Hardly Contained! Spring Blooms at the ABQ Botanic Gardens

Lemon Bottlebrush © 2012 Beth Billstrom

Stunning!  This show-stopping Lemon Bottlebrush (pictured above) graces the entrance of the Mediterranean Conservatory at the ABQ Biopark’s Botanic Garden. What makes it even more of a thriller is that it’s a container plant.  Imagine coming home to this each evening! The exotic blooms and vibrant foilage were welcomed nourishment to this cold-climate gardener’s soul.

The Scent of Spring © 2012 Beth Billstrom

Inhaling deeply, I drank in the scent around me.  Heavenly days! The Conservatory was hosting  Bulbs in Bloom. Raucous displays of a ranunculus, cyclamen, daffodils, and hyacinths poured out of pots and filled flower beds.  I quickly drained the cup of coffee I held and tossed the empty cup so as to have both hands free for some serious photographing.

It was such an overwhelming sense of spring that I couldn’t pull myself from the entrance for over 20 minutes.  While most of my enchantment came from the flowers, I also enjoyed the response of other patrons as they came through the doors.  Mouths dropped.  Arms opened wide.  Large breaths were inhaled and then exhaled time and again. Retirees, worn-out moms, business folks, toddlers, and teenagers all exclaimed delightfully as they embraced spring.

Cyclamen © 2012 Beth Billstrom

I loved the double pots (photo on left), especially those with contrasting pink cyclamen.  The dark and light shades of pink played off each other in a vibrant and fresh way. While some may be tulip and daffodil lovers, I have always been drawn to the charm and freshness of cyclamen. I wish their blooms would last just a bit longer.  Theses springtime gems are here, then gone!

I saw another arrangement repeated throughout the conservatory that caught my attention. It was created of impatiens and succulents.  I never thought of putting such different plants together.

Impatiens and succulents at the Mediterranean Conservatory in Albuquerque, New Mexico © 2012 Beth Billstrom

The conservatory gardener agreed that these two plants normally wouldn’t tolerate each other well, but within the controlled conservatory environment she could manage their co-habitation because the impatiens are so hardy and can tolerate a little drought.

It was all beautiful!  Spring is officially here.  Soon even the Midwest will be dotted with colorful containers!

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