First Friday Focus in Philadelphia City Paper

March 4, 2009 - Philadelphia, PA

by Lori Hill

In a move that would make Seymour and Audrey smile, the Chemical Heritage Foundation is showcasing hungry carnivorous plants. And not solely with visual representations—they've got the real things. "sLowlife" is a traveling multimedia exhibition courtesy of the United States Botanic Garden, the Chicago Botanic Garden and Roger Hangarter of Indiana University that explores the often ignored, largely unnoticed maturation of plants. Through time-lapse photos and short movies, the show captures what we miss when walking past the plants in our lives. Turns out, we miss a lot: cut tulips in a vase perking and rising, gaping and closing, sighing and falling through their short, happy lives; sunflower and corn seedlings stretching and swaying in their devotion to light; the even more invisible lives of roots, quietly taking hold of their homes in the soil. (Check out the companion site,, for a sneak peek—but it's not a substitute for seeing the real thing.) 

CHF has added its own twist to "sLowlife" that gives it even more cred among plant lovers: Thanks to two local gardeners, 2004 Flower Show winner Martha Miller and chemist/carnivorous plant enthusiast Joe Rucker, First Friday visitors will witness terrarium-enclosed insect eaters and Venus flytraps chowing down on bugs. "What little kid can resist plants that eat bugs?" asks Rucker, who got hooked on bloodthirsty plants by seeing them in the Pine Barrens when he was young. "I still think they're really cool." Rucker and Miller will be on hand to discuss their fascination with the plants and answer questions. Rucker seems particularly excited about sharing the plants live with the public, as an enhancement to the photos and films. "The nice thing about carnivorous plants is that some of them don't require time-lapse photography; you can see them in action right before your very eyes."...

Link to PCP

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