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If you’ve walked past Allan Gardens recently you might have noticed a spectacular sight: what appears to be a magic beanstalk has burst through the roof and is headed straight for the sky.

In fact, it’s an Agave Americana plantalso known as a century plant because it takes decades to bloom – and once it does bloom it dies. For 50 or so years the Agave plant at Allan Gardens hasn’t done much of anything.

It’s looked something like this:

In warmer climates the Agave plant will bloom after about 30 years but because it has been growing in Toronto it has taken almost a lifetime for it to get to this moment. Once the stalk begins to grow it takes a few months to climb upwards as high as it can get. The gardeners at Allan Gardens had to cut a hole in the glass for the first time in the building’s history because if they hadn’t the plant would have died.

Here’s an example of an Agave plant before it blooms:

Now the gardeners expect that at some point in the next month the plant will make it’s final transformation after growing over 15 feet tall. For it’s grand finale it will burst into an exuberant spectacle of beauty beckoning every bird and insect for miles around – and then it will die.

But before it dies it will look like this:

What a spectacular way to burst into bloom and then check out. I can’t wait to go and pay my respects.

source: Toronto Star

Allan Gardens is located in downtown Toronto at 19 Horticultural Avenue (Carlton St. between Jarvis and Sherbourne). It’s open every day of the year and admission is free.

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