Corpse. Corpse flower. It turns out “corpse” can be a hard word to spell repeatedly. I keep typing “corpose.” If you’re wondering, “Is this corpse flower thing a work of fiction?” the answer is… no! It almost sounds fictional, right? In fact, when I told my critique partner about my visit to see the corpse flower when it was (almost!) in bloom, he said it sounds like something that should be in one of our stories.

But it’s not! It’s a real plant. The corpse flower is a rare plant that doesn’t bloom often and only for about 24 hours (I believe) when it does. It also smells like rotting meat. Apparently, the main pollinators for this plant are insects that are attracted to that sorta scent, so… it does what it has to do when it blooms to try and keep its species going.

The College of Biological Sciences Conservatory has a corpse flower and Chauncy bloomed this spring. Throughout the last year I’ve developed a little bit of an obsession with plants, so as soon as I heard there was a rare, smelly flower that was about to bloom in the Twin Cities I had to go. The conservatory had special hours in honor of Chauncy, so a friend, my niece, and I made our way out to visit the plant the Saturday before he bloomed.

I absolutely loved our visit to this conservatory. As much as I love the beautiful, polished displays at the Como Zoo Conservatory, this one was special because it’s a working conservatory. There are tight spaces and notes that tell those who tend to the plants how to care for them, but it’s a lot of fun to see all of that.

Also, cold weather tip: if you live in a cold, snowy, barren wasteland like Minnesota during winter and you need a little something to revive your icy soul, go to a conservatory. They have heat and green plants and we may have camped out in the desert room for a while.

But without further ado, let’s get into the photos of some of the plants we saw and I’ll introduce you to Chauncy!

Visiting Chauncy, the corpse flower, when he bloomed at the University of Minnesota Conservatory. // dreams-etc.com

The excitement pulsed as we followed the signs to find the Corpse Flower. (And see: white, snowy, barren wasteland of winter. Good time to escape into a conservatory and pretend you’re on a tropical island/in a cloud forest/sweatin’ it out in the desert.)

Visiting Chauncy, the corpse flower, when he bloomed at the University of Minnesota Conservatory. // dreams-etc.com

We weren’t quite sure where the guest of honor was, but we knew we wanted to see everything the conservatory had to offer, so we went through room-by-room. I should ask Anna what she’s looking at in the water because each time we’ve visited (all of two times) she’s spent time over there while I’ve said hello to these guys:

Visiting Chauncy, the corpse flower, when he bloomed at the University of Minnesota Conservatory. // dreams-etc.com

I have a fascination with carnivorous plants. Doesn’t it look like he’s saying hi? (And now I’ve probably lost all of you. 😂 If I didn’t already with “smelly corpse flower.)

Visiting Chauncy, the corpse flower, when he bloomed at the University of Minnesota Conservatory. // dreams-etc.com
Visiting Chauncy, the corpse flower, when he bloomed at the University of Minnesota Conservatory. // dreams-etc.com

I would love to get into the nursery to see their setup. Everyone says propagation is easy, but I have yet to be successful. Once we saw what looked like the start of roots forming, but a few weeks after they appeared the entire thing wilted.

Visiting Chauncy, the corpse flower, when he bloomed at the University of Minnesota Conservatory. // dreams-etc.com
Visiting Chauncy, the corpse flower, when he bloomed at the University of Minnesota Conservatory. // dreams-etc.com

Visiting Chauncy, the corpse flower, when he bloomed at the University of Minnesota Conservatory. // dreams-etc.com
Visiting Chauncy, the corpse flower, when he bloomed at the University of Minnesota Conservatory. // dreams-etc.com

After looking at some other beautiful flowers, the room that Chauncy was in finally cleared out and we had a chance to meet him.

When we saw Chauncy he hadn’t bloomed yet and he didn’t smell. We were there on Saturday and they predicted he’d bloom on Tuesday, so my friend went back that evening. He still hadn’t bloomed, but apparently he smelled like dead mice and it was a pungent aroma. I have to say I’m not incredibly sad I missed out on the scent, but it was cool to have a chance to see Chauncy.

