The sacred Agave plant is our namesake and talisman. Agave Paryii is the Southwest New Mexico variety of plant that grows in many arid parts of the world. The common name, Century Plant, implies that they live for a 100 years before perishing in a magnificent display of colorful blooms on a long stalk. We haven’t watched any of them for a century, and we understand that it actually takes 20 to 40 years for the plants to mature and bloom.
Agaves were used for fiber and food by the Apaches and other Indians. The heart is bitter when raw, but can be made palatable by baking.
Our property is covered with Agaves, but only a few bloom each year. Some years we see as few as five blooms on our 21 acres. Other years we see hundreds of blooms. What causes the difference? The weather now? The weather 40 years ago?
The stalks of blooming plants burst out in May and grow very rapidly, sometimes a foot a week. They can reach a height of 15 feet. They blossom in the summer and by late fall the plants are dead. In the process the stalks sometimes go through color transformations including greens, yellows, reds, and oranges. The blossoms fall off and the plants gradually dry out and turn brown. By December they are ready to be cut down and decorated as Southwest Christmas trees. Left in the landscape, they stand as dark skeletal shapes for several years before falling and returning to the earth.
“There is so much magic to be found at every turn. It is a perfect place to rest, renew…and return again – which I have twice now!” Angel W.