April 11, 2014 – Des Moines, IA
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For release: April 11, 2014
Contact: Kelly Norris, Horticulture Manager
Plants take flight in new Botanical Garden exhibit
DES MOINES, Iowa (April 11, 2014) –
The Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden unveils a new exhibit this weekend celebrating plants and gardens in air. The exhibit calledHigh Flighttakes inspiration from the poem of the same name by John Gillespie Magee, Jr.
The poem’s evocative language paired with the celebration of the Japanese art of kokedama has inspired the Botanical Garden horticultural team for over a year. The exhibit is one of the first of its kind at a public garden in the country.
“We’ve been dreaming and planning for months,” says horticulture manager Kelly Norris. “Against the architecture of the conservatory, these spheres really pique curiosity and imagination.”
Kokedama is Japanese for “moss ball,” interpreted in the exhibit as a string garden formed from bonsai-like soil. Dutch artist Fedor van der Valk caused an Internet sensation five years ago when he featured string garden collections on his website, leading to numerous interviews and a permanent presence on Pinterest.
“Van der Valk’s work gave us the idea to hang these throughout the conservatory,” says horticulturist Josh Schultes. “We were really inspired by what we saw and came up with a way to make it happen here.”
The Botanical Garden staff and volunteers have spent much of the last month designing and constructing the string gardens with small trees, flowers and tropicals to showcase a variety of plants throughout the exhibit. A blue steel sculpture with strong, cyclonic lines constructed by Botanical Garden volunteer and artist Dennis Zaabel is the centerpiece of the exhibit in addition to sky cables over various pathways in the conservatory. The Gardeners Show House features a number of renditions of the exhibit as well. Over 250 kokedama will be displayed throughout the six-week event.
The Botanical Garden is offering a hands-on workshop to demonstrate the concept and offer attendees a tour of the exhibit. The workshop will take place April 26 at 10:30 a.m. Pre-registration is required and space is limited. Registration information is available at dmbotanicalgarden.com/events-programs/calendar-events.
The exhibit is part of a new programming strategy launched last year. Flower show-style gardens pop up every six weeks throughout the year in the conservatory and Gardeners Show House. Full descriptions of the show concepts and featured plants are posted at dmbotanicalgarden.com/explore-the-gardens/horticultural-exhibits.
High Flightis open through May 18. The Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden is open seven days a week from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. More information about other upcoming events and programming can be found at dmbotanicalgarden.com.
The Botanical Garden is located at 909 Robert D. Ray Drive and open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., except major holidays. Regular admission is $5 for adults, $4 for adults 65 and older, $3 for children ages 4-17 and free for members and children 3 and younger.
On January 1, 2013 the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden launched a new beginning. After years of planning, a bold vision, generous community support and a new staff, the Botanical Garden assumed operatorship of a 34-year old conservatory and 14 acres of land bordering the Des Moines River. Armed with a mission of exploring, explaining and celebrating the world of plants, we are a garden now. The Botanical Garden is a 501(c)(3) privately governed, not-for-profit institution with ten years of operating support at $645,000 per year from the City of Des Moines, Des Moines Water Works and Bravo Greater Des Moines. In addition, the Phase II Endowment goal will grow the total endowment to $3.6 million.