Visiting Chauncy, the corpse flower, when he bloomed at the University of Minnesota Conservatory. // dreams-etc.com
Visiting Chauncy, the corpse flower, when he bloomed at the University of Minnesota Conservatory. // dreams-etc.com
Visiting Chauncy, the corpse flower, when he bloomed at the University of Minnesota Conservatory. // dreams-etc.com

And after we spent some time with the person who was stationed by Chauncy to learn more about corpse plants we continued touring the conservatory.

Visiting Chauncy, the corpse flower, when he bloomed at the University of Minnesota Conservatory. // dreams-etc.com
Visiting Chauncy, the corpse flower, when he bloomed at the University of Minnesota Conservatory. // dreams-etc.com
Visiting Chauncy, the corpse flower, when he bloomed at the University of Minnesota Conservatory. // dreams-etc.com
Visiting Chauncy, the corpse flower, when he bloomed at the University of Minnesota Conservatory. // dreams-etc.com

And if you made it this far, that’s really kind of you! Are you a fellow plant nerd, too? 🤓Here’s a vlog so that you can join us on our adventure!

And if you’d like, you can Pin this post and return to it later!

Visiting Chauncy, the corpse flower, when he bloomed at the University of Minnesota Conservatory. // dreams-etc.com

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  • I wasn’t particularly close to my aunts and uncles growing up. I was born when my parents were a little older and I always felt like my aunts and uncles had done the aunt and uncle thing and didn’t need more of it by the time I was born.

But my Uncle H and Aunt J were different. When my uncle was dying I was asked what some of my biggest memories were. This question came up again over the weekend. And there were so many to choose from. The biggest was, of course, sticky buns on Sunday morning. (And usually going to the store with him to get them.) There was also ✨ “driving” the tractor through the fields on the farm
✨ fishing during the summer
✨ trips to the store and getting a candy bar that I didn’t have to tell my parents about (but always did)
✨ talking about his Spanish classes
✨ “scaring the fish away” by talking, but he was fine with me talking anyway
✨ driving the boat...and starting to fill the boat with water when I went too fast, but he wasn’t upset
✨driving the golf cart around the golf course
✨ listening to his stories about his time in the army

He wasn’t a perfect man and I saw that once I was an adult. But for someone who was only close to one uncle growing up, he’s part of some of my best childhood memories. 💙
  • ”I am going to try to pay attention to the spring. I am going to look around at all the flowers, and look up at the hectic trees. I am going to close my eyes and listen.” [Anne Lamott]

The last time I was here it was cold and the ground was covered in snow. I said goodbye to my uncle. (That sentence still brings tears to my eyes.) Now it’s (slightly) warmer and the world is waking up after winter. This weekend I was thankful for 🌻 the chance to enjoy a beautiful view of Lake Michigan with my dog in my lap
🌻 a family brunch
🌻 followed by a family dinner the same day
🌻 fresh WI cheese curds
🌻 long talks with my cousin

What were you thankful for this weekend?
  • Lake Michigan was barely visible when we left this morning. It was fun to see how the view of lake changed each day—and throughout the day!—this weekend.
  • I guess I didn’t have to worry about whether or not the dogs would get along. 🤷🏻‍♀️😂
  • Hello, Lake Michigan. 👋🏼
  • When you think they finally placed an order for you...and then they make you get off the chair. 😒 Swipe to see other photos from my day: 🐾 Met my human’s aunt and I was cute.
🐾 Asked my grandhuman for tummy rubs.
🐾 Realized my tummy rubs weren’t his priority. 🙄
🐾 Met two Doodles and my human pet one of them... so if you’d like a human, I’m getting rid of mine. No time for that kind of betrayal.
  • We’re headed on an adventure! Mina’s handling the longest road trip she’s been on like a champ. While at a rest stop we met a man wearing a “Dogs are my favorite people” shirt (👏🏼👏🏼) and his German Shepherd, who fell in love with Miss Mina. Can you blame him? Who wouldn’t fall in love with her? #littleonesadventures
  • Goodnight moon. 🌙

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