Yesterday, my longtime friend Bill and I went to the Missouri Botanical Garden’s 2013 Orchid Show which was themed MADAGASCAR. Madagascar is a tropical island country in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Africa, and many artifacts from that country were displayed among the exhibit of orchids. Enough for words, check the pictures. You can enlarge any picture by clicking on it.
I had four photos that I felt expressed BEYOND to me. I kept studying for a while, and I kept being drawn back to this one. It’s a photo of 19th century sculpture of an angel that flanks the Henry Shaw mansion in the Missouri Botanical Garden. The photo was taken on a sunny summer afternoon, but I thought the play of shadows from the trees and the highlights supplied by the afternoon sun gave the sculpture an etherial, other worldly quality … a mysterious step beyond the world in which we live. The gardens are a great place for just sitting around and just reflecting.
VIEWING HINT: Click on the photo to enlarge the image and check out the base of the statue to really go BEYOND.
Thankfully, there are a lot of benches around the MOBOT grounds for foot-weary visitor who have completed the 2.5 mile trek around the grounds viewing all 26 lantern creations. The break was also necessary because we’re still in the midst of summer days, and the MAGIC can’t start until the sun has set which in garden time is about 8 pm. Also those in the know didn’t start showing up until shortly before eight. We had decided we weren’t going to repeat the entire trek around the garden, and we were just going to revisit a few of our favorites we wanted to see illuminated. Don’t forget you can enlarge any picture by clicking on it.
It was a great presentation and I encourage all who can to visit it — it will run up until August 19. Dining from 5:30 – 8:00 in the Sassafras Cafe/Visiter’s Center and from 6:00 – 10:00 at the The Lantern Festival Food Court in the Linnean Plaza.
If you’ll remember, yesterday’s post left us resting on a Victorian bench in Mr. Shaw’s front yard drinking Ice Mountain Water and catching cool breezes before starting on the second half of our trek through the second half of the Chinese Lantern Festival.
We begin with GODDESS BLESSING BUDDHA …
And move on to THE FIRST EMPEROR’S QUEST FOR IMMORTALITY …
Next up is an illustration of a fable about the creation of the Milky Way THE DOUBLE SEVENTH FESTIVAL – cowherd boy marries weaver girl without asking mom who is the Goddess. Goddess gets pissed and brings girl back to heaven. Boy keeps looking for her so mom creates a wide river (aka. The Milky Way) to keep them apart. But one night a year … the seventh night of the seventh moon … all the magpies on earth fly up to heaven to form a bridge so the two lovers can be united.
From heaven we encounter THE FLYING APSARAS …
The next stop is THE FOUR FACED BUDDHA … even though you can only see three.
THE BUTTERFLY LOVERS illustrates the century old Chinese version of Romeo and Juliet …
Next is a gigantic panoramic lantern NINE DRAGON MURAL …
THE HEAVENLY TEMPLE …
THE COLORFUL FLOWER … leads us to the Garden’s official Chinese Garden …
Then on to the BLISSFUL WEDDING that reminds me of a Chinese Small World.
Which brings us to the last lantern … QILIN which is a rare creature made up of many animal forms both real and mythical. The lantern Qilin is made up of many recycled glass bottles.
But this trek isn’t over yet … come back for the GRAND FINALE when the sun sets and the lanterns light up!
Well, since it took me two days to get through the 150 pictures I took during my four hour visit to the Missouri Botanical Garden’s Chinese Lantern Festival on Thursday … this post will not only a day late, but also be sent in two parts on two days.
The Lantern Festival is this summer’s featured attraction at the Garden, and on Thursday through Sunday is has special evening hours (6 to 10) where you can view the lanterns in both daylight … and once the sun sets with their own inner illumination. Oh, and by the way, these are not your ordinary hardware store lanterns, these are the same kind of massive illuminations that were created by Chinese artisans for the Summer Olympics in Beijing four-years ago.
You get an idea of what to expect when you drive into the Garden’s parking lot and come face to face with this block long dragon. (Note: you can view any photo in a large size by clicking by clicking on it … and still larger by clicking on it a second time.)
DRAGON EMBRACING THE PILLERS The Garden’s central fountain features a large dragon surrounded by four fish like dragons …
… at each corner of the reflecting pool.
LOTUS FLOWERS and LOTUS PONDS
The Garden’s Central Axis features a face off between two PORCELAIN DRAGONS …
Both dragons are made from porcelain plates, bowls, cups and saucers … about 45,000 to create each dragon.
This SAIL BOAT was made from reclaimed plastic bottles.
You’ll discover the PANDA’S PARADISE!
Who doesn’t like cute little pandas?
But even better than pandas, we noticed Mr. Shaw himself offering us a chance to sit down and take a break. In case you didn’t know, this is Mr. Shaw’s garden. He built it around his home, and when he was done enjoying it he left it to the people of Saint Louis to enjoy forever.
And what better place to take a break — the second half of our trek continues tomorrow.
After an exceeding miserable and somewhat stormy winter and spring weather-wise, the promise of the temperature reaching the near- and even possibly mid-90′s last Wednesday had me jumping at the chance to get out of the house and do a little trekking around town.
My site of choice was a special exhibit at the Missouri Botanical Garden — better known to the locals as Shaw’s Garden.
Henry Shaw was an Englishman who at age 18 arrived in the then little river town of Saint Louis in 1818. He planned to sell the hardware that his father manufactured in England to the settlers who were moving west. And he became the richest man in the Saint Louis by the time he decided to retire and enjoy life — prior to reaching age 40.
He had always had an interest in botany, and on retiring he traveled to England to research his second passion. Returning to Saint Louis in the 1840′s he purchased several hundred acres of prairie land west of the city’s boundaries. His plan was to build a country home for himself, and inspired by the Chatsworth Gardens in England if would include a garden where he could continue his study of botany.
In 1859 he opened his gardens to the public — founding the Missouri Botanical Garden which is now the oldest continuously operated botanical garden in the United States.
This year the Garden is hosting a TREEmendous year in celebration of the United Nations International Year of The Forest. And to kick things off they just opened the exhibit of EXTREME TREE HOUSES which I set out to visit.
The exhibit consists of nine different tree houses constructed of recycled and salvaged materials and located through the garden grounds.
1 – THE NOMAD NESTThis house is made of salvaged branches and saplings woven and joined together to create a strong dome structure around a Sycamore tree. Tree stump chairs fill the interior and planters filled with wild edibles are mounted outside.
4 — INSIDE THE TREE HOUSEBuilt around a Red Oak tree, what little girl wouldn’t like to play house here?Yes, the house is sprouting from the giant “helicopter” seed pods of the maple tree. It also features solar power and a recycled rain water system. Notice even a robin dropped by to visit.
5 — THE AMAZE-ING RINGSThis house built as a maze around a Ginkgo Tree was inspited by the structure of tree rings.The two-way maze is lined with panels explaining the functions of the different parts of a tree.
Is it a fort?
9 — SWEET GUM TREE HOUSEThis tree house was designed to create a structural pathway allowing the visitor to view areas of the garden from a new perspective.I won’t explain the negative perspective it left with me. It was constructed from re-purposed materials like shipping pallets.
And that was the exhibit! So, which tree house would have turned you on when you were a kid?
And since I took over 250 photos during my sunny day garden walk, expect a few more visits to other area’s of Mr. Shaw’s Garden. Coming up soon!