Sunday, February 2, 2014

Desert Botanical Garden (Phoenix, AZ)—Part 2

To read part 1 of this post, please click here

Part 1 of this post left off at Edible/Herb Garden. The plantings in front of the adjacent office buildings, called Weisz Family Plaza on the map, feature a predominantly blue color scheme. I was going to reserve photos of agaves for a separate post, but I want to show this stunning combination:

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Agave nickelsiae (left), Santolina chamaecyparissus (middle), and Agave parryi var. truncata (right)

In addition, this area has several whale-tongue agaves (Agave ovatifolia), which happens to be one of my favorite agave species. Agave ovatifolia has the potential to grow to 5 ft. in width.

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Agave ovatifolia

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Agave ovatifolia (top), Agave parryi var. truncata (bottom)

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Love that giant menorah!

I wish I’d had a tall ladder to take a better photo of this interesting cactus sundial:

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Cactus sundial

While Dale Chihuly’s pieces are taking front and center stage at the moment, the DBG has other pieces of art as well, typically near plazas and patios where people sit.

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“Inner Peace” by Witness Bonjisi, surrounded by golden barrels

Speaking of places to sit, the courtyard you’ll see in the next set of photos was my favorite because it’s small and intimate. It’s right on the other side of the Patio Café. One of the rooms in this complex is used to screen movies about Dale Chihuly and his work, and another houses the Dale Chihuly Shop where you can buy everything from Dale Chihuly books, postcards, napkins, underwear (OK, just kidding) to original art.

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Courtyard near Patio Café

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Courtyard near Patio Café

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Courtyard near Patio Café

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Courtyard near Patio Café. The large agaves behind the bench are Agave titanota, the smaller ones to the right Agave macracantha.

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Courtyard near Patio Café

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Original pieces by Dale Chihuly, starting at $4,600. I had them wrap me up three to go.

The Patio Café serves salads and sandwiches and is another great place to sit. It has a fantastic view of the mountains to the south.

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Patio Café

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Patio Café

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Fallen compass barrel (Ferocactus cylindraceus)

After resting up a bit at the Patio Café, let’s continue on. There is a lot more waiting to be explored.

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Christmas tree outside the Webster Auditorium

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Red torch cactus (Echinopsis huascha)

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Mammillarias under their own special sun tent

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Massive cardón (Pachycereus pringlei) outside the Webster Auditorium

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The cardón is to the southern part of the Sonoran Desert what the saguaro is to the northern part

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Unlike the saguaro, the cardón is a fairly fast grower. Mine little one went from 1 ft. to 3 ft. in four years.

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Young cardón (Pachycereus pringlei) peaking through a foothills palo verde (Parkinsonia microphylla). As a juvenile, the cardón is heavily spined and looks a lot like a young saguaro. As it ages, it loses the spines, which are not replaced. The theory is that young plants need protection from foraging animals while adult plants are so massive (up to 70 ft, which makes the cardón the largest cactus in the world) that animals are no longer a threat. Here is an informative article about the cardón.

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Boojum tree (Fouquieria columnaris), the signature plant of the Baja California peninsula

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“Summer Sun” by Dale Chihuli

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Organ pipe cactus (Stenocereus thurberi) framing the Papago Buttes

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Organ pipe cactus (Stenocereus thurberi) and black-and-white reeds by Dale Chihuly

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Saguaros (Carnegiea gigantea)

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“Sonoran Boat” by Dale Chihuly

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“White Belugas” by Dale Chihuly

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“Yellow Reeds” by Dale Chihuly

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“Yellow Reeds” by Dale Chihuly

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Mesquite bosque, not as visually stunning as many other sights in the garden, but a welcome “negative space” to give your eyes and brain a rest—mine were constantly on the verge of visual overload.

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“Scarlet and Yellow Icicle Tower” by Dale Chihuly

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“Scarlet and Yellow Icicle Tower” by Dale Chihuly

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Saguaro silhouettes

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Millstone water feature. A water feature in the desert may seem extravagant, but a design like this one doesn’t use much water and it creates a cool oasis feel—perfect on a hot summer day!

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Agave salmiana and bench

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Backlit cacti with Yucca rostrata (left) and Fouquieria splendens (right)

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Amphitheater

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Blue barrel (Ferocactus glaucescens)

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Agave macracantha

I hope this 2-part post gave you a meaningful introduction to the Desert Botanical Garden. It is one of the most spectacular places in the Southwest and truly worth a visit, especially if you’re a plant nut.

The DBG is located in Papago Park where the cities of Phoenix, Tempe and Scottsdale butt up against each other. I stayed at the 3 Palms Hotel in Scottsdale, conveniently located only 4 miles away. The Phoenix Airport, Sky Harbor, is 6 miles west of the DBG.

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10 comments:

  1. Spectacular it is indeed! The place is so sculptural!

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    Replies
    1. Arizona would make a great winter getaway vacation, hint, hint...

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    2. You're giving us strong ideas now :)

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  2. The DBG is a well done garden and I enjoyed seeing your tour. I enjoy Chihuly exhibits for an occasional change but the plants are so nice that they should be the focus most of the time.

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    Replies
    1. I agree, the focus should always be on the plants. At the DBG I never felt like the Chihuly sculptures took over the garden since it's so large.

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  3. Love your blog the pictures are amazing!!! So I'd like to ask you if I could share some of them at my fan page on Facebook..I'll give the credits of course!!
    Thanks
    Sheila
    http://www.vidasuculenta.blogspot.ie/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sheila, of course. Please leave the copyright watermark in each image you share and link back to www.succulentsandmore.com. Thanks!

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  4. Thank you so much Gerhard!!

    Sheila
    http://www.vidasuculenta.blogspot.ie/

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow I just have to visit this place! And your shot of the boat is amazing. The reflection on the glass is so cool!

    ReplyDelete