• James Treble

Too Good To Throw Away

When cleaning out the garden or renovating a house, too many plants are easily discarded ... I found these a few days ago on a footpath, ready for council collection and I quickly grabbed them, as I think I was lucky to drive past before somebody else discovered them.

Originally from Mexico, the Foxtail Agave [Agave Attenuata] grows easily in most climates but suffers with frost or snow, and where other plants in the garden will burn, this one copes well with direct sun. It grows fairly slowly but is easy to cut and replant when it becomes too lanky, and is also perfect for interior styling and indoor/outdoor rooms. Finally, they are quite expensive to buy, so I was over the moon when I saw so many, and grabbed all I could fit in the boot of my car.

With subtle grey/green and elongated leaves, this plant adds sculptural volumes to garden beds; it looks strong as a stand-alone plant as well as working with grouped planting! But most importantly it grows really well in pots too, making it perfect for apartments, balconies or a green addition to any interior space.

I cut off all of the old and battered leaves, trying to achieve a plant of a symmetrical looking shape, and was left with a longish stalk which will help keep it standing up right. These plants will sprout new roots within days but will immediately look as they have been there forever.

Because I was planning to plant them in pots, I cut the bottom of the trunk to leave just a 15 cm 'pole'. I already had a range of pots which are simple looking and big enough to be stable, allowing the plants to stand out. These work for a Mediterranean look, but depending on the looks of your room, Agave also looks great in spherical or colourful pots. And why not place them in the same pot with other small-leaf and flowering plants...

With each plant new soil went in the pots, then a good watering to let the soil settle around the plant. I chose to keep these small size Agaves in my sunny studio, until they grow a little and are ready for the garden.

And here they are, looking splendid in their new home adding a punch of green against my dark walls. With Christmas around the corner they would also make a great gift... I should have collected more.

James Treble is an ambassador for Planet Ark and firmly believes in sensible purchasing, recycling and creative re-purposing. James Treble has more than 25 years of experience in the Building Industry and Interior Design. His knowledge and experience in adding value to homes, through clever design & styling, is now published for all to learn and benefit from. Interior Design For Profit is now available online.


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