Nabokov was an avid butterfly-lover ...
A Garden Reopens
An arboreal, fecund, sometimes secretive ambit, the conservatory intimately links us to the earth even as it precludes us from experiencing unbridled nature.
By Joan Arbery
The new and improved Texas Discovery Garden at Fair Park
Often in old English manors, great greenhouses and conservatories span one wing of a house. Private Edens, these gardens confine nature to the realm of the human while giving it a space to flourish and amaze. An arboreal, fecund, sometimes secretive ambit, the conservatory intimately links us to the earth even as it precludes us from experiencing unbridled nature. To enter into such a space, atmospheric and sculpted, is at the same time to be overtaken by the power of nature’s craft and to see through the eye of the designer.
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The novelist Vladimir Nabokov was an avid butterfly-lover, and butterflies spirit through the pages of Pale Fire. In one instance in the novel, a butterfly “took off, and we saw it next moment sporting in an ecstasy of frivolous haste around a laurel shrub, every now and then perching on a lacquered leaf and sliding down its grooved middle like a boy down the banisters on his birthday.” It is a joyful metaphor—full of Ariel’s mischief. With Dallas’ own butterfly house, perhaps new Nabokovs will be in the making.
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