It should be called "Blue Thumb Sunday" today, because arctic temperatures have come to town. I'm giving thanks today for my nice warm house, and specifically for the Pelonis Ceramic Safe-T-Furnace that's sitting by my feet. The sun is shining, and while the full spectrum of light it brings is tonic for my SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), it does little to actually warm anything at this latitude.
It's good that we got several inches of snow a week or so ago, to keep things insulated from this frigid air. With temperatures below zero and wind chills around -20°, not much of anything is going to survive out there without a 'coat.'
I heard on the news last night that the Amorphophallus rivieri is in bloom at Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, for only the second time in twenty years. I have to make it out there to see it. The common name for this is Voodoo Lily, and while it may not be the prettiest flower you've ever seen, no one can say it isn't ... ummm ... interesting. When it's in bloom, it gives off a fragrance of rotting flesh. Okay, that's not a fragrance; it's an odor. A definite odor. But, as all things in nature, there is a purpose for this. It attracts flies, which act as pollinators. And it has to get them there in a hurry, because it's only fertile for a day.
We went last year in February, just to perk up our spirits and to see the beautiful orchids they had on display. The scent as you walked into the main room where the orchids were was intoxicating.
We took our girls and future son-in-law and made a day of it. We ate lunch at Coney Island, where Jenna tried to order a hamburger. Silly girl. We then drove over to the nearby conservatory and oohed and ahhed over the orchids. When we left, we went directly to Lowe's and I bought one for Jenna. Kara didn't want one. A few weeks earlier, I had bought a Phaeleonopsis, which is supposed to be the easiest to grow for beginners. It's shooting out a flower spike right now, which will be the first it's bloomed since I bought it. I've since purchased a few more, but I can see that growing orchids is not going to be something at which I excel.
This year, the conservatory has set up a nine-hole miniature golf course! As members of the American Horticulture Society, Romie and I have free admission there and at many other gardens and conservatories around the country. The membership also gives us a discount at many of the gift shops at the gardens and a free subscription to their bi-monthly magazine, The American Gardener. The cost of membership ($35 a year) has more than paid for itself.
Since it's Green Thumb Sunday, I'll just leave you with some more photos of the gorgeous orchids we saw last year (click on each picture to bring up a larger version) ...