ECHO PARK — Pink and cream-colored blossoms have already begun to emerge above the floppy green leaves of Echo Park Lake’s famed lotus bed. But, only a few weeks before the annual Lotus Festival, large sections of the lotus bed in the northwest corner of the lake appear to be empty, devoid of flowers as well as leaves. “I don’t think the lotus are coming back as full as last year,” said Thomas DeBoe, a frequent park goer who lives across the street from the lake.
One corner of the bed looks lush and crowded with leaves and blooms. But the rest is spotty, especially around the middle section where relatively few leaves have emerged from the water.
“We were out walking around the lake a few days ago, and I thought the same – fewer plants this year,” said Stephen Roullier, whose home overlooks the lake. However, he notes, the plants “that have come up look healthy enough and about to bloom.”
The lotus – a variety of nelumbo nucifera – have been part of Echo Park Lake for decades until they died mysteriously nearly a decade ago. When the lake was drained as part of a massive renovation, new lotus, which were grown from a cutting taken from one of the original plants, were replanted in the lake in early 2013. The aquatic plants grew quickly and began to bloom a few months later.
Why isn’t the bed so lush this year? Some residents have speculated that the recent weeks of relatively cool and overcast weather may have something to do with it. Other blame workers who were seen tromping across the bed when the leaves were harvested last fall.
“Maybe it’s those damn Red Eared Sliders chewing at the roots?” said Roullier of the turtles that people dump into the lake.
With the temperatures expected to rise later this week, maybe the hotter weather will give the lotus bed the needed boost to fill in those empty spots.
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