“Norfolk’s Breathtaking Blooms: A Dr. Seuss-Like Phenomenon”

Norfolk, Virginia, has become the center of attention as towering plants, resembling creatures straight out of a Dr. Seuss book, captivate the city. Spectators are in awe as several century plants, believed to bloom only once every 100 years, are currently blossoming in different corners of Norfolk.

These magnificent plants, known as Agave Americana, are members of the asparagus family, native to Mexico and the southern regions of the United States. With their peculiar appearance and towering stature, they have earned the nickname “century plants.” Contrary to popular belief, these plants typically take around two to three decades to bloom after being planted.

One such century plant, planted almost two decades ago and situated in front of a small home on Wellington Road, was lovingly tended to by Sheryl Berry. Unfortunately, Berry passed away just before the plant began to bloom. Her son, Shaia Casey, expressed his disappointment, saying, “She didn’t even get to see it. She was planning on it, sitting out there waiting for that son of a gun to sprout.”

The anticipation within the Cottage Road Park neighborhood has been building for over 15 years. Norfolk resident, Gregory Constanza, documented the plant’s progress on Facebook, eagerly awaiting the day when it would reveal its magnificent blooms. This towering plant, standing tall beside the home where Sheryl Berry once resided, has become a symbol of hope and beauty in the neighborhood.

As news of Norfolk’s blooming century plant spread, plans to demolish the home were temporarily halted, providing a captivating sight for the community. John Moscoe, a regular walker in the neighborhood, remarked, “We knew they were going to tear the house down eventually, but it was like ‘wait a minute, this thing is growing.’ Now it’s starting to bloom, and it’s beautiful.”

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The captivating blooms have also brought joy to William Owens, a dedicated U.S. Postal Service carrier who has walked the same route for the past eight years. On a sweltering July afternoon, Owens chuckled, “The yellow parts, they’ve just been starting to open up, the blooms… it just looks like Dr. Seuss.”

If you’re in Norfolk and eager to witness this extraordinary phenomenon firsthand, make sure to visit within the next two weeks before the century plant’s blooms fade away forever. Despite its short-lived beauty, the century plant possesses other intriguing qualities. For instance, it can be transformed into mezcal, a unique alcoholic beverage. Tequila lovers may be familiar with Agave Azul, a variety of the century plant used to make this beloved spirit.

Interestingly, this century plant blooming in Norfolk is not an isolated occurrence. David Knepper recently shared photographs of another blooming century plant in Ghent, located at 623 Baldwin Avenue. Additionally, the Norfolk Botanical Garden is also home to a recently bloomed century plant, signaling its cyclical nature.

Norfolk’s blooming century plants have enthralled residents and visitors alike. These extraordinary plants, reminiscent of Dr. Seuss’s whimsical creations, have brought unexpected beauty and enchantment to the city. So, take a moment to marvel at nature’s wonders and witness the captivating blooms of Norfolk’s century plants before they disappear, only to resurface in another century. For more information on plants and gardening, visit the Ames Farm Center.