Sunday, March 22, 2009
Fairyland At Matthaei Botanical Gardens
Yesterday, I visited the Conservatory at Matthaei Botanical Gardens to photograph the garden fairies that my wife, Adrienne had been telling me about. She's one of the horticulturists at MBG, and has worked there since 1983. So, you might think that I go there all the time to take photographs, but in fact, I don't go there enough. For those that rarely go there, or haven't been there yet, the conservatory is a good dose of what one needs as we emerge from the lingering grip of winter. Yes, spring is technically here, but until the last vestiges of those piles of snow that remind me of decaying whale carcasses disappear, we are fortunate to have Matthaei's conservatory to buoy us.
Matthaei's "Enchanted Spring Display" is very charming, with small fairies placed in the plantings amongst the spring flowers that are now blooming the conservatory. The fairies look like they are right out of the Art Nouveau period, and are obviously a big hit with children of the age that can still imagine fairies as something that might exist. In addition, there are placards with fairies for different plants, such as the "Lobsterclaw Fairy" for the Heliconia flowers. I like the idea of garden fairies... and there is that part of our psyche that seems to want to believe in the supernatural. Fairies are certainly some of the less horrific things that one could believe in, and if you want to create your own fairy garden, one source that seems to have it all is the aptly-named Garden Fairy.com.
I spent over an hour in the conservatory, photographing the diminutive fairies and the flowers with my Nikon F3 with my Lensbaby lens, as well as a lot of shots taken with my Fuji Finepix S700 with some different filters on the front to achieve the look I wanted. The S700 was great for reaching in over the plants to get close-up shots, and of course, to get the immediate results that you see here. I'll be interested in seeing how the F3 shots came out, as I was using Kodak's Ektar 100 color film. Despite being an adult, I was having fun trying to find the various fairies amongst the flowers, and I saw small children there that were having even more fun than I was. The display will be up until March 31, so give yourself a respite from the weather, and see the flowering bulbs and the fairies at UM's Matthaei Botanical Gardens on Dixboro Road.