The past couple weeks, corpse flowers have been blooming at gardens across the country. Amorphophallus titanum, or titan arum, flowers with the odor of a thousand toxic fumes, the height of two men, and draws crowds as large as any circus. The corpse flower may be most famous in the genus, but more than 170 species of Amorphophallus have been indentified, including a new one earlier this year, found in Madagascar's dry rocky soil.
This perennial hibiscus, a spectacular culmination of the rose-mallow breeding program of Walters Gardens nursery and selected from among thousands of seedlings, has enormous 9-inch-wide ruffled blooms of deep magenta with a red eye. Sturdy, full plants make a striking specimen in the garden from midsummer through early fall.
Writer James Rodewald and his wife move from New York to Marfa, Texas, and discover that the town is home to a community of artists-gardeners who coax amazing gardens out of the arid land, mixing native and non-native plants.
Petunia is the new black! Our columnist Anna Laurent investigates the "Black Velvet" petunia and its specially bred dark hues. Adored by designers and admired by breeders, the flower is the most recent addition to a trend for black-flowered plants.
A dual exhibition at Kew Botanical Gardens features Plants in Peril and Losing Paradise, showing illustrations of endangered plants through the world. The exhibition closes March 18, 2012, so go see it if you can!