#52Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Flowers

The century plant, aka Agave Americana, blooms only rarely. My Mam-ma had one at her home in Midway, which is just east of Gulf Breeze, Florida. The plant grew by the front door of the cabin – the original cinder block house my grandparents, Hoyt and Willie Cook, built as a vacation home before they moved out to the beach permanently. Growing up, when I stepped out the front door of their brick clad home, the cabin was to my left. Sometimes when I would visit, I’d get the project of making flowers for the century plant.

To make blooms for a century plant, you need a Styrofoam egg carton or two. (Next time I get one, I’ll have to make some and take photos to illustrate this post.) Using scissors, separate the egg cups. Cut small triangles out of the sides of the cup, and you’ll see it starts to look like a flower.

The leaves of the century plant are long and sharp, sharp pointed. I don’t remember if we made little starter holes or slots in the flowers or if we just jabbed them on the ends. Either way, once they’re on, shove them down firmly. Spread the flowers around the leaves, and voila! Your century plant has flowers.

The color depends on the egg carton, of course. I think we’d usually work with three or four egg cartons. They came in pink, blue, yellow. The plant often ended up with multi-color blooms.

Century Plant (WikiMedia/Photo by Raul654)

Maybe someday I’ll come across a photo with that century plant and our homemade flowers on it. It’s one of those things that’s so everyday, I don’t think I ever thought to snap a picture. Here’s a photo of an unadorned century plant. Can you picture it with egg carton flowers?

About Taminar

When I grow up, I want to make movies and write books. Now in my 50s, I wonder if I'll ever really accomplish the dreams of my youth. I have made two short films, one for a college film-making class, the other for an MTV-sponsored contest. I have written short plays that have been produced, and a few short stories and reviews that have been published. I also perform and direct for community theatre. My working life has included stints in local TV news, public relations, retail management and cashier, and for a couple of years, I made the rides go at Walt Disney World. I have two cats and a husband.
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3 Responses to #52Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Flowers

  1. Pat Lowe says:

    Did you put on the flowers during spring or Easter or just anytime?
    We only had carboard egg cartons when I was young.

    • Taminar says:

      I don’t remember the flowers being confined to a particular season. Mam-ma and Pap-pa moved out to the beach while we were living in Scotland. We got back to Pensacola on Christmas Eve, 1971; I had just turned 6. I don’t know when the first time was I made the flowers. It may have been more towards the mid ’70s.

  2. Barb LaFara says:

    It’s fun to imagine children decorating an agave with egg-cup flowers. I had a century plant in my yard in Phoenix many years ago. It was sort of sad when it did send up its spike of flowers, since then it would collapse and die. But, it left behind ‘puppies’ to start the cycle over.

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