Vegetable smoothies and a couple of bike rides aside, I hadn’t fully indulged in my hard earned spring fever until the universe contacted me last week and insisted I hop to it. The first sign was when my Aussie pal and colleague @MichelHogan, went on an Instagram art museum binge. It was a departure from her usual shots of Port Phillip Bay and a healthy reminder of the breadth and depth of creative inspiration that can be found in the spaces we reserve for the nurturing of ideas.
The second sign came when a horticulture-inclined former client, Dean Homicki of Skemah Garden Products, reappeared on my social media radar through whatever algorithm allows for those things to happen seemingly serendipitously. That same day @CNTraveler tweeted the ten best botanical gardens in the world (the world!) and the Denver Botanic Gardens were on the list. Curious, I thought.
I didn’t actually put it all together until the next morning when, in the checkout line at Safeway, I picked up the latest issue of Colorado Homes & Lifestyles, thinking the Ligne Roset sofa on the cover would be dynamite with the rug we picked up in Morocco. Inside, I happened upon an ad for Unwind: Chihuly, a garden party at Denver Botanic Gardens featuring a preview of the new glass art installation.
The 21-and-over event was scheduled for Thursday evening and I felt strangely compelled to go. I say strangely because I am not a botanist or even a gardener. I struggle to remember the names of trees that I learned in girl scouts. But the glass art sculptures and garden party drew me in. All I needed was a companion with whom to share the experience. This is where things took a bit of a turn. Marcus, my usual suspect, was scheduled to work late on Thursday. It was Janet’s birthday but she was flying to San Diego for work. Donna was off to a graduation ceremony for her nephew in North Carolina. She suggested I take Julie but Julie wanted to wait until the crowds abated.
All out of friends who live nearby, enjoy nature, and are child-free, I pondered the idea of going alone. It was a fleeting ponder; I’ve never been the kind of person who can handle the responsibility of a table for one. There are few things in life that rattle me more than a waiter swooping in to whisk away that second silverware setting, leaving an empty white tablecloth yawning before me as other diners look on with pity. Perhaps the universe wasn’t really talking to me. Maybe I’d misinterpreted the signs. Then, in a fit of empowerment spurred by a visceral response to the imagined pity of those judgmental diners, I logged on to the Denver Botanic Gardens website determined to buy a single ticket, only to find that the event was sold out. Fickle universe.
In the end, Marcus and I went to see the Chihuly exhibit the following Sunday. I was surprised how many of the trees and plants whose names I remembered. The peonies were big and round. The herb gardens made my head swirl with ideas for summer salads. The bonsai trees in the Japanese garden were masterful. And the enormous glass creations offered breathtaking surprises at every turn. Some, like the sharp blue icicles and soothing saffron tower, stood out in contrast to their settings. Others, like the gold and ruby ikebana, looked as though they had sprung from the earth of their own accord.
Once the garden portion of our adventure was fulfilled, we had only the “party” to find. So we headed off to a restaurant called NORTH, and celebrated the success of our botanical escapade with an artfully prepared brunch and glasses of amber Möet. And that is how you treat spring fever.