Surreal Botany Day


“The hauntvine has bloomed. It is comforting to hear its voice after nightfall, and I will occasionally sit nearby and engage it in conversation. It doesn’t tell me anything I don’t already know, but it is nice to hear a voice speaking English after so long.

It is just a strange little plant, like nothing more than a pale squid buried halfway in the dirt. Though it is certainly not the strangest plant I have encountered over the last year. There are acres of singing grass surrounding this garden, though none of its vines dare breach the inner ring. In some of the natural pools, there are nightmare lotuses and clickweed, and I have been tempted by the tangle of Queen Victoria’s Bloomers that sway in the mud along the banks. I have even found what I believe to be a specimen of Atlantis Mandrake, and while I have considered experimenting with its fruit and the sap of the blackleaf, I am cognizant of the mortal dangers inherent in that mixture.

I am, after all, still such a child in comparison to those who have come to the garden before me. Still, what I have learned over this last year is more than I would have gained in a lifetime of working in a Western pharmacological laboratory. What I have seen while under the influence of the sap has shown me the path–the path I suspected, but barely understood. I must go back to the States soon, and begin the next phase of my journey.

I know it is just a plant, and I know that its speech is just an imitation of Mr. Gaultier, but I sense a sadness in its voice when I tell it I must go. In many ways, Mr. Gaultier’s corpse has been my only friend and companion these last ten months.”

– From Dr. Ehirllimbal’s private journal, entry dated September 12, 1955.

More information about the plants mentioned above can be found in the Field Guide to Surreal Botany, officially released today. You may order it directly, or various refined and discerning booksellers will be carrying it shortly.

Some context for Dr. Ehirllimbal’s journal can be teased out of The Potemkin Mosaic.