The Fort Worth Botanic Garden may be the oldest of its kind in Texas, and one of the leading public gardens in the country, but that doesn’t mean its resting on its laurels. Quite the opposite, rather. The newest exhibition, FLORIGAMIINTHEGARDEN, will hold the title of the FWBG’s longest running exhibit. This large-scale origami-inspired metal sculpture display arrived just in time to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Japanese Garden and, even better, these flowers don’t wilt in the heat.
FLORIGAMIINTHEGARDEN is on display now through February 14, 2024. The exhibit is included with Garden admission.
What is the selection process for choosing exhibitions at the Botanic Garden?
When selecting a new exhibit for the Garden, our process includes considering what the Fort Worth community would be interested in, as well as what traveling exhibits are available and reflect our mission and goals. In the case of FLORIGAMIINTHEGARDEN, the artists who created the exhibit, Jennifer and Kevin Box, approached us because they thought FWBG would be a great partner to help them display their nature and origami-inspired metal sculptures.
How would you describe the general preparation for an exhibition of this magnitude?
Prepping for an exhibition is a long, detailed process that can require many months or even years of planning and coordination. Our internal groups, such as education, horticulture, and guest services, strive to make sure we are giving the community the best possible experience on every level.
Logistically, the sculpture installation process alone is two weeks for FLORIGAMIINTHEGARDEN. Our team and the artists’ team will focus on each piece of art individually and make sure they are properly installed, stable and visible for our guests. As with everything we do, the Garden’s goal is to help our guests explore, discover and engage with the environment around them.
What is particularly compelling about this exhibit?
FLORIGAMIINTHEGARDEN brings together art, Japanese culture and nature in the form of 18 brightly colored, museum-quality sculptures. Children will especially appreciate the larger-than-life sculptures that depict emerging butterflies, birds, grazing deer and blooming flowers – all of which celebrate the process of plant pollination, an educational concept we highlight on our campus Pollinator Pathway and in our family education courses.
In addition, we are delighted that the launch of this origami-themed art exhibit coincides with the 50th anniversary of FWBG’s iconic Japanese Garden, a place beloved by generations in the Fort Worth community. The 7.5-acre Japanese Garden opened in March 1973, and thrills guests with cherry trees, Japanese maples, bamboo bridges, water features and koi-filled ponds. Many of the plants and construction materials for this garden were donated by Fort Worth’s sister city, Nagaoka, Japan.
What unusual critters can be found lurking on the grounds?
As with any outdoor ecosystem, the Garden is home to many different creatures. Our beautiful blooms attract bees, butterflies, birds, pollinators, squirrels and more. Depictions of some of these garden residents are featured in the FLORIGAMIINTHEGARDEN exhibit!
Describe the “Scents of Gratitude” that visitors will enjoy.
“Scents of Gratitude” (2022) KevinBoxStudio, Jennifer Box, Beth Johnson, Michael G. LaFosse, and Robert J. Lang.
The purest expression of gratitude may be a simple bouquet of flowers: a sincere gesture of appreciation. Scents of Gratitude incorporates 77 origami-inspired flower components: a blue hydrangea with 37 blossoms, daisies with double rows of petals and lilies in five stages of opening, from bud to full bloom. Most of the flowers are kinetic, gently turning with the breeze, and amidst the profusion sit a butterfly and a crane.
How have your team (and the garden) adapted to the summer heat?
Since we live in Texas, summer heat is inevitable, and safety is a priority. We prepare our staff by having several comfort and safety measures in place:
- Flexible hours that allow earlier starts, when possible
- Cool off cart that provides water, electrolytes, and popsicles
- Cooling towels
- Mandatory breaks every 45 minutes when the heat index exceeds 105 degrees
As for guests, we offer:
- The Beauty Bus, the Garden’s new free air-conditioned shuttle service that runs every half hour from 11 a.m. to close on all days the Garden is open. The bus route travels from the Garden Center to the main Japanese Garden entrance and the Shelter House at the top of the Rose Ramp. Guests can board or depart at any of these stops.
- Misting stations placed strategically throughout the Garden
- Early entrance hours starting at 7 a.m. for members and 8 a.m. for the general public