Vibrant New Exhibit Opens at Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden

DES MOINES, Iowa -- It may still be rainy and gloomy here in the metro on Tuesday, but there is one place you can find plenty of vibrant colors and signs of life: the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden.

Tuesday is the first day of a new exhibit called “Journey through Wonderland” by Kristie Burns.

The exhibit features different species of fungi, lichen and mushrooms, which you wouldn't necessarily think of being bright and colorful, but surprisingly they are.

Burns was out doing a different photo project and took pictures of wildlife on a bike trail between Clive and Urbandale when she happened upon different types of fungi.

Burns said sometime she spent more than an hour photographing several of the groups of mushrooms.

The entire exhibit took about three years to complete and she put a lot of time and thought into the project and the name.

“You know when you look at them in your driveway or in the yard or in the woods or whatever you see these small little mushrooms. And I wanted them to be larger than life. And it just reminded me of “Alice in Wonderland,” when she is going through and everything is larger than life and brighter than it usually is. So that's what I wanted to create. So that's why I made them so big,” Burns said.

One of her favorite photographs is one of bright orange mushrooms she said are called Jack-O-Lanterns.

"I like this one because this is one of them where I spent an hour, hour and a half with them. This area that I found was actually maybe ten times larger than this photo. There were so many of these mushrooms and I had never seen them befor in my life. They were so bright because it had just stopped raining and the sun was setting and the colors were even more vibrant," Burns said.

The exhibit will be on display from April 4 through June 5.