Las Vegas Sun

January 17, 2018

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Photos: Bellagio summer exhibit overflows with birds and sunflowers


Tom Donoghue/

The Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens’ 2013 summer display photographed Sunday, June 2, 2013.

It’s only June 4, yet the temperature is over the 100-degree mark. Summer doesn’t officially start until June 21, but the forecast for this weekend has a high of 111 degrees. Guaranteed prediction: It’s going to get even hotter as we get into the dog days of the season.

No wonder that the hottest season of the year has already arrived at the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens. And what a dazzling, uplifting, lush floral exhibition created by the wizards of the Horticultural Department. This is really feel-good time.

Contributing photographer Tom Donoghue was up at 5 a.m. Sunday to capture the early morning silence broken by 50 finch birds and 12 Rosey Burkes who flew the coop to nest inside the greenhouse. These are singing, chirping creatures that must wonder why the larger-than-life birds created from seeds and organic materials soar overhead, yet make no sound and hardly move.

2013 Summer Display at Bellagio

The Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens' 2013 summer display photographed Sunday, June 2, 2013. Launch slideshow »

At center stage are the sunflowers, the traditional flower of the season. There’s one 14-foot tall sunflower with three stems shading patches of smaller sunflowers. Colorful kites dance in the summer breeze and surround a 26-foot-tall red-and-white-striped lighthouse with a rotating light. There’s a traditional wooden tree house above a colorful garden of chrysanthemums and hydrangeas.

Guests who can visit free at any time day or night through Sept. 8 can cool down from our desert temperatures at the waterfall that flows into a tranquil pond with a brick bridge and an abandoned rowboat. Each evening at 5, there’s an hour of performances by saxophone and guitar players.

Don’t miss the 6-foot-tall re-created Andy Warhol 1,000-flower interpretation of his Pop Art ad for Chanel, and then go view the “Warhol Out West” exhibit nearby at the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Arts.

In keeping with their high-standards tradition once again, the happy horticulturalists and great green-thumb gardeners have created another spectacular display. It’s so beautiful, you might not want this hot season to end and turn to fall, so you have three months to revel in those “lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer; you’ll wish summer could always be here.”

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

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