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Bellagio Garden honors Lunar New Year with ‘Eye of the Tiger’

Updated January 12, 2022 - 12:03 pm

The Year of the Tiger has pounced into the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens with a festive Lunar New Year display.

This season’s “Eye of the Tiger” display uses flowers and plants, pools of water and innovative lighting to share the culture and stories of China and Asia.

“We did something a little different than before and basically divided the display into four stories,” Conservatory Designer Ed Libby says. “This was my sixth or seventh year here, and I wanted to do a deeper dive into Asian culture.”

The south bed features a depiction of the knickknack peddler, a popular subject in Chinese figural painting.

“It’s a story of a retired scholar who teaches children the value of money by letting them choose how they spend their allowance,” Libby says.

The children in the south bed wear costumes of vibrant red flowers, which need to be tended to and changed out every morning.

At the west bed, an 8,000-pound tiger keeps a watchful eye over the garden’s visitors.

“The tiger represents strength, passion, bravery and ambition, which after the year we’re having could not have been better traits,” Libby says.

The north bed features a moonlit scene of a teahouse, a pond of koi fish and an impressive display of peonies.

Upon closer inspection, guests will notice that the larger-than-life flowers are actually mosaics of crushed dried petals and bright pink preserved roses.

Golden lotus flowers are nestled within a pool of floating lily pads at the east bed.

“Lotus represents the most beautiful flower in an ugly environment,” Libby says. “They grow in mud. So, this murky bottom has the most glorious flowers. It’s a symbol of rebirth, renewal and pure beauty out of ugliness.”

Other elements in the display include silk lantern chandeliers, a money tree of gold coins, and more than 5,700 plants.

“I always feel coming to the conservatory is a place of joy and knowledge,” Libby says. “We have beautiful signage and plaques explaining the individual components. I think coming to see something beautiful and leaving with knowledge is very special.”

The Conservatory & Botanical Gardens is free to enter and runs daily through March 5.

‘Eye of the Tiger’ by the Numbers

8,000: Flowers used to create the knickknack peddler and children

8,000: Pounds of the bronze tiger

5,700: Plants throughout the exhibit

370: I Ching coins on the gold money tree

100: Bonsai trees

40: Koi fish

30 feet: Height of the tiger’s tail

4: Number of hanging jade medallions created with 3D printers

4: Ding vessels

3: Number of tigers in the display

Contact Janna Karel at jkarel@reviewjournal.com. Follow @jannainprogress on Twitter.

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