagine put them in sharply drained soil and a warmer area for best chance of success? Have you noticed a difference in cold/wet hardiness from regular americana?

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MarkbVet

Definitely more cold/wet hardy than regular americana, though protoamericana doesn't get quite as huge.  It's probably more the cold than wet that gets regular americana to die; I've been surprised to see giant A. americana (even the less hardy variegated varieties) growing robustly on the Oregon coast, where it's cool, wet and foggy most of the time...but never freezes.    Inland, var. protoamericana (or pseudoferox 'green goblet') appear to be decent bets in zone 8 with wet winters.  Some winter damage if very cool/wet for long stretches, but they survive and eventually get large.   I don't protect mine at all, even when young, and they're out in the yard fully exposed, not near a building or in a rain shadow.  But I do have them in a south facing yard with no shade, 6-8 hours of sun daily when weather is clear.  And planted in elevated beds (10-12 inches deep) of heavily-sandy soil that drains well.  Ive got landscape fabric on the surface, with river rock over the top; this can add to reflected summer heat but i mostly do it to minimize weeding and keep moss down.   The garden has gotten crowded; weeding is now a religious experience-- don't fall down!   The agave pups pierce right through the landscape fabric, at least the plastic type, so offsets still happen.   To get faster growth I water every 2-3 days lightly in summer, plus fertilizer in the water.  I wouldn't need the fertilizer, except I did pure sand for this garden, to see if the great drainage would increase plant hardiness and add to types I could grow here.   It did great for 4-5 years, then everything started yellowing and running out of nutrients.   Should have done what I did at the prior house,  mixing 2/3 sand,  1/3 good garden soil.   They grew a bit better with that mix, still hardy, and didn't need fertilizing.   Another option, that I have tried at my office (where I also have a small desert garden) is just leaving the unamended heavy clay-like soil, and only putting a small bag of pure sand right where the specimen was planted.  So, it's sitting in a small clump of sandy soil, with richer soil all around.  So far, that's worked great too, the plants grow even faster with all the nutrient rich soil (prickly pears, chollas, and Agave parryi).  Haven't tried this with all my plants though, so for giant agaves i'd suggest doing the elevated sandy soil beds, 2/3 to 3/4 coarse garden sand, and 1/4 to 1/3 garden soil.  Interestingly, the agaves never showed signs of nutrient deficiency when the cacti did, even planted in pure sand.   

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Chester B

I've planted prickly pears right into clay and also nice garden soil - they're so easy they don't seem to care.

@MarkbVet you don't every use any grit in your soil?  I would be worried the sand would eventually just compact down.

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MarkbVet

It compacts a little, but water still pours right through it.  No grit otherwise-- but it has to be coarse drainage sand, sometimes sold as 'coarse garden sand'.  Yes some prickly pears tolerate heavy soils just fine, even in wet climates.  But not all do... so to grow all the varieties I have,  it's advisable to provide looser soil for drainage.   Otherwise root rot, or rot at the plant base may occur in less hardy varieties.  

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MarkbVet

@Chester B   ...with heavy soil, it always helps to have a sloped or elevated bed too, which really improves drainage.  Even prickly pears really dislike being waterlogged or sitting in a puddle during winter. 

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Chester B
50 minutes ago, MarkbVet said:

@Chester B   ...with heavy soil, it always helps to have a sloped or elevated bed too, which really improves drainage.  Even prickly pears really dislike being waterlogged or sitting in a puddle during winter. 

Totally agree.  I live on a hill and my front yard is all sand that the builder brought in.  My backyard is the native clay.  

People ask why my plants look good and grow fast.  I tell them "right plant, right spot" .  Knowing the sun aspect, soil type, amount of wind, etc for every area of your garden is the key.  All I do is plant them, they do the rest.  If they don't like the spot you usually know early on.

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MarkbVet
14 minutes ago, Chester B said:

Totally agree.  I live on a hill and my front yard is all sand that the builder brought in.  My backyard is the native clay.  

People ask why my plants look good and grow fast.  I tell them "right plant, right spot" .  Knowing the sun aspect, soil type, amount of wind, etc for every area of your garden is the key.  All I do is plant them, they do the rest.  If they don't like the spot you usually know early on.

