Thursday, June 14, 2012 Home

Denver Botanic Gardens

The Denver Botanic Gardens were high on my Denver “must see” list even before I knew that the current kizuna exhibit featured large bamboo sculptures by Tetsunori Kawana and Stephen Talasnik.  A garden filled with massive tangles of bamboo woven into sculpture? Sounds fabulous!

While I want to head straight out into the gardens in search of more tangles of bamboo, my husband wants to start in the topical section in the Boettcher Memorial Conservatory. It seems too warm a day to be inside a greenhouse, so I’m glad to discover that is no hotter inside than outside AND it is filled with wonderful plants from our favorite garden in Hawaii!
There are orchids and other cheery tropicals nearby too, which is always a good thing.
Back outside, the gardens are a riot of color.
 
 
The kizuna show is impossible to miss. The Monet Pool is stuffed with Talasnik’s delicate floating sculptures. . . and I mean STUFFED with them.

The scene is strange, captivating, mesmerizing . . . but cluttered. Rather than ethereal and serene, so many sculptures packed so closely together feels busy and confused. It looks a bit like a floating junkyard – tangles of flotsam set loose on the pond, perhaps washed there from some storage area in the Japanese garden. There is simply too much for this small space.  Like the Kirkland Museum, an application of the philosophy “less is more” is in order. Since it wasn’t, I find myself focusing in on the few patches of open water I can find, trying to create a less cluttered, more thoughtful composition in my camera lens. 

 
 
They are wonderful pieces, mind you. They just would be a lot more wonderful if there were half as many of them floating here!

Trying to visually cut through the clutter turns out to be rather exhausting. Time to focus on something with simple, sharp, clean lines. . . like cacti!
 I’ve been to the dessert southwest a few times, but never at the right time to see many cacti in bloom. That’s always been a disappointment, as it is something I’ve always wanted to see. I never would have guessed that I would catch that show in Denver, but here it is!
The Japanese garden also provides a visual respite, albeit of a very different sort.
As is probably apparent by now, the garden is composed of numerous smaller gardens, each with a different theme. They merge, meld, and contrast with each other as I move through them. 
 
 

Of course, many of the beds serve as both frame and foil to Tetsunori Kawana’s grand, rolling bamboo waves, waves that appear to glide across the landscape even as they are forever frozen in time.
 

Information on the Botanic Garden, including hours and entry fees, can be found on their website.
  • There is also a map of the gardens that includes the bamboo installations.
  • Kizuna runs through November 4, 2012, with a variety of exhibits and programs.
  • There are a couple places to get a light lunch available in the gardens or just to take a break.
Like the museums, the Botanic Garden is providing free admission for bloggers here for the TBEX     conference. (I feel like I’ve already got my money’s worth for my conference registration and the conference hasn’t even started yet!)

Next post: A Lift to the Sunset at Keystone    
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