Friday, August 26, 2011

Lauritzen Gardens: Big Heads, Little Buildings

I'm not one to mix gardening with blogging, but while in Omaha I did spend a morning at the Lauritzen Botanic Garden. It's only 10 years old, which makes it an interesting place to see how a huge landscape project can be implemented over time -- leaving room to grow, but starting off with lots of beautiful vistas, glades and pocket gardens.

This summer, the Lauritzen is featuring the giant bronze head sculptures of artist Jun Kaneko.

Huge pink head sitting on a green grass lawn
They make a striking statement wherever they're placed.

Cobalt blue giant head in a garden
Each one is about ten feet high.

Black and white checkered giant head in a garden
I can't put my finger on it, but every time I came across one I had the feeling I was in a science fiction movie... Zardoz? Or maybe something to do with The Prisoner?

Given my obsession with miniature buildings, the train garden was, naturally, a favorite.

Model train bridges made of large twigs, with rocks and waterfalls
But I think it was actually nicer than the average bunch of tiny buildings because all parts of the layout were made with natural materials. The G-scale trains gad about on a series of terraced levels connected by twig trestles.

Model of the Durham Museum in natural materials
There was a model of the Durham Museum (the former Union Pacific train station)...

Red covered bridge made of rough pieces of wood
...a classic covered bridge...

Miniature grain elevator with a train on the siding
... and a grain elevator.

Small town train station with water tower
The structures were created by landscape designer Paul Busse and his company, Applied Imagination. Never heard of them before, but their website tells me they've done lots of buildings like this for botanical gardens and flower shows all over the country.

Building with the word Omaha in 19th century lettering on the side
You can see an extensive series of photos of the Lauritzen installation here. Wow.


Linda Myers said...

I was in Omaha for a day and a half in April. All I did was go to a convention and go back to our lodging. I should have been curious, like you!

Ms Sparrow said...

The big, giant heads don't do a thing for me. They dominate the space and utterly detract from it.
Like they say, it's in the eye of the beholder!

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

The little buildings are beautiful.