Orchids, Las Vegas and Disappointment….

Las Vegas

**An Advisory – Please do not enlarge photos until finished reading the entire post.**

Last weekend, my husband and I did the unthinkable….we left our kids with their grandparents and went to Las Vegas.  We had originally planned a trip to Sedona, which is located in Northern Arizona, but the roads were closed due to three consecutive storms that had dumped 3 – 4 ft. of snow.  So, we decided to go somewhere where there would not be any snow.

Las Vegas

On the way, we journeyed through the Joshua Tree Scenic Drive which I posted about here.  It was windy and rainy and the mountains along the way were dusted with snow.  I was excited to take a lot of photos of the desert along the way as well as the gardens around the hotels in Las Vegas.

As we arrived in Las Vegas, it was to a spectacular sight…the mountains surrounding the city were covered with a thick layer of snow.

Las Vegas

The place I was most excited about visiting was the 90,000 sq. ft. Conservatory at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino, which has beautiful displays that are changed continually.  The theme for this time of year was the Chinese New Year. 

Las Vegas

The Conservatory was covered in countless species and varieties of orchids along with bromeliads, bamboo, moss and so much more.  There were easily over 200 different orchids there.

I was in absolute heaven and took about 100 pictures.  I couldn’t wait to download them so that I could share them with you all.

Las Vegas

After I returned home, I eagerly downloaded my pictures.  I couldn’t wait to post my fabulous orchid photos.  As I clicked on each photo, I wanted to cry….over 95% of my pictures were blurry and out of focus.  

*I bet some of you thought I was disappointed that I did not win a lot of money –  but it is hard to win a lot of money when you only spent $25 on slot machines ;^) 

Las Vegas

You see, just before our trip, I had just picked up my camera from the camera repairman, where I had just had the memory card slot repaired.  Now, it was just too much of a coincidence that our camera was not working as it should so we went back to him.  It turns out that the repairman had inadvertently messed up how the image in the viewfinder looks as opposed to how the image appears to the lens.  He fixed it quickly and was extremely apologetic.

Las Vegas

Only a few photos turned out okay and you are seeing all of them, except for a couple that I am saving for a Chinese New Year’s post.


I hope you can see from this extremely small sampling how beautiful the Conservatory was.  

**Okay, you can now enlarge the photos to view them if you like, now that you have been warned that despite my best Photoshop efforts that some are still a bit out of focus.

Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a author, horticulturist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."
33 replies
  1. Darla
    Darla says:

    Bummer about your camera…these are some amazing flowers here…Chinese New Year? I bet the arrangements were out of this world.

  2. Liza
    Liza says:

    Those folks at the Bellagio do an amazing job. I saw their display at Christmas time one year and for a moment, absolutely adored Poinsettias.

    Sorry about your camera, but glad it's fixed already.

  3. Kathleen
    Kathleen says:

    Oh no. That would make me absolutely sick too Noelle. I'm glad it was something your cameraman could easily fix but it didn't help with your trip. 🙁
    If it helps, we can tell that it is a gorgeous display. I would be in heaven too since I am becoming more and more interested in orchids.
    How nice that you got a weekend away too.

  4. Christine
    Christine says:

    Well, I guess you'll have to depend on memory! How can anybody spend their time in the casino when there's so many pretty flowers around?! Sounds like you spent your time wisely!

  5. Catherine@AGardenerinProgress
    Catherine@AGardenerinProgress says:

    I'm sure it was disappointing, but the pictures still show how pretty the flowers are. We haven't been to Vegas in years, but I do remember the Conservatory and how pretty it was. I'm looking forward to your Chinese New Year display pictures.

  6. Kyna
    Kyna says:

    Don't worry about ththe photos, mine usually turn out like than even without a messed up memory card slot lol. 😀 And they're really not that bad 🙂

    I know that the Belaggio has a cool plant conservatory, one of my friends used to live there. So I can vouch for your photos! 😀

  7. Skeeter
    Skeeter says:

    Sorry about your camera. Sigh… While on our cruise, my camera was going through batteries like crazy. We had just bought new batteries so we think the charger is bad. But I had plenty of batteries so no missed shots. I remember one time when a fawn was bedding down in our woods. I was sitting by the window snapping pictures like crazy only to discover later on the film was not advancing! And the fawn was now gone. Sigh, the days before digital, How did we survive those days???

