Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Denver Botanical Gardens

Thursday, Sept 29th, my mother and I went to the Denver Botanical Gardens. The few days before had been hot, but Thursday was predicted to be cooler, and blessedly, it was. 

I know we had been to the gardens once before, when I was in high school, but Mom didn't remember ever seeing them. And of course, nothing is the same 40 years later anyway!

The facility boasts a large glass covered tropical garden, Monet Lily Pond, Japanese garden, many sculptures (currently about 20 by New Mexican artist Allen Hauser), a lovely annuals alley,  memorial garden and a scripture garden which had symbols (if not actual scriptures) from most of the world's major religions.

A single lily in bloom.

Miraculously (maybe on purpose?) the Monet Lily Pond featured evenly spaced water lilies, each with a single bloom.  The tea house, in the Japanese garden, was not open for business, but the garden and water features were well designed with small gravel pathways through neatly trimmed forests. 

We met a woman from Saudi Arabia who was very friendly and loved the opportunity to practice her English and exchange stories. She was fascinated by my freckled skin, and my mother's much lighter tone. So Mom told her a story about how Allah had created people, but when he was cooking them the first time, he didn't cook them long enough, hence there are Americans (pale). Then he cooked the next batch too long and they became the Africans. The third batch were just the right color, so they are the Arabs. The lady was delighted and kissed my mother on each cheek, much to Mom's surprise. (I know that old fable, the Mexicans tell it often to explain why they are perfect in God's eyes. But stories should be altered to suit the moment!) 

The Botanical gardens are a perfect place to spend many hours enjoying the sunshine, soft breezes, the wonderful aromatic scents that waft past, and perhaps to learn the names of some plants. The plant identification documentation was quite good, there are plenty of places to sit, art to admire, and all under that deep blue Colorado sky with drifting white clouds. 

We ate a nice lunch in the cafe. Unlike many similar attractions, the park food was tasty and not outrageously expensive. There were many entrees, all of them pre-prepared like sandwiches and baked potatoes. The salads were fresh and light, and they carried a good selection of bottled drinks to chose from. Not gourmet fare, but certainly healthy and quick. 

A delightful day. We spent about six hours there, and didn't see everything. I read later in the brochure that we'd missed the labyrinth in a corn field. I'm not sure where the corn field was, we must have walked right past it and not realized it was anything special. 

Hauser Sculpture of three women.

Japanese garden with misting fountain

Inside the tropical dome

Ducks in the tropical "river"