I’m starting to think every front garden needs one. Mine sure does. A big old, stop-the-car, would-you-look-at-that, jaw dropping, statement plant. The kind you make sure to drive by when you’re in the neighborhood, like an old friend.

Exhibit A

The Agave salmiana that could. The biggest agave in Portland. That I know of. But please prove me wrong, I’ve never met a big agave I didn’t like.

big agave

Even non-plant-lovers are amazed when they come across this giant. It’s near a ridge I’m starting to think of as Portland’s magic zone, near the Rose City Golf Course. Rocky gardens overlooking a south facing bluff. The monster, zone-defying plants along this stretch are a tempting reason to move, if ever there was one.

big agave little agave

It’s hard to capture the scale of this plant. The mini-me agave up front is probably 2-3 feet across, to give you a sense of size on the biggo.

big agave underside

Standing underneath its undulating arms is practically a religious experience.

big agave center

In case you’re wondering how it fared in the recent snow and ice storm, it appears completely unscathed. No mushy heart, thank goodness. It’s been through far worse than this most recent quickie storm.

Exhibit B

Yucca rostrata forest.

yucca rotrata trio

Well, maybe forest is overstating it. But pretty darn close. I’m so happy when I’m driving down a busy street with very little gardening eye candy, and come across these guys.

yucca rostrata heart

Another post-ice storm wellness check. Everything looks good in there. Not that there was much danger, since they’re solidly in the hardy camp here, zone 7a. Sean Hogan of Cistus says as long as they have decent drainage, they’re even fine with shade.

yucca rostrata trio narrow angle
Have you ever wondered, to trim or not to trim the spent foliage? Leave the hula skirt or tidy up and reveal the trunk? They’ve given us an example of each.

yucca rostrata untrimmed trunk

Au naturale?

yucca rotrata untrimmed trunk

yucca rostrata trimmed

Or with a haircut? The trunk is rather fetching.

yucca rostrata trunk

Exhibit C

Go big or go home. I don’t even know what to say about this trunking yucca and its’ accessories. But it definitely made me look. No shrinking violets here.

yucca and gold fountain

It feels like it belongs in a much flashier neighborhood, but I have to appreciate the bold styling.

yucca and gold fence

This is commitment. Gold fountain, gold house trim, gold fence.

yucca and gold statue

Anyone want to venture a guess on the variety?
yucca alone

And what about in your world? What’s your vote for best leading plant in a dramatic role?