Alien Flowers Invade Washington

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Photo by CGIOS

I thought about calling this post “The Day My Boyfriend Threw My Ice Cream in the Trash Can and Then Tried to Distract Me With Hats,” because once your boyfriend tosses your ice cream, it’s hard to remember what else happened that day. (I will get to the alien flowers in a second.)

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Photo by CGIOS

The scene unfolds on an Annapolis sidewalk. Joe and I are eating ice cream and listening to Vasili Frankos play his viola. (You may have heard this talented guy at various metro stops in DC.) Mistakenly thinking I was finished eating, Joe throws the cup in the trash can. About 10 seconds of staring at each other in silence followed, but boy our thoughts were loud. Mine jumped from “Is this a deal-breaker?” to a more rational “Maybe there’s a way to get it out of the trash can.” I think for a split second he considered retrieving the cup of melted chocolate as well, because he looked at the can almost desperately. Then he looked back at me. I asked the obvious, “Did you just throw my ice cream away?” He brilliantly replied,”Oh look! Hats!”, grabbed my hand, and lead me into the hat store across the street to find distraction. Good for everyone involved that my sense of humor trumps my ice cream addiction.

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Photo by CGIOS

Now back to the flowers. That morning we ventured to Kenilworth Gardens to explore the aquatic flowerbeds in Northeast DC. Despite numerous recommendations from friends, I was not prepared for the sight. The park is filled with alien space flowers almost or as tall as we are. By alien space flowers, I mean lotus plants. They’re HUGE. And stunning. The sunlight seems to emanate from the plants themselves instead of the sky. Everything glows brightly. And the enormous geometry of the strange shapes of the plants take my imagination to places like the Amazon Rainforest or Africa. I was expecting ponds and ponds of lily pads, not that there is anything wrong with lily pads.

Plan to arrive earlier in the day. Once the air reaches a certain temperature, the flowers close up. I sprinkled a few photos in this post to pique your curiosity, but of course the live version is better.

Many cultures and religions have assigned meaning to the lotus flower, and meanings change depending on the color of the blooms. For example, in Buddhism, the white flower “refers to purity of the mind and the spirit.” Click on this link for more symbolism.

Walking up to the gardens, Joe asked, “Where have you taken me?”  They’re breathtaking. Go. See. Them.

While you are on that side of town, here are some other things to do:

  • Drive about 30 minutes or so to Annapolis for an afternoon stroll or boat ride.
  • Visit the National Arboretum and have a picnic.
  • Stop by Union Market for lunch, a new chef’s knife, and definitely ice cream.