Ah, don't be too humble.... you probably also fertilize, weed, etc, so you can take a LITTLE of the credit.  ;-)

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Trustandi
2 hours ago, MarkbVet said:

Agaves you might want to try would include Agave parryi (very hardy, not huge but pretty blue, see them in the foreground in my garden photos), or A. havardiana, similar to parryi but larger, fewer leaves, not giant but decent sized... Can get a pic if u want to see what it looks like.  It's supposedly non suckering usually, but mine produces a few offsets, a good thing since the original plant already bloomed and died once, just as my A. parryi have.    Or A. americana var. protoamericana or Agave X "pseudoferox' Green Goblet, if you want really large plants (eventually).  Plantdelights.com carries some of these, if they'll ship to your area.  Sadly, their selection of winter hardy agaves & yuccas isn't as wide as it was 15 years ago....and Yuccado is no longer around.  

I will look for the x pseudoferox one. I need a "On your face monster plant :evil:, build a cluster with agave ovatifolia 'frosty blue', and plus I need to get rid of my waterhoarding front lawn. I wonder if cistus nursery carry the pseudoferox.  I miss Yuccado, i got some palms and yuccas from them.

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MarkbVet

@Trustandi Yes Cistus is carrying more yuccas and agaves these days (& cacti),  lots of species that plantdelights & yuccado used to have (I suspect many of these came from those nurseries in the past).  I'd check Sean's current retail species list, both now and in spring-summer (on the cistus website) and you may find what you want.  Or, email him and see if he has some stock that's not listed on the main plant list.  If all else fails, let me know and I can get you an offset from my plant (it's invading all over lol).  Would want to wait until warmer/drier weather to do that.   Same with my A. americana var. protoamericana, I'm pulling and tossing offsets every year.    ~Mark

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MarkbVet
3 hours ago, ShadyDan said:

@MarkbVet I have some Agave americana ssp. protoamericana growing in my greenhouse. They are doing quite well for me there, but just wondering if you could shed some more light on growing them in our climate. I've heard they are the best large agave for the PNW, but otherwise information about growing them here is hard to come by. I imagine put them in sharply drained soil and a warmer area for best chance of success? Have you noticed a difference in cold/wet hardiness from regular americana?

If your plants are big enough to produce pups, I'd suggest planting some of those outdoors, then if some die, it's no major loss as the mother plant survives.

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Chester B

@MarkbVetDo you ever get A. salmiana var. ferox pups?  Or do they only flower and die?

My first time ever to Portland I randomly drove up on the owner of Xera nurseries old house with the giant agaves on the hill - blew my mind.

 

-39eb98c6f4bc9890.JPG

Edited by Chester B
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MarkbVet

lots n lots of pups, same with my A. americana var. protoamericana.   Neither has flowered yet, after 15 years-ish in the ground...but as large as they are, with no recent winter damage to knock them back, I'm expecting flowering any year now.  If they do, expect lots of pics!  Even my A. parryi (smaller agaves) had 13 foot flower stalks that looked like small telephone poles. 

Edited by MarkbVet

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MarkbVet
20 minutes ago, Chester B said:

@MarkbVetDo you ever get A. salmiana var. ferox pups?  Or do they only flower and die?

My first time ever to Portland I randomly drove up on the owner of Xera nurseries old house with the giant agaves on the hill - blew my mind.

 

-39eb98c6f4bc9890.JPG

Nice ferox!  Not sure if the lower one is an offset or different agave.  

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Chester B
2 minutes ago, MarkbVet said:

lots n lots of pups, same with my A. americana var. protoamericana.   Neither has flowered yet, after 15 years-ish in the ground...but as large as they are, with no recent winter damage to knock them back, I'm expecting flowering any year now.  If they do, expect lots of pics!  Even my A. parryi (smaller agaves) had 13 foot flower stalks that looked like small telephone poles. 

If you're ever looking to sell any of the ferox let me know.  

How long did it take to reach epic proportions?

I'm sure you saw this one on the news a couple summers ago.  Guy was a gardener for the city.  His place is in SE.

A mountain agave plant's rare bloom is causing hundreds of curious Portlanders to leave their homes and visit the location. May 5, 2020 Beth Nakamura/Staff

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MarkbVet
23 minutes ago, Chester B said:

@MarkbVetDo you ever get A. salmiana var. ferox pups?  Or do they only flower and die?

