Saturday, August 6, 2022

Still Life with Robin: A Wonderful Flowering in DC

by Peggy Robin

There are really some things you need to see in real life to believe they exist.....and to appreciate the varied wonders of Planet Earth.

A few of those things are: 
  • Steam vents/lava flows around an active volcano
  • A coral reef teeming with aquatic life in a riot of colors and shapes
  • A look at the night sky during a meteor shower, in a remote field with no artifical light nearby
  • A tall waterfall that creates a perpetual rainbow
  • The total eclipse of the sun
  • Caverns of stalactites and stalagmites
  • The Grand Canyon
  • The Galapagos Islands

---and I'll stop here so that I can get to the DC-located wonder, which is....

It's the largest flower on earth. It's a rare phenomenon, blooming --on average-- just once every six years. You will think you have walked into a science fiction horror movie. The stench is hard to bear (hence the name). You may expect it to reach out very suddenly and swallow you whole....but it won't, trust me. I saw it for the first time in 2016 at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx. And I plan to see it again right here in DC -- it's at the Enid Haupt Garden in a big flower box, right in front of the Smithsonian Museum of Asian and African Art. It's expected to be at peak bloom between August 10 -12 -- so you need to wait until the middle of next week to get the full experience. Maximum stench tends to occur around dawn and dusk -- so depending on the type of experience you want, you might go or refrain from going at those times.

You can follow the progress on Smithsonian Instagram:

It's free -- and a whole lot easier to get to than the Galapagos Islands and happening sooner than the next total eclipse of the sun (April East Timor, Indonesia, and parts of Australia on April 20, 2023.
Still Life with Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.

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