The Denver Botanic Gardens Prepares for a Big Stink

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Ah, the sweet smell of victory. As if winning top honors for 2018 from the American Public Gardens Association wasn't enough, the Denver Botanic Gardens may soon be honored with a second smelly bloom: Stinky, the DBG's prize amorphophallus titanum, or corpse flower, is expecting.

Horticulturists predict the blessed event will occur in early to mid-September. The then-fifteen-year-old Stinky first bloomed in August 2015, and people lined up around the block to get a whiff of the DBG's first corpse flower bloom, which let off an odor that smelled like decaying flesh. A second plant, Little Stinker, blossomed in 2016, though the smell was not as spectacularly horrific.

Stinky is currently on view in the Orangery greenhouse, adjacent to Marnie's Pavilion, where horticulturists are measuring the plant daily. It is currently just over two feet tall and will grow to be more than five feet tall, according to the DBG. The corm (see photo at right) is larger than it was in 2015, which could indicate that the bloom will be larger...and potentially smellier. But the plant will not smell until it blooms, if it blooms. According to experts, the corpse flower first blooms when it is between seven and fifteen years old; subsequent blooms follow every three to eight years.

If Stinky does bloom, the potency of the aroma increases from late evening until the middle of the night and tapers off as morning arrives. Still, the Gardens will maintain regular hours during the bloom, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. On the bloom day, Gardens members can enter an hour early, at 8 a.m.

For regular updates, go to the Gardens website and Facebook page.

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