Winter exhibits, classes at Denver Botanic Gardens
Memories of visits to the Frick Conservatory in Pittsburgh and then to Boettcher Conservatory at the Denver Botanic Gardens over many years relate to a favorite winter ritual - one that helps make spring and new vegetation come into one's consciousness sooner. The Boettcher visit can be enhanced this winter by visiting several art exhibits - and perhaps enrolling in a botanical illustration class. DBG is accredited as a museum as well as a garden.
Graduates from the School of Botanical Art and Illustration are displaying a selection of works from their portfolios through Feb. 9 in the El Pomar Room. The ongoing school offers nearly 200 courses and workshops through the year - in various mediums and at varying levels of difficulty; in traditional and newer techniques. Visit the DBG website to check on availability and schedules.
Also through Feb. 9 in the Gates Garden Court Gallery, there is a juried exhibition of national and international professional illustrators called "Plants, Birds and Pollinators: Art Serving Science." It aims to bring attention to the importance of pollinators in our ecological cycles - everywhere in the world. We have seen a great deal of handwringing over the shortage of honeybees of late, but need to recognize that other pollinators: butterflies, birds, moths also need to be protected and respected. Planting flowers such as the bright red ones in our illustration is a pleasant way to support these lovely creatures and enjoy the color.
Until Jan. 12, "Catalyst," a collection of sculptures by 12 Colorado artists, is placed throughout the gardens and they are a splendid reason to walk through the gardens on a sunny winter day. They will have a different look and reflect a different quality of light now even if one has visited the collection in spring or summer. A map is available on the website, or at the door.
Look forward to "Illusions in Glass: Magic Lantern Slides from the Helen Fowler Library Collection" from Feb. 19 to April 27 in the Gates Garden Court Gallery, to learn about a technique that dates back to the 1600s and predates our modern projectors and films.
One more exotic attraction: The "Orchid Showcase" in the Orangerie, west of the conservatory, through Feb. 24. DBG has a large collection of colorful orchids in many varieties, shapes and hues. Standing in the middle of a room filled with extraordinary specimens can carry one away to the tropics, if only for a few moments.
If you go:
Denver Botanic Gardens is an intensely developed 24 acres located at 1007 York St., Denver. Check denverbotanicgardens.org for hours and admission information. Also available to plant enthusiasts: Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield in South Jefferson County, offer 750 acres with its historic farm and miles of trails in several ecological systems.