Bellagio Hotel’s Conservatory
Most people go to Las Vegas to gamble, but recently when I found myself in the city for a few days, I went searching for a garden. I didn’t have to look far. At the heart of the Bellagio Hotel, I discovered a green oasis known as the Conservatory. As befits such a colorful city, it was overflowing with thousands of flowers, intense-smelling shrubs and large, floral-embellished ocean creatures; all part of the hotel’s summer exhibit titled Under The Sea.
BELLAGIO’S FLORAL PLAYGROUND
Located directly across the lobby from the main reception desk, Bellagio’s 14,000 square-foot Arcadia Garden is known as its floral ‘playground’. The classic-style greenhouse resembles an old-world Palm House with its high vaulted ceiling of copper and glass. Framed by the soft green patina of the oxidized panels, the blue Nevada sky appears to hang overhead.
Four times a year, a dedicated staff of 120 horticulturalists designs and constructs a new exhibit to showcase the sights and colors of the season. The ever-changing display is a key component of Bellagio’s design, and one that hotel staff take very seriously. Under The Sea, which runs from now until September 10, is Bellagio’s summer installation.
ABOUT UNDER THE SEA
With so many competing sights and sounds from the nearby casinos, the Arcadia Garden strives hard to put on a show. And Under The Sea doesn’t disappoint. Packing every bit as many bells and whistles as the neighboring slots, the eye-catching exhibit features an array of fantastical sea creatures. These include a trio of giant floating seahorses, swimming seals, an animated clam, lots of starfish and a mermaid. There is even a sunken ship complete with treasure chests and two floral-embellished aquariums visitors can walk through.
Even the ceiling gets in on the act. Overhead, gigantic jellyfish, sway languidly from the rafters.
A teak and mahogany ship rests on a bed of coral surrounded by treasures
80,000 PLANTS MAKE UP THE EXHIBIT
According to the hotel’s brochure, 80,000 blooming plants went into making the striking exhibit. These include thousands of New Guinea impatiens, kalanchoes, pineapple lilies, chrysanthemums and miniature roses. Trees and shrubs, which number in the hundreds, include azaleas, hibiscus, magnolias, ficus and nandinas, all of which lend their unique colors and fragrance to the exhibit.
Here, a sea turtle composed of red carnations and spidery Fuji mums swims towards the disappearing yellow fins of a diver.
Below, a six-foot clam opens and closes its giant shell every seven minutes to reveal an illuminated pearl in its interior. It rests in the sand amidst schools of bold-shaped clivia and yellow chrysanthemum coral.
Along the passageway, a Vegas-style mermaid with a tail made from 1500 fresh cut flowers sits on a waterfall surrounded by fishtail palms, hydrangeas and ivy.
This playful seal embellished with miniature red roses makes a statement on the corner of one bed. Usually, it balances a beach ball on its nose – not sure where it was during my visit!
In a corner of the exhibit, a trio of colorful seahorses float above miniature roses, colorful hydrangeas and ‘jellyfish’ made of rosette-shaped aeoniums .
BELLAGIO GOT TANKED
To construct the matching pair of 20-foot aquariums, the horticultural staff partnered with the team behind Animal Planet’s ‘Tanked’ (and co-owners of Acrylic Tank Manufacturing). The walk-through structures feature actual fish framed by bright-colored sea objects made out of resin and hundreds of vibrant hydrangeas, begonias, impatiens and chrysanthemums.
All in all, a cool way to wrap up a hot day in Vegas.
To see photos of some of the hotel’s other seasonal displays in the Conservatory & Botanical Garden click here for the hotel’s conservatory website. Admission is free.