Garden Diary - April 2017

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Chihuly Exhibition at the New York Botanical Garden
Part One: At the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory
Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Two years in the planning. Some pieces already extant, others created specifically for this exhibition. From concept to sketches, then each piece made from the wondrous amalgam of heat and sand, transformed into translucent, luminous glass in Dale Chihuly's studio. Disassembled, carefully packed, and a caravan of trucks drives from Seattle, Washington across the country to New York City. And here, at the New York Botanical Garden, Chihuly's fascination with glasshouses finds the latest of his Garden Cycle exhibitions. The exhibition will be open to the public from April 22 through October 29, 2017. Today is the press preview.

Pass the Nancy Bryan Luce Herb Garden, the Jane Watson Irwin Perennial Garden,
and the iconic glass dome of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory is revealed.

The plaza in front of the conservatory already has a throng of people.
But what is this golden medusa, glowing even on an overcast day?

It is Sol de Citron, the first piece we'll see. And how nice that
the security guard's vest coordinates with the lemon yellow sun.

Just look closely, and admire the intricate level of detail.

Into the Palm Court where Blue Herons and Fiori dance above the water.

Context is important. Back in the summer of 2006 the Blue Herons
flocked outdoors, above the water of the tropical water lily pool.

In the upper right corner, anthuriums in flower balance the fiori.

Out we go to the Waterlily Courtyard to marvel
at the 30 foot tall Scarlet and Yellow Icicle Tower.

The hardy water lily pool is not yet in growth, let alone in flower.
But colorful, angular rods twist and connect at the far end.
Neon 206 is a multicolor installation. Why 206? It is Seattle's
area code. And there are, or once were, 206 neon rods.

Dale Chihuly, Neon 206, 2017, The New York Botanical Garden

Why display it here? For the terrific reflections in the lily pool,
especially at night. As wonderful as they are when lit by the sun
the magical nighttime energy of Chihuly Nights will be spectacular.
Saturdays, April 29 - June 24; Thursdays, July-August, and
Thursdays-Saturdays, September-October, 6:30-10:30 p.m.

Into the conservatory's Seasonal Display Gallery. White Tower
with Fiori, and I begin to appreciate the incredible pairing
of glass and garden. The assurance is that the glass was
first and then plants chosen to harmonize, complement.


If we were told that the plants came first and the glass second,
we'd nod in complete agreement. The matching up is that good.

Purple spires fronted with purple lavender.

These blue Garden Fiori play with the straplike silver leaves that
in turn appear to add some subtle stripes to the rich blue glass.


This is the section of the Seasonal Display Gallery that stuns us all.
Which is the glass, and what are the plants?


In addition to the Conservatory exhibition, there are other pieces on display in the rotunda of the library building, in the gallery, and out on the grounds. You can have a glimpse of some pieces here.

Opening April 22, Earth Day weekend, the exhibition runs through October 29, 2017. The Garden is open Tuesday through Sunday, and Monday federal holidays, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., with special evening hours for Chihuly nights as noted above. The Garden is easily reached by car or Metro North trains. For ticket pricing you may call 718.817.8700 or visit nybg.org

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