    The Orchids are awesome as the drive through the desert! That Joshua tree is something else. I have been to Vegas several times but always arrived on a plane so I missed the beautiful terrain of the drive through the desert. That will go on my bucket list with my Westward visit by camper one day…

  8. Amy
    Amy says:

    Ugh..The ones you did take are beautiful. Looks like an amazing place. I love the orchids by the rocks. Now, you just have another excuse to go back to Vegas and enjoy yourself. 🙂

  9. FlowerLady
    FlowerLady says:

    Disappointing for sure. I'd be heartsick too. What a bummer thinking you were going to have at least a majority of pictures come out, when instead it was the exact opposite. You did get some lovely photos though and we'll just have to use our imaginations to envision the whole display.

    Thanks for sharing.


  10. Shady Gardener
    Shady Gardener says:

    What a sad, sad tale. However, the photos you've shared are great! And how wonderful it was that you could be there!! I'm glad your camera has been fixed. Have a great weekend! 🙂

  11. Kate
    Kate says:

    Well, the photos in your post are quite lovely. I'm sure it was disappointing but this orchid lover is thrilled with your results!

  12. Rebecca @ In The Garden
    Rebecca @ In The Garden says:

    Sounds like a wonderful time, I haven't been to Vegas but would love to some day, especially to see the Bellagio Fountains. Your pictures are beautiful, I've had camera failure too and it's awful. 🙁

  13. gippslandgardener
    gippslandgardener says:

    Even with a camera with problems your photos are excellent! It's been great to see that there is something in Las Vegas other than Casinos, as that's pretty much all we ever here about here. I'm joining everyone that is looking forward to your Chinese New Year post!

  14. teresa
    teresa says:

    Those pictures look great to me. Looks so beautiful too. I hope you had a wonderful time in Vegas. It is such an amazing place with the mountains and the heat, although in your case snow. I was there in June. The strip is is mind boggling to me. Sorry about your other photos. That really stinks when they are ruined like that especially when you want the memories.

  15. Martha Z
    Martha Z says:

    Now you'll have an excuse to go next year.
    I have had similar experiences, usually my own fault for not checking the settings, sometimes Hubby's fault (back in film days). It is always frustrating but especially if the event is once in a lifetime (like our boys on Mt. Whitney and the film wouldn't advance).

  16. fairegarden
    fairegarden says:

    Oh orchid heaven, Noelle, but how sad about the photos. Oh well, nothing can be done about it, and the photos you are showing here look wonderful still. There will be other photo ops, but thanks for the warning about checking the settings when the camera has been to the shop. I know you will always check from now on. Nice to get away by yourselves too. I am with you on the gambling, not interested at all, but would love to have seen those orchids! 🙂

  17. Rose
    Rose says:

    How frustrating that your photos didn't turn out! I'm often disappointed when I discover all the photos I took of a special place turn out to be blurry, but it's usually my fault, not the camera's:) My daughter loves to visit Vegas, but I've never really been interested until she described all the sights. Like you, I would have a hard time throwing away any more than $25 on gambling, but I sure would enjoy seeing this conservatory.

    Catching up blog reading today…enjoyed your tour of the Joshua trees–fascinating! I may have seen one at the DBG, but then they have the staff to properly care for one. Isn't there an old song about the Joshua Tree? I also enjoyed all the colors in your garden–right now the only colors in my garden are brown and white:)

  18. JGH
    JGH says:

    Sounds like a great getaway, and you did get some stunning pics despite the camera problems. My husband travels to LV for business and I keep vowing I'm gonna tag along one day. I'm definitely putting that conservatory on my list of places to visit if I ever get there!

  19. leavesnbloom
    leavesnbloom says:

    Oh Noelle I am sure you were pretty upset about the camera I would have been. The photos you had here were lovely and lots of the orchids here are my favourites too. I could have spent the whole day in that conservatory.

  20. Autumn Belle
    Autumn Belle says:

    Noelle, a Chinese New Year theme in Las Vegas? That's interesting! I'm sorry what happened to your camera during such an important outing but nevertheless you must have done a clever job on the photos because the pictures look great. The orchids and bamboo and CNY decoration is indeed splendid.

  21. Liisa
    Liisa says:

    What a beautiful display at the Bellagio. I will have to remember this, as there is a chance I will be visiting Las Vegas this summer. If you have any other suggestions on gardens to visit while there, I would love that. Thank you for sharing, and sorry to hear your camera was not working properly, what a disappointment. But you still managed to capture some beautiful shots!

  22. Muddy Boot Dreams
    Muddy Boot Dreams says:

    Noelle, they are gorgeous, colorful, stunning, and even more beautiful because it was a special occasion for you and your husband.

    You still have the memories, and they are extremely clear.

    I never knew about this conservatory, and one day when I go to Vegas, I am looking it up.


  23. Patchwork
    Patchwork says:

    'The Girls' in our group went to see this, last week, while we were out there. What beautiful orchids. The whole display was great. Loved the pandas.
    Thanks for sharing your close ups.

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