feng shui

I added (that is, moved) three agaves to the front bed to add instant impact. These were planted by the front sidewalk, and I worried (a little) that someone might fall into them, or run over them, and the other day, when the dog (who should know better) walked right into them while they were covered with snow, I realized they were in the wrong place and needed to be moved. If I had known that this would be the fifth winter in a row with snow cover for over three months, I wouldn’t have planted these things in a place where snow gets piled on them.

The damage to the poor things is visible in this picture. The “self-watering” system described by Gentry works against agaves when it snows, melts, freezes, then snows again, melts, freezes, and so on. Ice gets caught in the rosette and this is what happens. The plants will recover.


There are three agaves here, Agave parryi, but two are from one seed collection and the third is from another, so the fengย shui business is slightly off. (Odd-numbered groups are supposed to be the best. This is a fake odd-numbered group.)

I did decide against buying rocks for this little garden. I thought it would look a little pretentious to have fancy rocks instead of a whole bunch of plants crammed together, screaming for air. The pea gravel, though, is just the base; larger-sized gravel will be added later.


The distinctly plebeian effect is what I wanted. No one would confuse this with the entrance to an ancestral castle. I never even finished painting beneath the front window.


The aluminum screen door almost cancels out the feng shui (however fake it might be) and dramatic statement that the three agaves make. The plants were carefully placed so as not to be equidistant from each other. Note the gently undulating surface of the pea gravel. This relieves the awful straightness of all four sides of the little garden.

There’s someone staring out the window, too.

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12 Responses to feng shui

  1. Cliff Booker says:

    Wonderful, Bob … we are reading, learning, laughing and enjoying in equal measures!!!

  2. Diana says:

    ” No one would confuse this with the entrance to an ancestral castle. ” Ha. I immediately pictured Downton Abbey with a nice succulent garden….but I like your unpainted window, and Chess watching while you work, much better.

  3. Lithopsland says:

    Hi! The Agaves look great! I was wondering, why is this a fake odd-numbered group?

    • paridevita says:

      Not to be mystical or anything, but the two closest to the driveway are “Salman No. 2” (after High Country Gardens) and the one furthest away is number one. So labeled at Timberline Gardens, where I got them. Two twos and a one. It could only be a real odd-numbered group if it were three twos, or three ones.
      I think ..

      • Lithopsland says:

        Oh I see. But all are three Agave parryi? Also, could 2 2s + 1 1 equal an odd number? I no not Feng shui but I do like to find answers. ๐Ÿ™‚ Oh, & I just noticed you have at least 1 pup on one of your #2s, so now you have 1 real odd 2s & 1 real odd 1. Is that ok? ๐Ÿ™‚

      • paridevita says:

        I guess. Though it could could also be two parryis damaged from being under snow for three months and one not. My late wife always used to chide me for putting things in that didn’t have the “proper” number for feng shui; odd groups look better than even groups, she said. Artists know these things. But then I bought two of everything else at the cactus sale (figuring I have twice as much chance for survival, though it could be twice as much chance of death).
        The agaves might not stay there permanently (into the back yard instead, in a place where snow doesn’t linger so much), but at least they’re away from the street and the snow plow, and the possibility of being covered with slush every few days.

  4. Lithopsland says:

    Cool, your late wife sounds like she was very organised & had a great eye; extremely good traits. Odd numbers do look better, although I like pairs too. I try to mix & match, & if it doesn’t work, I make it up or find another way, haha. Have you written a post on your late wife’s works? ๐Ÿ™‚

    • paridevita says:

      Ultimately, the whole blog is about her. Or rather, my new life without her. You can search Cindy Nelson-Nold for the pictures I posted, and some of the watercolors are on the American Penstemon Society’s website. They’re also in the books (see “about”).
      Most of the watercolors are in the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. There’s an exhibit going on right now called “What we collect” in which a couple of her drawings are featured.

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