I have taken many photos of my neighbor's plant since moving to Charleston. It is, or I should say, was an Agave Americana. Often called a Century Plant, the Agave Americana can take up to 100 years to mature, although it usually takes far less. It blooms only once in its life span after which it dies.
I have been amazed & fascinated by this plant & as you can see it has been a favorite of my grandchildren as well. Our neighbors told us the plant was over 50 years old but no one seemed to know for sure just how much older than 50 it was.
I took the blurry photo below from my window last winter during the freezing ice storm we had. Somehow this hot weather succulent, which normally are found in Florida, Mexico & South America, survived that bitter cold snap.
Then last spring I noticed a giant asparagus like stalk shooting up from the plant. Yes, the
fifty-ish year old plant was preparing to bloom.
It took most of the summer & fall for the stalk to mature & actually flower. The Agave Americana produces one of the largest inflorescences in the entire plant kingdom. Stalks can grow as high as 25 feet & can produce thousands of tiny yellow flowers.
I am not certain exactly how tall "our" Century flower grew but it was clearly taller than the three story houses surrounding it. And sadly just as predicted, the majestic old plant collapsed & died after its profusion of tiny blossoms fully opened.
I feel sad each time I walk by the now empty spot where the Century Plant once grew. I miss it. Yet I feel extremely fortunate to have witnessed this amazing & rare feat of nature.
They say that sometimes, but not always, a new plant will appear where the old one had been. So far there is no sign of one but I will keep watching & hoping.
It is wonderful to imagine that perhaps in another 50 years my grandchildren's children might fall in love with another giant Century Plant just as they had done.
Although I am not in France during the winter months, I do find, as I look through my photos, that certain images remind me of this season. In a simple peaceful sort of way that is. The silvery color & shape of an olive tree....
...or this sculptural relief, with what seems to be tiny pine trees growing out of the top, invoke this spirit for me.
There is just something about the shapes & patterns...
...& the greens of course that say something to me about this season.
So in the spirit of the coming holidays I am connecting to Paulita's
...from one holiday to the next always seems to move way too quickly for me. We took some lovely walks this past weekend with our out of town guests & saw a lot of contrasting colors.
Although this pretty holly & the funny snowball of a plant below do look awfully Christmasy & I know there are quite a few people out there who are already decorating & getting ready for the next big holiday,
I am just not ready.
Maybe it is because in Charleston the leaves have only just started to turn into beautiful bright fall colors.
The golden Gingko tree above & the red Maple below are at their peek right now.
So it is hard for me not to want to fill my pockets with pretty autumn leaves to take home & enjoy.
I still want to linger just a while longer in the glory of fall & thanksgiving.
But last weekends holiday flowers are starting to fade....
...while last years Christmas cactus is almost in full bloom.
So I guess I had better get with it & transition into the next holiday season right along with everyone else.
Having recently relocated to Charleston SC, it seems that I am now all over the map. I have left my home & studio in Boston for warmer climates but will continue to visit often. Summers are always spent in a tiny village in the southwest of France. So I am indeed between here & there. I am happy to have you follow along.