Chinese New Year at Bellagio’s Botanical Garden

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(Fig. 01)
The theme of this winter’s exhibit at the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Garden is “Chinese New Year” and is centered around the Chinese calendar’s “Year of the Snake”. Written in calligraphy, the 'Fu' symbol on the bed of roses in (Fig. 01) means good fortune. Almost every aspect of the exhibit represents wealth and good fortune. The overall theme of the exhibit is accomplished with a quite majestic, 9-foot tall, coiled King Cobra that is covered with more than 5,000 blue and gold luminescent scales (Fig. 02). He is perched on a mound of I-Ching gold-leafed coins to signify that one’s wealth and good fortune will be protected for the next 12 months. However, I feel that the real centerpiece of this exhibit is the magnificent 35-foot Chinese junk boat (Fig. 03)with a 38-foot mast that was inspired by 15th Century fishing vessels. It floats in a pond (Fig. 04) that is filled with nearly 200 magnificent, colorful Koi. The junk is carved from teak, mahogany and cedar, it weighs a staggering 3,000 pounds.
(Fig. 06)
To symbolize prosperity, good fortune and nobility, the center aisle of the exhibit near the entrance contains an 18-foot-tall Chinese money tree(Fig. 05). This display features 384 over sized gold-leafed I-Ching coins (traditional Chinese symbol for money) on its branches, with more surrounding the base. Set in a pond of water, it is surrounded by beds of yellow chrysanthemums and symbolizes the ancient Chinese legend that a person shall grow wealthy through hard work and relying on his own sweat and blood. It is fronted by two large Ancestral "ding pots" (Fig. 06) that are used to burn incense for good luck and protect against bad fortune. These pots are filled with sticks of incense that actually appear to be burning as they emit wispy curlicues of “smoke”. There are nearly a half dozen more containers (Figs. 10 & 11) scattered about filled with lit candles inside to add to this protection against bad fortune.
With over 22,000 flowers, 660 trees and shrubs, and more than 200 Koi, there are many lovely features throughout this Chinese New Year garden to admire. The clothing on the six “lucky” children playing near the beautiful pagoda (Figs. 07, 08, 09) are covered with 1,800 carnations, spider mums and Fuji mums. Feng Shui, the art of using surroundings to bring about harmony, balance and positive life energy, guided the design of the gardens. Though I took dozens of pictures of the exhibits many flowers (see the slide-show below), the last two, shown in (Figs. 12 & 13) are Connie’s favorites.
(Fig. 02)
(Fig. 04)
(Fig. 05)
(Fig. 06)
(Fig. 07)
(Fig. 08)
(Fig. 09)
(Fig. 10)
(Fig. 11)
(Fig. 12)
(Fig. 13)

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Slideshow Description:
The slideshow above contains 43 pictures that were taken at the Bellagio's winter exhibit titled, "Chinese New Year".