An unusual sight is stopping people dead in their tracks as they pass through the Halifax Public Gardens.
“It’s a beautiful thing because it only blooms once every 25 years and then once it blooms it dies. So, it’s a really significant thing,” Karen Lorraine said, a Halifax woman who’s an avid Agave admirer.
The Agave americana isn’t a stranger to the public gardens.
In fact, it’s been part of the Halifax Pubilc Gardens green space for the past two decades, according to the chair of the ‘Friends of the Public Gardens’ society.
“It has been in the greenhouse, not always in the bed. It’s stored inside in the winter and comes out every summer. It’s also called a century plant because it takes so long to actually bloom,” Judith Cabrita said, with the Friends of the Public Gardens society (TFPG).
The century plant sits nestled in a hot garden bed, surrounded by other desert-like plants, including several varieties of cactus.
“I think it’s amazing. I’ve never actually seen anything like this here in the gardens so to have it out this year on display is pretty cool,” Aimee Moman said, another Agave fan.
According to Cabrita, the Agave americana plant quickly started sprouting early this spring.
“In April it started to sprout, growing about six inches every day. Staff had to move the plant outside early because it was pushing against the greenhouse glass,” she said.
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When it was moved outside, the cold temperatures took a toll.
“It did stop growing because it was too cold but it never really died, just stopped growing temporarily,” Cabrita said.
According to Cabrita, gardeners wrapped the Agave americana in tarp during cold and frosty spring nights, as well as placing Christmas lights inside the wrap to keep the plant warm.
“It’s only hot here very few months of the year and for whatever reason, this plant has survived and thrived and now it’s blooming here which I think is a beautiful thing,” Lorraine said.
Cabrita says the blooming process is in its early stages and is expected to last a few more weeks before the Agave americana dies.