As summer turns to autumn, the changing seasons come vividly to life at a free attraction just steps from the unchanging palm trees of the Las Vegas Strip.
However, at Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, the newest display is steeped not in the fall harvest, but in Greek mythology.
“Falling Asleep,” the brainchild of New York event designer Ed Libby, leads visitors on a magical journey studded with thousands of flowers and other botanicals.
In the West Garden, you’ll find the sleeping Persephone, hard to miss with her 38-foot wings. Persephone, the daughter of Greek gods Zeus and Demeter, wears a dress made from hydrangeas, roses and oak leaves.
The goddess is a metaphor for the change of seasons. In mythology, Demeter grows sad when her daughter goes away. A chill envelops the Earth, and summer’s greenery turns to the reds and browns of fall. (The greenery comes back with Persephone’s springtime return.)
Three fairies, each 14 feet tall, watch over the huge figure, which rests beside a waterfall and a pond studded with giant cattails.
The intricacy of the displays is evident in the North Garden, where two tigers, both 25 feet long, move their heads as people pass by, as if guarding the conservatory. Their coats are organic, made from caraway seeds, cinnamon, lentils and rice.
Beneath the big beasts sit sculptures crafted from more than 2,000 preserved roses.
A family of foxes seems to be preparing for winter in the North Garden, where one rests in a hollowed-out log as others romp among acorn topiaries fashioned from 1,700 fragrant carnations.
An enchanted, talking tree soaring 28 feet toward the glass ceiling provides shelter for two animated peacocks.
The gardens are open around-the-clock and free of charge. Bellagio horticulturalists provide details about the displays and share gardening tips at 10 a.m. daily.