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The Echo Park lotuses -- where the heck are they?

June 4, 2008 | 12:17 pm

Where_have_all_the_flowers_goneTake a stroll near the Echo Park Lake and it's glaringly obvious -- the famed lotus bed is a wraith-like shadow of its former self. (That's a shot of one of the few lotus leaves that have managed to poke above the water so far this year.)

Jenny Burman has been asking about the vanishing lotus in her Echo Park blog for two years now and, like the proverbial voice in the wilderness, not getting much response. Is it  something in the water? Diseased rhizomes? No one seems to know.

When_they_were_giantsTo be fair, the the lotus bloom has been erratic in recent years. In 2004, a hot May caused an early arrival, with huge pads and luscious flowers in evidence in June. (That's a photo of the 2004 bonanza, at left, by our own Luis Sinco.) In 2006, by contrast, the day of the lotus didn't hit its stride until late September.

Martin Cox, a longtime resident of The Echo who shot the sad photo above, wonders what there will be to celebrate when the annual Lotus Festival rolls around later next month. He says that he's "thinking of making T-shirts with a picture of how they once were so that people can wear them at the festival and thereby put the lotus back where it should be!"

I'll take two.

--Veronique de Turenne

Photos: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times ; Martin Cox