Floral Surprise at the Ballagio


Tulips in Las VegasCredit: KathyRM

A couple of weeks ago we spent the weekend in Las Vegas. Even if you hate Vegas, you have to admire the construction that has gone on there. Some of the those complexes are wondrous to behold and Caesar’s Palace is everywhere, even when you walk in the opposite direction and cross the road!

Floral Faberge EggCredit: KathyRMWe went to see a Faberge exhibit at the Bellagio, next door to Caesar’s and I immediately liked the hotel. It’s very gracious and its pool area is beautiful. There are lots of nice little nooks to hang out in and we had a delicious lunch at one of the many restaurants there.

The exhibition was full of beautiful pieces made by the famous Russian jewellers, including five Faberge eggs. The intricate workings of the eggs were quite mind boggling.

I particularly liked the little smokey crystal figurines of dogs. It was sad to think that so many of the Feberge creations were destroyed to make weapons with during the war.

After leaving the exhibit, we walked through the lobby and I was enthralled by all the Dale Chihuly glass suspended from the ceiling. The Bellagio obviously chose his work to enhance its Italian theme, as Chihuly was very influenced by the glass blowers of Venice and Florence, and it is quite a sight.

Bellagio Reception, ChihulyCredit: KathyRM

We were lucky enough to go to the Chihuly Gallery in Seattle a few months ago and we fell in love with his beautiful, often massive, blown glass sculptures.

Chinese Spring Garden at BellagioCredit: KathyRMJust off the lobby I noticed some cherry trees so wandered off in that direction to discover an entire plant conservatory there. Its glass ceiling is fifty feet high and the room is filled with light. I believe they have themed gardens there throughout the year and we were just in time for the Chinese Spring Garden show to celebrate Chinese New Year.

The tulips have just started blooming in New York but here in California they have been and gone, so it was both weird and wonderful to see hundreds of them beautifully laid out in the Bellagio in the Nevada desert of all places. They were part of a wondrous Chinese landscape, complete with a pagoda, a bridge and a waterfall constructed out of bamboo. There were even carefully fabricated fruit trees with branches of fresh cherry and peach blossoms woven into their living trunks.Hyacinths and tulipsCredit: KathyRMThere were hanging gardens above us and floating flower pots in the koi-filled pond. The large-scale plantings of tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, foxgloves, cinerarias, calla lilies and chrysanthemums created a gorgeous tapestry of colors and scents as we wove our way from one area to another, intoxicated by the perfume of hyacinth and chrysanthemum.

Floral Crowned CraneCredit: KathyRM

The landscapers had interspersed yellow chrysanthemums with Chihuly’s blue glass rods and, in reverence to the Faberge exhibition, had constructed a large Faberge egg out of flowers. The pièce de résistance was a giant Crowned Crane in a bamboo cage, also constructed out of hundreds of rosebuds and spring flowers.Chihuly's GlassCredit: KathyRMOn the way out again, we discovered a shop selling Chihuly glass and I just loved this piece, Jasmine Basket. Luckily, it was already sold so I didn’t have to hanker after it for too long!

 Finally, as we left the hotel, we paused at the rock sculpture exhibition outside the front door, comprising four massive rocks on four equally impressive rock bases. That afternoon alone was worth the long drive to Las Vegas and I’m staying at the Bellagio next time I go.

Chihuly Garden Installations
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