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A Chihuly garden of glass opens in Seattle

June 05, 2012|By Chris Barton
  • Dale, left, and Leslie Chihuly walk into the garden area and past the Glasshouse during a preview of the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit.
Dale, left, and Leslie Chihuly walk into the garden area and past the Glasshouse… (Elaine Thompson / Associated…)

It's generally understood when approaching a public garden that it's not a good idea to manhandle the scenery. At the new Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit in Seattle, however, the stakes get a lot higher if any visitors get a little too aggressive in their engagement with the great outdoors.

The largest display of Chihuly's signature glass sculptures in the world, the Chihuly Garden and Glass exhibit attempts to split the difference between the wonders of the sculptor's surreal, technicolor inventions and complimentary wonders from nature's palette.

In one area, black mondo grass sets the stage for a tangled and rather furious-looking sun form by Chihuly, while elsewhere Dr. Seuss-like squiggles of blue anemone-like creations merge with similarly colored eryngium and hydrangeas.

While the bizarrely alien (and fragile-looking) Chihuly sculptures created specifically for the exhibit are sure to be a draw, one writer for the Seattle Times' magazine imagines that the natural wonders also taking root in the garden beneath the Space Needle will offer uniquely organic pleasures in their own right.

"Not many public landscapes are garnished with a grove of Davidia involucrata, a tree well worth a pilgrimage," she wrote. "In late May and early June, large, soft, white flowers hang from the trees' branches to flutter in the breeze like snowy doves."

And, as an added bonus for clumsier visitors, those flowers are a lot easier to replace if you happen to nudge one off its branches.

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