News

Seymour succumbs

Seymour leans Photo: C. Fiore

Seymour, showing yellow blooms, leans precariously over Middle Road in front of Cindy Fiore’s house. Photo: C. Fiore

By Connie Leinbach

Seymour, the agave century plant on Middle Road, has met its demise.

Islanders and visitors alike in recent weeks took notice as Cindy Fiore showed the Internet world the last hurrah of a plant taller than some island trees.

Fiore started posting photos of the plant on her Facebook page a few months ago since the appearance of the stalk and later blooms herald the plant’s end.

Seymour blooms. Photo: C. Fiore

Seymour blooms. Photo: C. Fiore

“April 29 to July 9,” Fiore said about the beginning span of the stalk’s existence.

The late Hettie Tolson gave Fiore the agave about 20 years ago.

“She was always dropping plants off here,” Fiore said.

Seymour's stalk broke after a high wind.

Seymour’s stalk broke after a high wind July 9. Photo: C. Fiore

At that time, it was about a foot high, didn’t have a name and steadily grew through the years becoming a rather large plant by the side of the road that Fiore had taken to decorating.

Then Fiore noticed the middle stalk growing out of its center.

Soon after that the stalk shot skyward about 30 feet high, buds appeared and the watch was on for Seymour to bloom.

“It only blooms once, then it dies,” she explained.

Visitors, too, checked on progress.

Marie Conner of New Cumberland, Pa., was visiting the island during the Seymour watch.

“I went by it every day to see if it bloomed,” she said before she and her husband Vic had to leave July 3.

As the wait continued into July, Seymour began leaning over the road.

Feathery yellow tendrils began to show on the bud.

First it was at about a 45-degree angle, Fiore said. Her partner Tim Fields propped up the stalk with a piece of lumber.

“Then a big wind came through on July 9 and top broke,” Fiore said.

These were Seymour's blooms.

These were Seymour’s blooms.

Those tendrils were the blooms everyone had been awaiting.

“I kept expecting a flower, but that was it,” she said.

Fiore announced the demise on Facebook.

“I got so many comments it was like getting sympathy cards,” she said.

The Ocracoke Garden Center is scheduled to remove the heavy, razor-edged plant.  

But that won’t be the end of Seymour since Fiore has salvaged four “baby” plants from Seymour’s roots.  Some islanders already have dibs.

“Seymour” was so named for the musical-comedy “Little Shop of Horrors” that features a human-eating plant from outer space, named Audrey II, who cries out, “Feed me!”

Seymour, however, is the male lead character who harbors the plant.

One of the songs is titled “Suddenly Seymour,” and that is the name that came to Fiore’s mind one day after the giant stalk had made its appearance.

To read the prior story, click here.

Seymour awaits removal.

Seymour awaits removal. Photo: C. Leinbach

Seymour will live on through his offshoots. Photo: C. Leinbach

Seymour will live on through his offshoots. Photo: C. Leinbach

2 replies »

  1. Thank you for the follow-up and the photos, Connie. Even though he did not bloom while we were there, it was fun to bike over and check his progress every day. I’m glad for you all that he did give a final show of his tendrils before he toppled. Good luck to the lucky gardeners who will have his offspring in their care. Maybe in another 20 years . . .?