BEDFORD CO., Va. (WDBJ7) A scenic stretch of highway is perfect for a Sunday drive.
And several miles outside of Bedford, there's something new, making a brief, but bold statement beside Stella Brown's driveway.
"You never know," Brown told WDBJ7. "You start seeing 'em come out. You just walk by and there's no warning... And then every day they just go right on up to the sky."
It can take ten years or longer for a century plant to send out a shoot, and it blooms just once before it dies.
In the last six weeks, the three plants in Bedford County have grown to more than ten feet tall.
And many of the people who pass Brown's property on Moneta Road are paying attention.
"They just want to know what are they, and where can they get one," Brown said. "And I told 'em I can't tell 'em nowhere they can get one. I don't know nobody that's got one."
Brown received the first of her century plants from relatives. Her grandmother brought some back from a trip to Texas in the 1950s.
And while they're more common in the desert southwest than in southwestern Virginia, they've prospered in the well-drained soil and full sun of her Bedford County property.
"I never water 'em, just when it rains, never watered em," Brown said. "I think I've got 40 and they'll stick you to death. and I've got proof of that."
Brown says some people begged her for the plants three years ago and she could have given away hundreds.
But she's not worried about people stealing them.
The beautiful plants have sharp spikes, and she says anybody who tries to take them will likely pay a painful price.