Wednesday Vignette – the big stink

The anticipation has been building for a while. I watched it grow tall, develop this massive bud…. and then I waited. For days, the bud just seemed to sit there. No real change from day to day, until yesterday, when there was a slight hint at unraveling. Not a lot though, so I didn’t think much of it. Today, until I turned a corner, I wondered what had died. Well, nothing died. In fact, it’s alive and well. I am apparently the proud owner of a flowering Dranunculus vulgaris, or Voodoo Lily.

Dranunculus vulgaris

I bought it at the WSU Master Gardener Foundation’s Mother’s Day Sale, not knowing what it was, other than that it was some kind of aroid. Of course I had to check it out. It’s the tallest aroid in my garden now, going on 4′. Pretty cool, huh? Our oldest missed the stinky spectacle by a few days. He moved to Sweden on Thursday, and we’re still trying to get used to him not being here. It’s good to have garden oddities to distract from the sudden feeling of emptiness. Hopefully, he will find his own things to marvel about, over there.

About annamadeit

I was born and raised in Sweden, By now, I have lived almost as long in the United States. The path I’ve taken has been long and varied, and has given me a philosophical approach to life. I may joke that I’m a sybarite, but the truth is, I find joy and luxury in life’s simple things as well. My outlook on life has roots in a culture rich in history and tradition, and I care a great deal about environmental stewardship. Aesthetically, while drawn to the visually clean, functional practicality and sustainable solutions that are the hallmarks of modern Scandinavia, I also have a deep appreciation for the raw, the weathered, and the worn - materials that tell a story. To me, contrast, counterpoint, and diversity are what makes life interesting and engaging. Color has always informed everything I do. I’m a functional tetrachromat, and a hopeless plantoholic. I was originally trained as an architect working mostly on interiors, but soon ventured outside - into garden design. It’s that contrast thing again… An interior adrift from its exterior, is like a yin without a yang. My firm conviction that everything is connected gets me in trouble time and time again. The world is a big place, and full of marvelous distractions, and offers plentiful opportunities for inquiry and exploration. I started writing to quell my constant queries, explore my discoveries, and nurture my curiosity. The Creative Flux was started in 2010, and became a catch-all for all kinds of intersecting interests. The start of Flutter & Hum at the end of 2013 marks my descent into plant nerd revelry. I occasionally contribute to other blogs, but those two are my main ones. For sure, topics are all over the map, but then again - so am I! Welcome to my blogs!
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27 Responses to Wednesday Vignette – the big stink

  1. tonytomeo says:

    YUCK! Plant Delights grows a few different cultivars of these, and is quite proud of the ‘fragrance’ of some. One is called ‘Pig Butt’. Seriously.

    • annamadeit says:

      Hahaha, that’s funny! Will be sure to check them out. Luckily, the flowers don’t last long…

      • tonytomeo says:

        My colleague Brent got a black arum of some sort back in the early 1990s, when he was going through his ‘black phase’. (That was when I was much more successful with my ‘white phase’.) I warned him about it. He bragged about it up until it bloomed.

  2. janesmudgeegarden says:

    It’s rather a handsome flower despite its stinkiness, with its unusual colour combination. You are no doubt feeling sad…it’s always difficult when one’s children set off to places far away.

    • annamadeit says:

      Yeah, they leave a big hole, even if you know they are off to great things and new adventures. Still, he is sorely missed by all of us. The irony is that I did exactly the same to my parents, as did my husband.

      • janesmudgeegarden says:

        So did I, and I never went back permanently, only for visits. I was reasonably close though. I’m from NZ and ended up married to an Australian.

        • annamadeit says:

          Still, the planet is a big place…Life would be so much easier if we could just do like in StarTrek, and beam ourselves to wherever we wanted to go, wouldn’t it? For now, I’ll just have to be content with the fact that IcelandAir has a Portland hub, with direct flights to Stockholm. That makes the temptation even worse – LOL!

  3. Pooh. I hope you get used to his absence

  4. bergstromskan says:

    Just wait, you will soon start looking for the dead body in your garden, But beautiful it is, the flower, I mean😱

  5. Tina says:

    Congrats on the stinky accomplishment. It’s a lovely bloom to look at, I’m glad I don’t have to smell it. 🙂 Congrats on the successful fledging of your boy. You’ll miss him, but it’s so great that he’s taken this brave move!! My vignette offering:

    • annamadeit says:

      Yeah, we’re all very happy for him, even though we miss him. The younger brother wants to follow in his footsteps once he’s done with high school (2 more years), so maybe we just need to all pack up and move back. I miss the rest of my family too.

      • Tina says:

        If you move back, you must keep your blog going–we would miss you! And also be jealous. 🙂

        • annamadeit says:

          Oh, I couldn’t possibly shut the blog down… Can you even imagine the kind of trials and errors I would need to document if I had to learn how to garden in Sweden? Mind boggling, and probably so much fun!!! And, you could come visit! 😀

  6. Kris P says:

    That’s one impressive bloom! Cal State Long Beach had one of its stinky relatives bloom last month – it warranted a photospread in the Los Angeles Times. As to your son’s move, congratulations for giving him the courage to make that big move and condolences on the shift in your household’s zeitgeist. Here’s my WV:

    • annamadeit says:

      Thanks Kris! Yeah, it warrants some adjustments in family dynamics, but we’ll survive, I’m sure. I remember how much fun I had at that age, and I definitely had the travel bug, too. I hope he will love his new home!

  7. Alison says:

    I planted one of those last year in my shade garden, far at the back of the garden. This year it put up foliage, but no sign of a flower. Some future year, I’m sure I’ll be out there and get a whiff of it.

    • annamadeit says:

      It’s a cool plant, for sure! Love the leaves, too… It’ll be interesting to see how long the flower lasts. Just checked on it, and it’s still there. It seemed as if the stink had abated, though. Yesterday, it was rather pungent!

  8. hb says:

    Your son did the right thing. What a horrible sad thing to say, but the random gun slaughter, the insanity of a predatory for-profit health care system, the homeless people everywhere, the heartlessness…if you go back also, it will be our loss but not yours. But enough of that: Cool plant!. Does it really smell that bad?

    • annamadeit says:

      Aww, thank you – and yes, I agree he did the right thing. Hate to say it, but I’m losing hope in this country, and I’m at a loss for how to truly affect any meaningful change, beyond my own little bubble… The plant really does smell pretty bad – like a decomposing animal. At first, I thought something had died . And, it was interesting to see the flies buzzing around it. The plant fooled them as well as me – LOL!

  9. Mine has a few buds this year, the first one opened last week and oddly I didn’t detect much of a scent. In prior years it’s been nasty.

    My WV:

    • annamadeit says:

      Interesting…. yesterday, the entire garden stunk. Today, not so much. Wonder if it spent it all the first day…? It still looks pretty good, and is much more… umm… approachable.

  10. Certainly is striking and different. Glad I cannot smell it through the screen.

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