Curator’s Column

Pollinating plants, growing succulents from seed, and keeping the Garden looking good! Take a deeper dive into the wonderful world of the Curators at the Ruth Bancroft Garden. Gain valuable gardening insight to implement in your own yard and find out what’s new in the Garden.

man standing on a ladder pollinating the flower stalk of an agave plant at the Ruth Bancroft Garden

Pollinating with pride

The plant I am pollinating is an extra-small form of Agave parryi (the Artichoke Agave), which was grown by Ruth from seed more than 30 years ago. Because this is a very cold-hardy species, I wanted to use it for hybridizing – it is always good to have agave planting options for people who live in places where freezes in winter are a fact of life. I pollinated it with Agave montana and Agave parrasana, two other cold-tolerant species, and will now wait to see if seed pods develop to indicate I have been successful. It is worth noting that RBG has quite a few Agave hybrids planted out which have resulted from my hybridizing over the years.

Banner photo by John Ricca