Chihuly in the Gardens
Denver Botanic Gardens & Desert Botanical Gardens
As we stroll the Denver Botanic Gardens and admire the Chihuly glass installations we’re reminded of seeing some of these same extraordinary pieces in the Sonoran Desert setting of the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix, Arizona.
Variations between an arid dessert and a mile-high Rocky Mountain environment offers interesting contrasts. Saguaro and a plethora of other cacti, palms and palo verde create the backdrop in Phoenix. In Denver themes include Rock Alpine, Lilac, Woodland, Montane, Japanese and plains gardens.
Although Denver has a semi-arid climate, there are more water features in the gardens giving additional visual opportunities. Boats dry docked in the desert rest in lily pad studded ponds with striking reflections.
We’ve been fortunate to see Chihuly permanent collections and special exhibitions in museums and gardens in a dozen cities. There may be similarities but no two shows are identical. In fact there may be changes during the course of an exhibition. Special glass pieces may appear in entirely different arrangements.
Please enjoy this slide show featuring the contrasting installations seen in earlier shows at the Desert Botanical Gardens and the current one at the Denver Botanic Garden (open until November 30, 2014).
We always see something we’ve never seen before, a new creation making every exhibition unique.
Chihuly in the Denver Botanic Gardens
Denver Botanic Gardens hosts Dale Chihuly’s glass creations from June thru November 2014. Thousands of glass pieces placed among the garden’s plantings draw large daily attendance. We joined the admirers yesterday, spending four hours appreciating not just the Chihuly exhibits but also the lush gardens which are looking exceptional. We noted the large crew of volunteers working meticulously to keep everything looking its best.
Pools and waterways provide marvelous mirrors for many of the glass works. We had the fortunate opportunity to see some of these same installations this spring at the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix. Watery reflections create entirely different views.
While photographing the White Tower a lady commented that she thought the best view was from the east, down a long green grassy stretch. I prefer the mirror image the pond provides. To each their own.
I also recommend taking time to observe individual components of the installations. It’s easy to admire the overall visual effect but looking at a single element or small groupings proves worthwhile. Does that single blue piece in the Monet Pool remind you of a waterfowl bending to feed?
I loved listening to children’s reactions and views of the glass and gardens. At a viewpoint for the Blue and Purple Boat a five-year-old thought the purple pieces looked like frog feet reaching for the water. I’ve seen those same pieces several times, frog feet never entered my mind but upon consideration I thought, he’s right.
Bob labeled the blue pieces floating nearby Hershey Kisses; Chihuly calls them Walla Wallas after the famous Washington onions. It’s all in one’s perception.
We were so taken with the gardens we almost forgot to visit Boettcher Memorial Center and Tropical Conservatory. Of course there’s Chihuly works incorporated among the plantings plus a small viewing area for a video – worth seeing but unfortunately the facility chosen is only one-tenth the size needed.
We found it interesting that a month into the exhibit the Chihuly team had arrived with another semi-truck of glass and were placing additional installations along the O’Fallon Perennial Walk and The Eclipse. Apparently when Dale Chihuly visited the opening he felt these areas were a little spare and, always the perfectionist, wanted to make some additions.
All the more reason to return plus the fact that seeing the show at different times of day, under varying lighting conditions and through the summer and fall seasons will always offer something new.
Lilies in Bloom
Denver Botanic Gardens
A visit to the Denver Botanic Gardens today brought many pleasures including a large variety of lilies in the peak of their bloom. Temporary Dale Chihuly glass installations throughout the gardens (through November) draws large admiring crowds. I’ve never seen the gardens looking so good. We found we took as many flower pictures as we did of the glass. As much as we admire Chihuly’s creativity, Mother Nature is up to the challenge and holding her own.
When You Go: Denver Botanic Gardens, 1007 York St., Denver, CO, 720-865-3501, http://www.botanicgardens.org/.