Monday, July 27, 2009

Loveland, Colorado—Sculptures in Bloom

It's good to be proud of your city. Whenever we have visitors, we love to take them to town and show off our favorite park, Benson Sculpture Gardens. Loveland was the first city in Colorado to adopt an Art in Public Places ordinance of one percent of all the city's capital construction projects of $50,000 or more for the purchase of art. Sculpture is a huge part of the city, whether you're looking at public buildings or private residences, offices or parks. They're nestled in among the most beautifully appropriate landscapes imaginable. Sterling dragonflies rise above marshlands. A bronze moose kneels to drink from a real lake.

The last article I read showed that the City of Loveland owned over $7 million in artwork, 72% of it having been donated. The people here obviously approved of the ordinance. It shows that when government takes a small step, in this case, one percent of its own construction costs, people will add to those efforts. So yes, we're all proud of our parks, and Benson Park is our favorite place to walk. Every single time we go, we see a new statue. This time, as we took John's cousin Laura Mae and her husband Bill, there were several new ones, but I think I liked the giraffe best. He looks so stately.

The flowers were absolutely beautiful yesterday, too. I never fail to appreciate how green the grass is, and how lush and healthy all the plants are.

Tiger lilies are one of my very favorite flowers, and one of the few I can recognize on site. I wonder if the deer would eat them if I planted some up here in the foothills.

Somebody please tell me what this is, because I see it growing wild around here quite a bit, but never have been able to tell for certain what it is, other than beautiful.

I've been told that the bees are dying out in many places, but there were quite a few pollinating the various flowers in the park yesterday, so I guess our blooms are safe for another year.

These roses are of some very fragrant variety. I've been discouraged in recent years to see a perfect rose and lean over it only to discover that it has had the perfume bred out of its soul. I'd rather have the fragrance and a few wrinkles on the petals than perfection and sterile scent, but that's just me.

Here's another unidentifiable flowering plant. As they mature, the flowers cluster along the stem in little balls like this. I can't find it in my book. Maybe I need a new book...

Here are Laura Mae and Bill walking by the new giraffe sculpture. Laura Mae said she really didn't want to do much walking because of her arthritis, so we told her she could just look from the car. Once she saw what was out there, though, she couldn't resist, and ended up covering quite a bit on foot. Bill was entranced. Laura Mae said he's always loved statues, and never before found so many in one park like this.

This has always been one of my favorites because the kids look like they're having such fun. I also appreciate how the landscaping is done, with the white rocks giving the appearance of snow.

If you ever come to see us, be prepared to either stand in the circle of children to have your photo taken, or listen to John moan and whine. I think he's planning on making a collage some day of all our friends playing ring-around-the-rosy with the bronze children. We've had quite a bit of fun coaxing friends and family to grab the hands of the kids and "look like you're running!" So far everyone has (eventually) cooperated. John is happy.

By the end of our afternoon in the park, Laura Mae and I went to sit in the car while John took Bill down the hill with the camera, so he could contemplate one last sculpture. As they disappeared together I heard John say, "You owe it to yourself to see this one last statue, Bill."
They didn't come back for quite awhile.


sherrie said...

I can't answer either of your mystery flower questions, but I will comment anyway, especially since they're both in my favorite flower palette. The first flowers remind me in different ways of jacaranda, wysteria and crepe myrtle, yet also very different from each of them. The second one is very similar to lilacs, especially in the bud form, but the petals are too curly, the leaves are wrong, and I've never seen lilacs form into poofballs.

Do you have any photos of the whole bush/tree that they grow on?

Kathleen said...

Nope. I didn't think to photograph the whole bush. Next time that might help, huh?

schmath said...

I think it looks kinda like Russian Sage or Lavender. But I've never looked at either of those that closely before. The whole bush would help.

Kathleen said...

Okay. Next time I'll have to do the whole bush. Live and learn. I figured the flower was good enough. Maybe that's why I can't figure it out.

David said...

I think the flower is a type of Buddleia which flowers in summer and has a lovely subtle honeylike perfume. We have a variety in our garden here in Melbourne, Australia. See:

By the way, I love the pictures of Loveland. I have been there twice both in summer and winter. We have friends who live just outside of the town.

Kathleen said...

Thanks, David. I do believe you could be right. We love walking in the sculpture gardens here, and enjoying all the blooms, even when I don't recognize the varieties. It would be nice to think I'd get to your corner of the world someday.