My husband calls her "Audrey." I call her "Belle."  Either way, meet Nepenthes Ventricosa a long dormant member of our family who has found firm footing in our kitchen window:
I bought her a few years ago at my favorite place:  the (UC) Berkeley Botanical Garden. I spend a lot of time at the garden, when I can, just walking, or sitting and writing, or thinking and being. We picnic there and try to support the University at their semi-annual plant sales. Sometimes I think I must have been a plant or bug that lived in those acres of hilly land because it touches my soul like few other places do. 

So, since it's Sunday and there is more serious news always around the corner, perhaps you'll tell us your favorite place to just "be." 

Oh, and as for Audrey/Belle, she is full of spiders and flies that my husband catches and places in her pitchers. He's like something out of a horror movie, chuckling as he watches them float in her sticky pools. Me? My karma is too conflicted to really enjoy that. And I fear he overfeeds her. But after this blooming season, I suspect she'll go dormant again for quite some time. And I'll miss the miracle of her blooms.


11/13/2011 11:06

My favorite place to just "be" is the chair near the window and whether I'm reading by sunlight or cat-napping on a rainy afternoon, it's my piece of heaven.

11/13/2011 11:26

OMG Laura, stay away from the "Heath family (979 accessions; 614 taxa)" when you go to the UCBGarden. The wiki link you gave for Nepenthe is truly wild reading. Someone earlier said that excellent snark was one of the little-known later stages of the grief process, but I say pitcher-plant appreciation might follow right after it. Oh! Ooops: it just did.

I think Michel Pollan had it right in his "Botany of Desire": plants control us, not vice versa. I bet Audrey* is chuckling about how well she has you trained each time y'all plunk a fat bug into her maw: "These human beans -- so easy to train."

*If "Audrey" is the name of a former girlfriend of your husband's, I'd say 911 to the shrink of your choice. But I bet you are all way past that. I'm coming to like Audrey Belle too now, after what I've been through these last few minutes.

Laura Novak
11/13/2011 12:22

No, Audrey is from the Little Shop of Horrors! No ex's that I know of named that.

And yes, like Jeevsie, I suspect that Audrey Belle knows she is so well fed and has us wrapped around her exotic tendrils.

And I love to know that Barbara. A sunny window can make all the difference in the world to us. What was it that the Tao said about stillness? It makes us right with the world.

V ictoria
11/13/2011 14:40

I have a philodendron in my office that has consumed a small table and is threatening two chairs - and the next room. I am scared of it!

11/13/2011 14:58

Favorite old place to be: Berkeley Rose Garden. In the fog.

Laura Novak
11/13/2011 16:33

Yes, MicMac! High up there on that hill!

And Victoria, that is very funny indeed. Can't kill a Philo, in my experience.

11/13/2011 16:45

My favorite place is not all that far from the Botanical Garden or the Berkeley Rose Garden.

It starts about a mile in on the trail at Inspiration Point and continues for as far as I feel like walking. I can sometimes be found in the branches of a low hanging tree at the 1 mile point.

My absolute favorite places to be, though, are among the tide pools at Salt Point, and almost anywhere at Pointe Reyes in the springtime, especially Abbott's Lagoon.

Laura Novak
11/13/2011 16:50

That is just lovely, Mir. I love Bolinas as well and Dillon beach. That entire west Marin area is beyond gorgeous. A whole different world up there. Thank you for reminding me!

Laura Novak
11/13/2011 16:52

Oh! And I should add that Audrey only just sprouted these two bells. She had one about two years ago, but these two are about 2 weeks old. It's fascinating to watch them form. I can't recall how long they'll last. But usually, she's just a bunch of green leaves. And she's about 3 times the size she was when I brought her home from the garden's plant sale. So maybe she really does love all the bug bodies that my husband feeds her!

11/13/2011 19:07

11/13/2011 20:35

You should see the plants at The Dry Garden at 65th and Shattuck. Maybe the owner, Richard, can find your plant a mate.

11/14/2011 00:47

Cool plant! You may find this article interesting; it was in our local paper last weekend. This man in Palmer has a pretty serious carnivorous plant collection.

Laura Novak
11/14/2011 09:47

Palinoia, where are you? Want to see what you mean to write here! And thanks, Roger, I'm sure I know of that garden/store. and LLLoon, fun article. We had a few other "man eaters" but none thrived the way this one has.

11/14/2011 13:39

My fav place is generally anywhere that my wife is at. We have a favourite place. It's Belair National Park in South Oz. We go as far into the park as we can, hike, picnic, listen to the wild birds (all kinds of parrots and lots of kookaburras) take pics of wild koalas asleep in gum trees and spy the occasional roo or emu.

The best part is that it's only a 15 minute drive from out doorstep and we're taking MIL there this arvo.

11/16/2011 08:43

My favorite place to be is outdoors with nature. She grounds me, energizes me, clears my mind, and gives my life perspective.

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