attraction in Pittsburgh last week was a flower -- not any flower, but one that stands 5 feet tall, is a native of Indonesia, blooms once every 10 years and then only for 48 hours and, oh yes, smells like putrid meat, dirty diapers or garbage -- take your pick. It started blooming at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Garden on Tuesday, which then stayed open until 2 a.m. for two nights to accommodate thousands of curious people. Amorphophallus titanium, also known as titan arum, also known as the "corpse flower," also known at Phipps as "Romero" after "Night of the Living Dead" director George Romero, had closed its petals by Thursday. Those who missed it can return to Phipps in a few years to smell the show, or else they can just sniff their kids' laundry basket or open the office fridge.
THE BOUNTY in the community gardens of city and suburbs are much more fragrant. As the Post-Gazette's Linda Fuoco reported last week, community gardens appear to be everywhere this summer, apparently "growing" in popularity although no official group keeps count. There's a reason: The nonprofit Grow Pittsburgh has partnered with the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy to help community gardens with the assistance of foundation funding. Now in its fourth year, Grow Pittsburgh operates and supervises seven gardens in the city. The organization has added the Allegheny Grows program with funding from the Allegheny County Office of Economic Development and oversees nine gardens in suburban areas. See how their gardens grow, everything from A to Z, apples to zucchini.
THE INCOMING CLASS at the University of Pittsburgh often seeks to be a record-breaking lot. Last year 3,524 freshmen sought to set a Guinness Book of World Records mark for the largest umbrella dance in one venue, a tribute to Pittsburgh favorite son Gene Kelly and his "Singin' in the Rain." On Wednesday on the lawn of the Petersen Events Center, another 3,500 students -- the class of 2017 -- formed the largest animal image formed by humans, appropriately the Pitt panther mascot, beating the previous record of a stork formed by 1,311 people at a school in Poland in 2010. Why, they won't have this much fun until they get into botany class and study the corpse flower.