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Beccles resident, Philip Roberts, left stunned when a flower he planted 42 years ago finally bloomed




A green-fingered man was left stunned after a tiny flower he planted 42 years ago finally bloomed - and now towers over him at nine feet tall.

Philip Roberts, 84, genuinely thought he would have to pass his beloved plant 'Prickly' onto his grandson after being told it wouldn't flower for 100 years.

But the Mexican royal agave plant miraculously started to grow at pace on June 7 and now towers over him at 9ft tall.

Phillip Roberts with the agave regina plant in his garden in Beccles. Picture: SWNS
Phillip Roberts with the agave regina plant in his garden in Beccles. Picture: SWNS

And, to Philip's delight, Prickly's head has begun blooming with tiny yellow flowers too.

Philip, a retired printing press operator, said: "It's got so big we can't have it in the house anymore.

"When we bought it it was tiny. You could more than hold in your hand. The man at the garden shop said it wouldn't bloom for 100 years. He was wrong because at 42 years on - it's started blooming."

The plant is now over 9 feet tall. Picture: SWNS
The plant is now over 9 feet tall. Picture: SWNS

Philip and wife Grace, 84, bought Prickly at a small garden shop in August, 1979, while on a seaside holiday in Rye, Sussex.

Philip, from Beccles, said: "It was only a little old plant. I just liked the look of it. It wouldn't have cost any more than £2.

"We kept it in our front room. It was very, very prickly so you had to be very careful."

Prickly endured soaring hot temperatures next to the couple's fireplace and was rarely watered before it suddenly started growing in June.

Philip said: "I was rather excited I tell you. I was in my conservatory and I turned around and saw a tiny little pink thing coming out.

"I couldn't believe it because I thought I might have to let my grandson have it to see it bloom. I ran in to get my wife and said 'quick, come see it!'"

Philip's daughter Sally, 57, even drove 30 minutes from Norwich to see the plant with her own eyes and photograph it.

But despite his enthusiasm, Philip has said he'll get rid of Prickly when it finishes blooming and dies off.

Philip said: "The bloom is about 15 inches long and now it's about halfway up. It started to bloom from the bottom at three inches and then that died.

"It will get to the top and completely die, then it will release some seeds to grow some more. Afterwards I shall just get rid of her."

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