Catfish Weather and Voodoo Lilies

Voodoo lily, Dracunculus vulgaris, abloom by the front porch. Its magnificence is only exceeded by is putrid odor. Awesome flower. Watercolor over pencil, 8 1/2" x 11" Stillman & Birn Alpha Series.
Voodoo lily, Dracunculus vulgaris, abloom by the front porch. Its magnificence is only exceeded by its putrid odor. Awesome flower. Watercolor over pencil, 8 1/2″ x 11″ Stillman & Birn Alpha Series.

We’ve had two feet of rain this month. Yesterday, an early morning storm arrived with a tornado warning that sent me and Gizmo splashing down into our flooded basement. Our yard may be squishy, but some of our neighbors could raise catfish on their lawns. That’s a real thing- locals have been reporting catfish and carp around their houses. It’s just a good thing we don’t have alligators in these parts.

Not in my backyard. But a few houses down, it's catfish-ready.
Not in my backyard. But in the backyard a few houses down, all is catfish-ready.

After all the rain, my poor garden is a hot mess. But a few years ago my friend Kiki gave me a mysterious “voodoo lily”, and the other day it finally came into bloom. The huge flower was fantastic- deep red, frilled along the edges, with a long, nearly black spathe. Gorgeous- and it stunk like a dead raccoon. Flies crawled all over, pollinating. I held my nose and peered down into the hollow bulb at the bottom of the spathe where the plant’s sexual parts are hidden. It seethed with black beetles.

The aftermath. Must have been a good party. Dracunculus vulgaris, voodoo lily.
The aftermath. Must have been a good party. Dracunculus vulgaris, voodoo lily, spent.

The next day, Dracunculus looked a little, well, flaccid. The fetid odor was diminished somewhat, too. A one-day garden wonder, but what a performance.

The weather forecast over the next few days looks pretty good, so far. Maybe a thunderstorm or two, but basically okay. A little sunshine would go a long way. And I can’t think of anything better than a day in the garden.

Happy Friday.

5 thoughts on “Catfish Weather and Voodoo Lilies

  1. dinahmow says:

    Been wondering how you (and others) fared in the storms.
    And that lily? We had one in NZ years ago, where they call them “Dead Horse Lily.” I choose not to grow one here! But still have stinkhorns.And that, friends, is why I favour the sweeter scented plants!

    1. zeladoniac says:

      I favor them, too. Glad this thing only blooms for a day. Why I planted it next to the porch I’ll never know…

  2. Corienne Cotter says:

    It’s hilarious. Only you & Mike could like such a plant. So glad you are taking the weather in good spirits. Love your writing.

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