Published: 00:01, 18 August 2014
When a couple put a small plant in their front garden 12 years ago, they had no inkling it would one day grow taller than their house.
David and Pauline Hallen have watched as the agave at their home in Wards Hill Road, Minster, has shot up over the summer. It now towers over the nearby street lights, making it more than 25ft.
The plant is usually found in the Mexican desert and it uses its tall flower to disperse its seeds far and wide in the wind.
Despite normally being suited to a much warmer climate, 72-year-old Mr Hallen said it has survived everything British weather has had to throw at it over the years.
He said: "We just planted it and forgot about it. We didn't look after it other than watering it a couple of times, but we never fed it or anything like that.
"I suppose if they grow in the desert they wouldn't need much anyway. But as it's gone along, it's just got bigger and bigger.
"We've even got pictures of it covered in snow. You wouldn't believe it would have been able to survive in this country.
"We didn't really notice the flower at first and we looked up and in the space of two to three months it shot up to the size it is now.
"We had a small one at the other end of the garden and it did the same thing but it was a quarter of that size."
It is the first time the plant has flowered since their daughter gave them the seedling about 12 years ago, but it will unfortunately also be the last as the species only does so once in its lifetime and dies soon afterwards.
Mr Hallen said: "All the leaves have started to droop down and as you look around you can see all the little seedlings, about six or seven of them, growing around the base."
The grandparents of four have even had complete strangers knocking on their door and posting pictures and information about the plant through the letterbox.
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