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[aroid-l] Dr. Bogner's Fest

  • Subject: [aroid-l] Dr. Bogner's Fest
  • From: Al Wootten <awootten@nrao.edu>
  • Date: Mon, 8 Mar 2004 12:18:51 -0500

The exploits of many of you in this group make a group devoted to aroid
taxonomy and culture much more interesting than it might 
sound to many.  I've secretly always wanted to traipse through the jungle 
myself, to witness exotic plants in their natural habitat.  Several 
members were in Munich last Friday, where that very afternoon one of the more
famous of these taxonomist adventurers, Josef Bogner, was to
be given an honorary doctorate at the wonderful Munich Botanical 
Garden.  I had been at a 'retreat' for the ALMA telescope at Schloss Elmau,
further south in the Bavarian Alps.  The meeting dragged; my presentation
was among the last and I was three hours late, of course, 
when I arrived.  I wasn't sure in which building the ceremony was to be 
held so I went to the Greenhouse,  which holds a marvelous aroid
collection, but it closed just as I approached.  No one there knew 
English, and to my regret I have never learned German, but one older 
gentleman present perked up at the name Bogner.  Certainly, 
he would take me to the ceremony, he signed.  We
 tried one back entrance, but couldn't get in.  He knew of a secret 
entrance though and soon we entered the lecture hall.  We 
could hear applause in an adjacent room; clearly I had missed the 
lectures and was late. Arrayed on the table at the front were an 
assortment of plants which Bogner had discovered or which were named 
for him, books on aroids, herbarium specimens.  Among them were Ulearum
sagittatum Engler, Stylochaeton bogneri Mayo, Gonatopus rizomatosus
Bogner et Oberm., a blooming Kalanchoë bogneri and A. konjac (I think...)
along with an enormous A. konjac tuber the size of my forearm.  There was
also a blank book.  This was the guest book, my guide told me, 
and I should certainly sign it as I had clearly come a long way to 
see Bogner at his fest.  I did.
He left and I went around to the front, where assembled on a great 
ornate stairway was a crowd drinking champagne.  On the landing 
was a hearty elderly gentleman I took to be Bogner.  One by one, 
members of the crowd were mounting the landing to tell stories.  Speaking 
no German, I can only imaging what their content was, but 
clearly they had a number of great punch lines.  A few gifts 
were proffered, among them a candle in a small flowerpot with a 
backguard in the spathe of an aroid 'flower', the candle representing the 
spadix.  I knew that Tom Croat of the Missouri 
Botanical Garden was to be here, Simon Mayo, who had been at Kew, 
and Petra Schmidt of Plant Delights nursery in Raleigh were to be there.  
However, not having seen the talks and not having met the people, I didn't
recognize them  I circulated 
for a while wearing my conference nametag.  I couldn't discern anyone 
speaking English so I returned to the lecture hall to admire the plants 
again.  Just as I was examining the herbarium speciments, Bogner 
himself entered, to the delight of the three or four others in the 
room.  He generously greeted me by tagged name and I congratulated 
him on his degree.  After a few moments more, I took the N17 tram outside 
the gates which, I discovered, went right back to the railway station.
     That evening I strolled back down to the central Marienplatz 
square in Munich, a delightful area.  I had thought of eating in the 
basement of the Rathaus (City Hall), a fantastic structure dominating 
the square with a facade of ornate medieval appearance.  But I 
was unable to locate a place to sit.  I've always enjoyed the 
atmosphere, beer and food (that order) at the Hofbraeuhaus a few blocks 
away, so I headed there.  By now it was very cold but the camaraderie 
inside dispelled the cold instantly.  I sat amidst a group which must 
have been a soccer team, had a great dunkle (dark) beer, a salad, 
porkchop marinated in beer and baked potatoes with sour cream.  It 
was delightful.  My Bavarian experience was complete, I felt, and 
it was time to return home.  After all, there was yet another three
 day ALMA meeting awaiting me in Charlottesville the next week.

Clear skies,
|Al Wootten, Slacktide, Sturgeon Creek at the Rappahannock|
|Astronomer (http://www.cv.nrao.edu/~awootten/)           |
|genealogy homepage  http://members.tripod.com/~astral    |
|Deltaville, Virginia              (804)776-6369          |

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