Tuesday, August 18, 2015

at the denver botanic gardens: corpse flower + butterfield + everything else

Late this afternoon, upon hearing the corpse flower was beginning to bloom, I dropped everything and ran over to the Botanic Gardens. I mean that literally. I dropped my magazine on the floor and ran down the street, made a right turn, and headed in the direction of the garden’s main gate. The live stream had been running on my computer screen all day, but I wanted to see this in person. It’s not everyday you get to view an Amorphophallus titanium bloom! The event is a rare occurrence and annually only about 5-10 plants bloom in captivity worldwide. I’m not sure how frequently they bloom in nature, but the plant’s native habitat in Sumatra (Indonesia) is being destroyed at a record pace, so I’m sure blooms in the wild are down in number. 

This particular event will mark the first bloom in Denver and the Rocky Mountain states, which is pretty exciting if you live here and giant blooming plants are your thing. Oh, and the plant will release an odor (really, a stench) that smells like a rotting corpse for approximately 48 hours in order to attract its pollinators (the carrion beetle), so there’s that too…

Follow Me on Pinterest

Monday, August 17, 2015

moab: arches and canyonlands

Three weeks before Theo celebrated his 4th year on Earth, I asked him what he wanted to do to mark the special occasion. His emphatic response was: adopt 32 Tyrannosaurus Rex dinosaurs (apparently they would live happily in our backyard and he assured me he would be in charge of water and food distribution) or see "81 hundred million billion stars” (he’s really into the cosmos). I explained that there’s this pesky little thing called extinction and he was about 65 million years too late for his first wish, but I did know just the place where he could see all those stars. I told Theo about a little desert town in Utah called Moab and he was elated.

On a warm summer evening, we piled into the car, crossed our fingers and hoped for a smooth ride, free of tantrums and backseat fighting. This was the first family road trip we had taken the boys on that exceeded the 4-hour mark, but they did really, really well.  After movie and a quick roadside dinner, Theo and Otis both fell asleep…

The next morning, armed with our annual National Parks pass (one of the best things that money can buy), we headed out in search of area’s two main local attractions- Canyonlands and Arches.

Believe me when I tell you that two places are extraordinary. The giant canyon, which has been shaped over millions of years, is how I imagine the surface of Mars might look. Arches is equally spectacular. The formation of arches rarely occur in nature, but the national park, which features the largest collection of arches found anywhere in the world, boasts over 2,000 natural stone arches…along with enormous fin rocks, pinnacles and boulders. If you love geology, this is the place for you.

Now it’s really hot this time of year so we planned our hikes accordingly. We did one in the morning after breakfast and one after dinner, just as the sun was setting and the stars were becoming omnipresent in the summer sky...

Follow Me on Pinterest