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  Dr. Bogner's Fest
From: Al Wootten <awootten at nrao.edu> on 2004.03.08 at 17:18:51(11238)
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 Kalanchoƫ 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,

From: "Julius Boos" <ju-bo at msn.com> on 2004.03.09 at 00:54:46(11240)
Dear Al,

Thank you so very much for sharing this experience with all of us, very kind of you!
I bet most if not all of us would have just LOVED to be there to share in Josef`s triumph!



From: Aroideae at aol.com on 2004.03.09 at 01:52:43(11241)
dear al----thank you so much for taking the time to write this up! what a
wonderful story. wish i could have been there. sounds like it was very big
ceremony and celebration......well-deserved too!


From: "Susan Cooper" <coops at execpc.com> on 2004.03.09 at 13:05:21(11244)
Thanks Al,
A great account- for all of us that wish we had been there!

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