Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Botanic Garden honored for soothing presence

National exhibit features valley?s public space

Express Staff Writer

Photo by Paulette Phlipot-- The Garden of Infinite Compassion impressed national garden experts.

Summertime finds gardeners deep in the trenches of dirt, weeds, blooms and foliage. Some gardeners are lucky enough to venture outside their own backyards and peer over the fences. A good opportunity will be in Washington, D.C., from June through October, to see 12 gardens from across the country showcased on the National Mall.

The Sawtooth Botanical Garden, south of Ketchum off Highway 75 at Gimlet, is one of those.

Located in the National Garden, the display will celebrate the diversity of America's public gardens and will include garden rooms, panels and storyboards showing tropical gardens, conservatories, desert gardens, children's gardens and more. The National Garden opened to the public in October 2006. It provides living laboratories for environmental, horticultural and botanical education in a contemplative setting. Among the major features are the Rose Garden, the Butterfly Garden, the Lawn Terrace, the First Ladies' Water Garden, the Regional Garden and an outdoor amphitheater.

The American Public Garden Association holds an annual meeting, and this year the meeting is in Washington, D.C., co-sponsored by the U.S. Botanical Garden.

"Last year, when they started planning the meeting, they sent out a request for proposals," said Jennifer Colson, executive director of the Sawtooth Botanical Garden. "They were looking for stories on how gardens impact their communities and make a difference in people's lives, both locally and globally."

Colson submitted a proposal a year ago, using the Garden of Infinite Compassion as an example of a garden that might be considered for the "Soothing the Spirit" display.

In early April, she received an e-mail asking her to look at the copy for technical errors.

"They had done the whole exhibit without telling any of the gardens," she said. "The only thing was they misspelled Ketchum. We are the featured garden with a big photograph. The other two are the Japanese Garden in Portland, Ore, and the Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Boston."

The story panel situated in Area One, North Pergola, on the mall features a picture of the Tibetan prayer wheel taken by Ketchum photographer Paulette Phlipot. "Soothing the Spirit" is the headline above the photo. The text of the panel reads in part:

"People escaping the pressures of daily life seek out the beauty, solitude and quiet grace found in gardens. For some public gardens, providing sanctuary is a primary mission.

"The Garden of Infinite Compassion at the Sawtooth Botanical Garden in Ketchum, Idaho, is a place of reflection for people of all faiths. Its centerpiece is a Tibetan Prayer Wheel, one of only two in North America, and the only one blessed by the Dalai Lama. Water from a stream turns the Wheel, spreading blessings and hope."

If you can't take in the exhibit in D.C., simply head to the Sawtooth Botanical Garden and take a gander at the real thing, in situ.

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