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Visitors See Rare Agave Bloom At The Rawlings Conservatory In Baltimore

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Something strange is happening at the Rawlings Conservatory in Druid Hill Park.

At first, you might think of the "Little Shop of Horrors," but as Ron Matz reports it's just Mother Nature doing something really remarkable.

The agaves are a-growin' at the Rawlings Conservatory. The rare blooms began two months ago.

"March 22 was when we first started to suspect it was going to spike. By April 3, we had to remove the glass. The spike had reached the ceiling," said conservatory supervisor Kate Blom.

So it was time to remove the glass. The spike grew to 25 feet. Known as century plants, they can take 30 years to bloom.

"We were at the conservatory a couple of weeks ago, and we saw the century plant was about to bloom. We saw it poking out through the greenhouse, so I thought I'd come by and see what the status was," said conservatory visitor Mike Palumbo.

"It's getting there. It looks like it's going to flower pretty soon. It's a pretty big event since I think probably no one's ever seen it bloom if they're alive today," said Palumbo.

In an amazing coincidence another agave, known as seymour, is also spiking. Baby plants are doing it, too. The desert house is alive.

Here's something you might not know about the blue agave. It's the source of tequila.

"Down in good old Mexico where these plants grow, where there are acres and acres of agave and they make tequilla, many different kinds," said horticulture assistant Sandy Reagan.

"I think it's fantastic. It really shows how the agaves in their uniqueness, how each one is flowering. They're so beautiful. They have cute little buds coming out. We just love it," said Reagan.

So agave watch 2013 continues. It's through the roof, a rare occurrence in Baltimore.

"It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience for me to see all of this going on. For the staff here we're all amazed," said Blom.

"It blooms once in its lifetime and then it dies."

You can check out the agaves at the Rawlings Conservatory. It's open Wednesdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

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