Thursday, April 30, 2015


I know - looks tropical, huh?  I spied two MASSIVE white blooms truly hidden in the garden.  Off the beaten path, and probably missed by mind was wandering as I was walking across the parking lot, and caught these out of the corner of my eye, in a remote section.  This was, no exaggeration, the size of a salad plate.
As near as I can find out (there was no one available to ask on Sunday), this is called an Easter Lily Cactus.  I couldn't get near to it, so these were all zoomed as far as my camera would let me.  It sat at the base of a much more imposing cactus - I went back two days later, and the bottom right was all that was left of the bloom.  Things "come and go so quickly here"...I'm sure a lot of people missed this one!

The yellows are predominant in the garden now, with most of the pink and orange blooms having already made their showing.

And THIS guy...lounging atop a Purple Cloud Ranger, as I drove into the parking lot.  Tried to get the shot through the car window, so as not to disturb him...too dark.  Actually got out of my car - I was evidently a non-threat to him, as all I got was this "look" and a few shots before leaving him in peace.  No nest - just laying on the bush!
The birds ADORE these's a cheerfully noisy place to walk through.
Even the areas that aren't heavily laden with blooms are beautiful - just a smattering of soft purple against all these sharp spines is a show stopper.  The barrel cactus are spectacular, if not menacing at the same time.  Happy Thursday - off to paint some walls...

Monday, April 27, 2015


Short on verbiage this week, but long on beauty.  An entire week of blooming cacti from the Vegas Valley.  The photos here were "enhanced" (because I was in a "pick-me-up" mood), but the blooms are really as bright as you think.  And, that cactus above is really purple - a Purple Pancake Cactus, to be exact.  The blooms are short lived, but always spectacular...all photos were taken the past three weeks at Ethel M's Cactus Garden, here in Henderson, NV.  The reds and brilliant oranges are the first to come and go every spring and were missed this year, but the rest have been mighty impressive.
And darting around the blooms on one particular plant yesterday, was this little guy - SO fast - SO bright.
He stayed long enough to drink his fill, allowing for some hastily snapped shots... 
Do you know how hard it is to follow a darting hummingbird with a camera and snap before he moves again?!  And then he was gone.

Happy Monday - back tomorrow with a little more Spring in my step! 

Thursday, April 16, 2015


For those who can't make it to Vegas before May 1st (when the Summer Display goes up...yes, SUMMER - SHUDDER!!!!!), you're in for a treat.  I, the desert dweller who can't grow a thing in the "non-soil" that is Las Vegas (not that I could grown anything if I had REAL soil, either), grab my camera on a quarterly basis and "live vicariously" through the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens .  This Spring they are celebrating the beloved Cherry Blossoms.  It is stunning, to say the least!
Over 82,000 flowers and 75 Koi fish in this gorgeousness, in addition to the non-growing display pieces.  This 18' Spring Cherry Blossom Tree was handmade for the display, taking 1,500 hours to complete.  The 3,000 lb. tree base/limbs house 300 acrylic flowers and leaves in the 20' canopy.
The 10' X 12' Japanese Tea House and surrounding gardens.  From one of the signs posted amongst the flowers, "...the tea house and gardens serve as utensils to "awaken" consciousness and to realize with humility our relationship with our surroundings and with the universe itself".
6' tall with a 6' wingspan, the beautiful crane has 1,400 cut flowers and 200 feathers.  As always with these displays, the flowers are removed on a daily basis, as they wilt and die.
Lilies and hyacinths - heavy sigh.  Those pale peach hyacinths on the bottom were "smelling up" the entire area they were in, in the most HEAVENLY of ways.  I had to drag myself away, and kept finding myself creeping back just to sniff!  It was like someone laid down an entire bottle of the most wonderful perfume.
The 26" tall Japanese Temple was inspired by Kyoto's Golden Temple.  The gold veneer doors feature wood frames with traditional rice paper Shoji screens.
There were two of these gorgeous trees in the display.  Note the raked sands/pebbles in the gardens...attention to detail is the name of the game with these gardeners.
ENORMOUS hangings of Bougainvillea and Wisteria vines from Bamboo framework.  THESE were SOOO cool!
And ALWAYS at least one Bride and Groom taking advantage of the gardens for the perfect photo op.
16' Tsukubai waterfall, emptying into a tranquil pond below.  A symbolic and "abstract" representation of Mt. Fuji rests in a bed of tulips next to the pond.  Mt. Fuji is the 35th most prominent peak in the world, rising 12,388 ft.
More shots of the splendor...including the turtle...
This happy guy is comprised of approximately 1,200 cut flowers.  Each topiary has a metal frame, holding foam in place, which is then sculpted around to create these amazing, happy pieces.
Daffodils, as far as you could see - well, not that far, but this was a huge bed, and sat behind those gorgeous, "smelly" peach colored hyacinths.  With all the beautiful things going on, this might have been my favorite spot of the whole display, just because of the colors and the fragrance!
And parasols...thirty-five of them, all hand painted.  If you live here, get down to the Bellagio quick, before it's gone.  If you're travelling through, make sure you stop in.  If you can't make it at all, I'm glad I went for you...and me!  Happy Spring, everyone!