Published in Boulevard Magazine August 2011
The garden centre attendant prophesied IT would soon boast a large purple spathe and spadix, (whatever those were) and we would remember this exotic plant for years to come.
We planted the pricey plant. IT grew rapidly and proudly towered over the rather docile ornamental grasses beside it. Wanting to show off our newly xeriscaped garden, a legacy from my centenarian green-thumbed Gaga… a shrewd gardener (whose personal mottos were “Don’t be a calf, and know thy weeds”), we were certain it would bloom in time for the Family Reunion.
The big day arrived. After finishing the food preparations I went outside to set the large al fresco dining table with white linen. Hearing a strange buzzing drone from the garden, I glanced over to see that IT had bizarrely doubled its height overnight. The doorbell rang interrupting my musings, and the first onslaught of family arrived.
Drinks flowed and appetizers were gobbled. My husband proudly led the familial entourage outside to give the long-awaited garden tour. As we stood expectantly under the hot sun, the first putrid assailment hit our nostrils,and our heads turned simultaneously towards the source of a thunderous buzzing sound. Hundreds of blow-flies covered the plant, and wave upon odious wave wafted various intensities of a hideous carcass-like stench, all emanating from IT.
“What, pray tell, is that?” retched an elderly aunt.
With his face tucked protectively into the crook of his arm, my husband (a literal man) staggered to the offending flora, found a plastic plant tag marker impaled into the ground, and screamed into his bicep, “A Dragon Arum, or Dracunculus vulgaris”.
“It certainly is!” my great-aunt retorted, dabbing a lace handkerchief at the tears streaming down her creased cheeks.
The prophecy proved true.
People still talk about IT.