A botanical spectacle in an Aldersbrook front garden has been the cause of much excitement, says Alice Batsford, proud owner of the Aldersbrook Agave
My husband, son and I (and now joined by our newborn daughter) moved to Aldersbrook just over a year ago, and the garden was one of the first things that caught our attention. The people who lived here before us were very green-fingered, especially when it came to growing more unusual, tropical plants.
The Agave in the front garden was impressive back then, but over the last few months has become a real spectacle in the area. Over the course of a week, it suddenly sprouted a spear and since then has grown progressively taller, now standing almost as high as the house with some large yellow flower heads.
Agaves are usually found in North and South America, Mexico and the Caribbean. Given the weather conditions of where they are usually grown, they are rare to see in the UK – especially in flower.
They are monocarpic, meaning they only flower once in their lifetime (usually when they are between 15 and 20 years old) and will die after flowering. They are a distant relative of the asparagus family, which is not surprising when you see the stalk of the flower head. The sap can also be used to make tequila!
We’ve had lots of local interest with people knocking on our door to ask about it, and being opposite the primary school have overheard lots of pavement conversations between parents and children – so much so I put up a little sign to explain what it is!
It’s sad to think that because it uses up so much energy in flowering it will then die, so let’s enjoy the flowers while we can – the bees certainly are!
The Aldersbrook Agave can be seen opposite Aldersbrook Primary School on Ingatestone Road.
For more information on Agaves, visit wnstd.com/agave