San Francisco stumps 

Marina District

West Portal




Terra the titan arum has been the talk of the town this week. She is currently on view at the Conservatory of Flowers where she began to bloom earlier today. I had the chance to check out this rare sight and smell after work. This is what I learned from my visit:

Terra was donated by a San Francisco resident who raised her for four years until she became too big for her owner’s bathroom.

The titan arum is the largest unbranched inflorescence in the world and native to Indonesia. A bloom occurs every 7-10 years and the flower emits a strong and foul odor that is often compared to rotting animal flesh in order to attract pollinators. Its putrid smell also gives the titan arum another name – corpse flower. I wonder how the smell compares to durian.

The bloom and smell is said to last for 48 hours and that Terra will be her stinkiest this evening. If you’re local, the conservatory’s hours have been extended for the next few days. There’s also a nice butterfly exhibit next door if the stench gets to be too much.


Plant reporter for scale

For those of you who cannot see Terra in person, you can watch the Corpse Flower Live Stream.


These suspended plants were seen on a recent trip to New York at Marlborough Contemporary. German artist Julius von Bismarck created this installation for the exhibit Good Weather. I found it humorous that the concrete column in the middle of the space could be mistaken for a tree trunk. If you look take a closer look, there are a few pressed chickens which I didn’t see until now. For those of you in New York, the show runs until tomorrow, May 20.

Hang in there 

A plant hangs between two apartment buildings in San Francisco, while grabbing onto a nearby telephone pole for support.

Palms: indoor vs. outdoor

I saw these palms inside a marbled atrium in downtown San Francisco. I don’t think a haircut will solve the issue of vertical growth overtime so I wonder what happens when they reach the top.


Meanwhile in the Mission District, these tall palm trees align busy sidewalks. If you happen to encounter these trees on a windy day, you might find some of them swinging in an unsettling manner.


Tree Haircut

How many people does it take to give a tree a haircut? One human to trim and one extra to collect all the clippings. This was spotted on Sutter Street in San Francisco.

Tight Spaces

San Francisco can feel claustrophobic at times. Perhaps, this sentiment may be shared among our green friends who also live in tight spaces.



The thought that this cactus will grow any taller makes me slightly uncomfortable.

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Never Let Me Go

Every so often, while walking through the city, I come across a chain link fence like this one. It tells the story of a relationship past. Surely we all recognize the feeling, we have all been indelibly marked by someone who was once close but has since gone away?

Though the friend may be gone, he always leaves something of himself behind.

Or maybe this fence could just use a good flossing!

Seating for one in Japantown


This chair was spotted in Japantown last weekend. The stump seems to be taller than most tree stumps found on the streets of San Francisco. The chair has a back, high armrests and is slightly elevated from the ground. It received some attention from a few passersby but no one curious enough to sit in it except for me. It is functional for a small and petite adult or a child but it was a bit low to the ground and snug when wearing a long coat. I imagine it doesn’t get much use given its location and the intimate view of an apartment complex’s entrance. It was surprising to see something that often goes unnoticed receive much attention from its maker and from the pedestrians that day. 

Music for Plants

In 1976, Canadian-born composer Mort Garson released an album called Mother Earth’s Plantasia to be played for growing plants. Maybe your spider plant been looking a bit gloomy lately. Perhaps, you can cheer it up with “Symphony for a Spider Plant” or other songs on this album. The compositions are playful and delightful but the album makes me curious about the topic of music’s influence on plants. A quick search led me to a few articles about theories and studies on this subject, such as this one. I wonder how the growth of urban plants compares to the growth of plants in their natural habitats.

Garson’s plant-based opus looks to be out of print but I was able to find a fun track entitled “Swinging’ Spathiphyllums” below. Hope you can enjoy this with your plants at home!