My first time ever to Portland I randomly drove up on the owner of Xera nurseries old house with the giant agaves on the hill - blew my mind.

@Chester B   As I mentioned to @Trustandi i have pups of both Agave "pseudoferox green goblet" (aka salmiana var. ferox previously), and also A. americana var. protoamericana, both with nearly identical hardiness characteristics here.  Wpuld be willing to part with some of the pups in spring/summer when the plants will tolerate the trauma best.  Not looking to make a big profit from these; just time and hassle factor of harvesting, boxing up, and taking to post office to ship.  Say $10.00 + shipping cost?  As far as growth rate,  from small purchased plants, they took 8-10 years to achieve some impressive size; 15 years old now approx.   Some day when retired, I might start selling cactus and agave cuttings online as a small at-home nursery business, but I don't have the time do to that when I've got a busy day job as well lol.  

-39eb98c6f4bc9890.JPG

Nice ferox!  Not sure if the lower one is an offset or different agave.  

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Chester B

@MarkbVet That is more than fair.  I could always pick up in person, and maybe get a sneak peak at your garden.  Either way I'm good and will follow up with you in spring.

If you're at all interested in Sharkskin pups let me know, I'll have a bunch ready in spring provided we don't get any more cold.  They are a little more tender when small.

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MarkbVet

@Chester B  as I mentioned to @trustandi,  i've got a lot of A. salmiana ferox (aka currently called A. 'pseudoferox green goblet' pups, as well as pups of A. americana var. protoamericana.  Also a TON of A. parryi pups of different varieties (fatter blue green leaves, versus narrower powder blue leaves, etc)...  can part with some pups in spring/summer when they tolerate the trauma best.  Not looking to make a big profit, just cover hassle factor of harvesting, packaging, and running to post office to mail.  Say...$10.00 + postage?    As far as growth rate, took small new plants about 8-10 years to achieve some impressive size, now 15 years old. 

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MarkbVet
1 minute ago, Chester B said:

@MarkbVet That is more than fair.  I could always pick up in person, and maybe get a sneak peak at your garden.  Either way I'm good and will follow up with you in spring.

If you're at all interested in Sharkskin pups let me know, I'll have a bunch ready in spring provided we don't get any more cold.  They are a little more tender when small.

In person would be fine too, as long as you let me peek at your garden in return!  Could do a trade, pup for pup also.  I thought I had sharkskin, hybrid plant from plantdelights  ( (they now renamed it "Sharkskin Shoes' as they realized the sharkskin moniker was for a different cultivar that they don't carry).  But I may not have it...  the sharkskin is  a hybrid of Agave nickelsiae x Agave asperrima, and i'm pretty sure what I have was a hybrid of some large agave x victoria-regina.  I'm sorry, due to the house fire, all my records are packed away, so I can't check what it is.  When I saw it at plantdelights years ago, I thought 'what the hell' and got one, thinking it would die, and it's lived for years, growing very slowly, but unique look-- very thick, very tough rigid leaves, and now has a few offsets even though the mother plant still ain't very big.  I think the hybrid I have is visible in the pic I posted of the blue Dasylirion, right in front of that sotol.  Does it look like yours?  Regardless,  if yours is winter hardy,  I'd do a trade!

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Trustandi

@MarkbVet sounds good. I would like to get some in Spring. I get some rooted aloe striatula if you would like. 

I wish I could take a peek at your gardens.  Hehehe.   

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MarkbVet

@Chester B I did plant one A. ferox pup at my clinic in an elevated planter, with sand at the plant base but regular soil below, great drainage though in the concrete planter, surface is nearly 2 feet off the ground. That plant has reached 2.5-3 feet across in just 4-5 years. 

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Chester B
1 minute ago, MarkbVet said:

@Chester B I did plant one A. ferox pup at my clinic in an elevated planter, with sand at the plant base but regular soil below, great drainage though in the concrete planter, surface is nearly 2 feet off the ground. That plant has reached 2.5-3 feet across in just 4-5 years. 

Ok slow grower than.  Here's a video of my agave from July, its actually grown a fair amount since then and has produced even more pups.  I bought it from Xera at least 4 years back, and I kept it in a pot the first couple.  I decided to plant it out and this is it's third winter.  I am surprised at how well its done, I actually wasn't expecting it to survive.  I had some other unknown agaves that all perished so I wasn't expecting much.

 

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