Agave amica, formerly know as Polianthes tuberosa, commonly known as tuberose, is a spectacularly fragrant flower. No one knows its true origins. It doesn’t grow anywhere in the wild. But it was cultivated by the ancient Aztecs in Mexico, where the Spanish conquistadors eventually noticed it and carried it back with them to Europe. The rest is perfume-making history!
I love fragrance in the garden. For me, it’s at least as important as appearance. But I have a bad habit of popping bulbs into the ground without marking the spot or noting the location in my garden journal. One day in early spring of this year, I realized I was moving a concrete block on top of an emerging tuberose. I didn’t know where to transplant it, but I wanted to save it. I stowed it in an empty pot with a few other bulbs for a while and finally stuck it in a flower bed at the front of the house. Then I forgot about it…until several weeks ago. Full disclosure: when I noticed the emerging green, I still didn’t recall what sort of bulb it was.
Now, I’m so proud of it. Tuberoses usually bloom in summer, but I moved it at the beginning of its growing season. Not only did it survive the setback, it didn’t even wait until the next growing season to show itself. And not only is it showing itself – and I have to say, that one, long stem looks startlingly out of place – it’s blooming! The plant rallied, stubbornly pushing on to grow and bloom in late fall rather than wait till next summer.
It gives reason to pause. Personally, I’m in the fall of my life, so that speaks to me directly. I like to think that I still have some bloom left in me. But what about circumstances beyond our control, sudden changes, unexpected hardships and struggles?
The tuberose did not give up. It overcame obstacles, fulfilled its purpose. It’s blooming triumphantly, and it gives joy.
So can we.
For years, my husband and I worked at creating a series of gardens on our four-acre lot in a rural, Texas subdivision west of Houston. I have to say, it was a fantastic experience. Now, I have a pocket garden on a golf course.