My husband is fascinated with gardens, especially roses.  But any garden will do, really.  When we vacation, he loves to roam through gardens, either natural ones or ones we pay to visit.  I enjoy them as well, because plants are fascinating!  All the colors, shapes, characteristics, smells, etc. are so interesting and somehow calming, as well, when we walk among a huge array of them – all arranged for visual stimulation!

Recently, he saw an agave (the century plant) blooming and decided to look it up and was amazed by what he found.  The agave plant only produces one blooming stalk during its life, and that happens right before it dies!  He came into the kitchen and stated, “Isn’t that so cool?” My first reaction and reply was, “No, that’s so sad!”  I was thinking about our own lives and how sad that would be if we lived all our lives with no “blooms” and then right before we die, we produce something beautiful, but then it’s gone! 


Are you with me?

Then my husband kept reading and realized that the main stalk gets about 20-30 feet tall, and young plants spring up around its base.  And that further reading gave me hope…for that plant…and for all of us!

After finishing, my husband said he thought what he had just read was great and there were so many lessons to be learned.  He didn’t have time to write a story, so I told him to send me the short version…and I’d write it. At first, though, I was hesitant because I was only seeing the fact that the bloom never happened until right before death.  How could that plant keep growing, and thriving, knowing there would be nothing produced for decades?

I suppose the best part of the information is the little plants that spring up around the big plant.  And the fact that at the end, the plant doesn’t slowly wither up and disappear from view – it goes out with a profuse bloom that causes all to take notice!  Now, that offers hope to all of us!

Here’s what my husband’s take was on the century plant:

1. Go out with a bang.
2. Pass on the mantle to the next generation. 
3. Lift your head high. 
4. Leave a lasting legacy. 
5. Reach for the stars. 


Honestly, if I had read that same story without his commentary, I would have gotten a whole different lesson from it.  And that would have been how sad it is to live all of your life without blooming until the end…and I would have gotten off the page and never thought about that sorry plant again.

So, take what you want from this story.  Either make sure you have a friend nearby that sees the glass half full instead of empty (my husband is that friend to me!)…or be amazed and encouraged yourself, as he was, at that awesome bloom and the shoots that arrive when the plant is gone.

I’m amazed, and I think it’s a cool story.  But if that plant were in a garden, I’d still probably wander on to a whole other area, while my husband stands there and marvels…

One Big Bloom
by Marcy Lytle

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