Giving it up

March 19, 2021 – Agave blade

As we worked in Meg and Paul’s yard, removing the dead and dying plants that didn’t make it through the week-long freeze, we debated about the thorn-crested agaves (which we mistakenly called Spanish daggers back in the day) …

We had transplanted them a few years back from our Hill Country house, where we had more than a few to spare …

In fact, if you look closely at left side of the first picture, you can see some of the “pups” that made them so prolific. So yeah, they were sentimental favorites for sure.

But when I tried to cut off the freeze-dried blades at Meg’s, the results were far from eye-pleasing. Besides, I rationalized, they’re kinda dangerous around little ones, given the barbed nature of the edges, which hook back and can do some serious damage …

So the decision was made to pull them out. Although I didn’t have the heart to photograph them at the time, I wished I had. That’s when I got the idea to make a memory patch of a single blade.

I found some pale green silk and a scrap of hand-dyed cotton with a mottled color that reminded me of damaged foliage.

I folded and pressed the silk and “pinned” it to the cotton with my finest needles. Then I worked out a funky kind of blanket stitch that reminded me of the barbed agave spines …

So while I guess I’m glad the agaves are gone for now, I suspect there may be some pups hidden in the soil that may yet come up … ya never know.

16 thoughts on “Giving it up

    1. I’m not a fan of following stitch directions (although truth be told, that’s how I taught myself to stitch when I was a child) … but working out this stitch was extremely satisfying


    1. when we came to Texas in 2009 we had to learn a completely new world of plants (compared to our former stomping grounds on the East Coast from New York to North Carolina) … it is a great joy (and I’ll admit to some pride) that I can now greet so many of the wildflowers, grasses and succulents by name (I’m still pretty lame when it comes to trees, though)

      I do find that trying to stitch plants makes me look closer, consider their forms and ways of going … it’s a good practice


  1. Echo the others: that stitch is perfect! The close up photos of the plant were spectacular.


    1. Have to admit the close-ups were cribbed off the Internet, but I really wanted to show the barbs and my photos didn’t cut it


  2. Hi LA – sounds like a good decision regarding pulling the plants out – as you say those barbs could be very dangerous for little ones and eyes in particularly. Lovely memory patch to maintain the connection to the past. Go well. B


    1. the succulents are such beautiful landscape plants, and it’s wonderful that they’re natives … but yeah, pretty dangerous as I’ve been on the losing end of encounters on more than one occasion


  3. Like others before me I love that stitch! It creates the serrations so well and I can feel the barbs from here. The colours are good too – the warm and dry in the background (altho I know it was damaged foliage…) and a single leaf says it all. I am pretty sure there will be pups…agaves are very good at that. At least ours aren’t barbed!


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