Normally one expects to see large agaves in places like Arizona and California, but yes indeed folks, they can grow out East too. These superb specimens were growing in the gardens around the home of the owners of Plant Delights, right next to the nursery. I'm not sure of the id of the silver leaf one, but the one blooming appears to be A. americana or maybe a hybrid of it.
One thing that never ceased to amaze me is how deadly boring most landscaping in North Carolina is, there seem to be fewer flowers, and interesting foliage plants, at least in summer, than even here in NY. All the more puzzling, since obviously the climate down yonder allows one to grow many "exotic" things outside such as these large agaves, and other things, like sinningias, begonias, brugmansias, and crinums, which would be toast in our winters. I can only assume it must be the hot humid summers which make summer gardening less pleasant than further north, and the clay soil which requires more work to amend than our generally better (but often rocky) northeastern soils. Of course, a problem anywhere in the USA is that most people use a very limited palette of plant materials for their gardens, usually what Home Depot and their ilk supply. There are so many much more interesting plants out there, as my visit to Plant Delights amply showed.