The Halifax agave is dying, but its legacy could live on
Famous plant will be headed to compost, but its seeds will be up for grabs
They come in droves to stop and stare at it and take a photo or two.
The agave has captured the hearts of many in Halifax.
Now the decades-old plant —affectionately nicknamed "Agave Maria" by some — has finished blooming and is beginning its slow descent into death.
It's a day that friends Laurie Duthie and Françoise Szpilfogel knew was coming. The two have been visiting the agave at the Halifax Public Gardens since spring.
"Every Sunday, we check on it to see if our plant is doing all right or not," Duthie says.
"We've adopted it," she laughs.
"People from near and far have been here lined up, taking photos. It's been great fun."
Defying the odds
Thanks to the agave, the gardens have seen a big increase in visitors this year, says Heidi Boutilier, the garden's horticulturalist.
"It's been pretty crazy," she says.
Agave stalk will topple over soon
But the agave's days are numbered, as the bloom marks the end of the plant's long life.
With browning leaves and a blackening stem, what will happen to the agave now?
"In the near future, it will topple over," Boutilier says. "We're not sure exactly when. We're going to navigate its trajectory so that it doesn't fall on some of these valuable plants."
She says the agave will eventually end up in the compost, but the seeds will be up for grabs.
"It should produce hundreds, maybe a thousand seeds," she says. "So depending on how many people want seeds, hopefully we have enough to go around."
Boutilier says she can't guarantee the seeds will grow, but she's hoping people will try and is suggesting people call the city to request some of them.
"We're willing to give the seed away and if people want to try to propagate it, that would be awesome," she says.
'She's a determined old lady'
It's a bittersweet ending for many of the agave's loyal fans, including friends Duthie and Szpilfogel.
"She's taught everybody a whole pile of new stuff. There's been kids and grandparents and everything in between learning about this wonderful plant," Duthie says.
"She's done her job, just like a mother," Szpilfogel says.
The two hope they'll have a few more visits left with the plant.
"She's a determined old lady, she's not ready to go yet. And we're on her side," Duthie jokes.