Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Garden – Chinese New Year (2018)

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This page last updated on 01/30/2018
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Background: Connie and I recently I made another pilgrimage to Bellagio’s Conservatory and Botanical Garden, titled “Chinese New Year, Year of the Dog” (Fig. 01). The Conservatory at the Bellagio Casino starts the 2018 season with the Chinese New Year exhibit featuring traditional designs of the celebration, even though the actual Chinese New Year doesn't begin until Feb. 8, 2016. Chinese New Year goes by a number of names, including New Year Festival, Lunar New Year and Spring Festival.

The Chinese calendar runs in a 12-yearly cycle, with each year of the Chinese Zodiac in that cycle represented by a different animal. The dog is the eleventh sign of the Chinese Zodiac. This is your year if you were born in 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018, 2030, 2042. People born during the Year of the Dog (a symbol of loyalty and honesty) possess the best traits of human nature and are honest, friendly, faithful, loyal, smart, straightforward, venerable and have a strong sense of responsibility. On the negative side, they are likely to be self-righteous, cold, terribly stubborn, slippery, critical of others and not good at social activities. Note: Any of this sound familiar - this is my year.

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Visit Notes: Featuring more than 22,000 flowers, this exhibit is open now through March 3. Bringing prosperity and good fortune to visitors, the eye-catching experience features colorful lanterns, thousands of I-Ching coins and flowing fountains, and ding pots in addition to a larger-than-life, 18 foot high dog as the centerpiece (Fig. 02). In figure 01 you can see two gorgeous Cherry Blossom trees. As guests enter the Conservatory through the East Garden, they walk through a circular dome draped in thousands of red roses and yellow forsythia. At the garden’s edge, ding pots – ancestral vessels that protect against bad fortune – burn incense from their peaks for good luck. This walkway guides you into the alluring display by focusing on the 18-foot Siberian Husky that stands guard atop a mountain (Fig. 05) overflowing with I-Ching coins, a traditional Chinese symbol for money. Across the base of the mountain there is a large Koi pond filled with dozens of huge Koi, or more specifically nishikigoi, a colored variety of Amur carp (Fig. 06). Scattered throughout the display there are hundreds of beautiful flower beds (Figs. 07-09). As you can see in many of these pictures there are 14 orange hanging Chinese Lanterns. The two Chinese children (Fig. 10) contain more than 1,700 flowers. Even though I only captured 10 pictures of dogs (Figs. 11 & 12) there were 17 dogs scattered throughout the display.

The dog, representing loyalty and bravery, watches over two children as they play with lanterns and fireworks, joined by other dogs running and jumping through the West Garden.

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