Friday, August 04, 2006

338 Pictures Later.....

....I have died and gone to heaven.
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"I know that if odor were visible, as color is,
I'd see the summer garden in rainbow clouds."
~ Robert Bridges, "Testament of Beauty"
The heatwave broke, at least a little bit. It rained, no severe storms or lightening or thunder as predicted, but it rained and now the humidity is low; at least low for New York in the summer. So, today we finally went to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. It was not very crowded and a breeze was blowing. I had my trusty little Canon PowerShot SD500, three fully charged batteries and my handy little fold up tripod, flimsy but workable. My trigger finger started going off as soon as we walked in the gate and only stopped four hours later because the batteries were running down and it was almost closing time. Today I took 338 pictures; well actually 360 but only 338 were good enough to keep. Expansive lawns, fountains, rose gardens with hundreds of varieties, sundials, quiet benches, Shakespeare garden, tropical garden, desert garden, lily pads and lotus blossoms, annual beds, perennial beds, and a fragrance garden especially designed for the blind with Braille flower tags and plants known for their different fragrances and textures. People are encouraged to touch and smell the flowers here. A Japanese garden with pond, waterfalls, small hills, paths, shaded benches and small open sitting house; all with an oriental flair, A family of ducks, many large Koi and turtles share the quiet waters. We didn't get to the rock garden, the children's garden, the herb garden and several other places. I expect we will return in the morning for at least part of the day.

Speaking of "odor", we stumbled upon an "event" of giant proportions today. Has anyone ever heard of the corpse plant? Now, everybody, don't raise your hands all at the same time! Amorphophallus titanum is the scientific name. I believe it is originally from Sumatra and is one of the largest and putrid smelling flowers in the world. Apparently this thing grows either one leaf or one flower a year, after a period of dormancy. The botanists in charge of the cultivation discovered Monday that this year, after ten years of cultivation, there is going to be a flower. This bud grows five inches in height a day and has been moved to an indoor greenhouse for display. I couldn't get a picture because it is not yet open to the public; but they expect it to begin blooming any day now and will bloom through mid-August. Check out the Brooklyn Botanical Garden website for pictures, a daily blog on the growth process, a webcam (to see the blooming without having to smell the odor of stinking, rotting flesh; yes, appetizing I'm sure) and links to much more information. The growing requirements are daunting and I'm not sure who would really want a plant that attracts swarms of flies and carrion beetles when blooming. This is going to be quite an event here.

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