Some plants bloom frequently. Others bloom once a year. What is slightly more unusual is a plant that only blooms once every 7-10 years. The Titan Arum is one such plant and an example lives in the Amazon Spheres in Seattle. Purely by coincidence, we happened to visit the Spheres when it was blooming. We had actually missed the peak opening by a day and it was starting to close up again. It had also had a hole cut into the side to allow pollination artificially. But this was a small price to pay for seeing something so unusual.
One feature the plant is known for is a smell of rotting flesh when it is blooming. This is supposed to attract insects that then assist with pollination. There was a bit of an odor but, to be honest, I wasn’t conscious of it being too bad. Maybe there is a peak period of stinkiness and we missed it or maybe the story has been slightly overblown. Either way, it was very lucky that we happened to be there during the blooming process and now we might have to wait a few years before it happens again.
When Chris and Sam visited, Sam had a list of things she wanted to do. I have to admit that one of those things I had no idea existed until she mentioned it. Having been here eighteen months and also having been through the area involved a couple of times, this was a bit embarrassing. The subject is the Amazon Spheres. Amazon seems to control a lot of territory in Seattle these days but, while most of this is in traditional office space, the Spheres are something different.
They are an environmental space that encompasses a wide range of plant life. It is designed to be used by employees as they have meetings or not to work alone for a while. They can relax in these spaces. At the weekends, though, it is sometimes made available for the public to visit for free. You just have to book a slot. We didn’t know about this when Sam and Chris were here so we only saw them from the outside. However, we did then know a little more and were able to plan a visit when Tom and Lenore came to stay.
The interior of the Spheres is something that you can guess at when you are looking from outside but being inside is totally amazing. The huge diversity of plant types throughout the space is incredible. The engineering of the spheres themselves and of the stairs and walkways within are very cool to someone with that sort of background like me. The ability to sustain the plants and keep them fed and watered is impressive and every turn takes you to something new and interesting. Couple that with some cool workspaces for the staff to use for meetings and you have a unique building complex. I would happily go back there on another occasion just to hang out and relax while possibly photographing more of the plants. I could probably have multiple posts of shots from this place but I shall make do with a combination of architectural shots and some of the plants for now. If you are planning on coming to Seattle, try and time it to coincide with one of the open weekends and give yourself enough time.