What are those pink things floating above the water in the northwest corner of Echo Park Lake? That’s right. They are lotus blossoms. About five years after the old lotus bed died off mysteriously, the light pink-and-cream colored petals of newly planted lotus are now opening up over floppy green leaves. Are the blossoms a bit early? It’s been so long it’s hard to remember when the pink petals began to unfurl.
This new generation of lotus were planted in February as part of the clean up and renovation of Echo Park Lake, which is scheduled to reopen to the public by June 15. Aquatic plant supplier Randy McDonald, who grew the plants from a cutting taken from Echo Park Lake a few years ago, had predicted that the new plants would be blooming by this summer. He was right. The lotus, which for now are growing under black netting to protect the young plants from birds, now share the lake with other aquatic plants, including smaller water lilies that bloomed earlier this spring.
The large lotus plants and flowers – a variety of nelumbo nucifera – have been growing in the lake for decades, with the plant serving as an icon for Echo Park and an annual Lotus Festival held in the park. The Lotus Festival will not return until next year but these blooms will greet the public when the park reopens next month.