As of Friday morning, one of the Volunteer Park Conservatory’s corpse flowers is now in full bloom and reportedly it “stinks to high heaven.” The Conservatory — in Volunteer Park at 1400 E Galer St — will keep long hours Friday, September 12th, staying open from 10 AM to 9 PM so as many admirers as possible can have a chance to see and smell the rare occurrence. The plant is the first titum arum to bloom at the Conservatory since 2008. Under this pungent cloud of excitement, The Friends of the Conservatory (FOC) is holding a fund drive this fall to support the greenhouse during an upcoming two-month closure when no visitor revenue will be generated.
The simplest way to get involved — after visiting Edgar, that is — is to stop by the FOC’s fall plant sale in Volunteer Park on Saturday:
The Friends of the Conservatory Fall Plant Sale offers unique tropicals, orchids, succulents & cacti for sale; similar to the plants in the Conservatory! Frequently we offer select plants directly from the Conservatory displays and collections. Our Palm House Gift Shop will feature a variety of containers for your home or office to enhance your new leafy friends!
The restoration of the Conservatory in Volunteer Park will close the more than 100-year-old building to the public from the beginning of October to the end of November. Earlier this spring, CHS reported on a series of planned closures to allow work to be completed to restore the glass, aluminum and wood structure. The $3.5 million needed for the restoration effort was raised over the course of a three-year capital campaign.
FOC is planning a gala for December 6th to ”showcase the improved Conservatory and Multipurpose Space and to personally thank you for your support and contribution.”
“We want to celebrate reopening and thank everyone for their donations,” said Anthonio Pettit of FOC.
The renovations may be new but FOC wanted to keep the building historically accurate. Construction is replacing wooden structures with aluminum along with new windows and doors that comply with fire standards but will still have the same look and feel as what was built in 1913.
Cacti and seasonal plant housing will be in the east wing along with a multipurpose space. This space will be used for classes, lectures, activities and camps. FOC already has over 30 courses in the works that will be taught mainly by volunteers. The targets ages for classes will range from early primary to adult.
The Conservatory is lucky to have one last bit of excitement before its temporary closure. The rare corpse flower rarely blooms and, when it does, the excitement and stink doesn’t last long. Within 24 hours the outside “petal” around the stamen wilts and falls to the ground.
UPDATE: It’s over. Another stink has come and gone!
Sunday, September 14 was the last day for our Titan arum to be on display. Edgar Allan PEW was well on the way to total collapse by the end of the day. Stay tuned in future years for the next big stink!