Thursday, November 20, 2014

Arizona redux

Like yesterday, today has been a gloomy, gray day with on-and-off-again rain. Not much, but enough to get everything wet. Yeah for the rain—we desperately need it—but it prevented me from taking photos for another post I had in mind.

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Gates Pass west of Tucson

So I’m going to dig into my ever expanding image archive and pull out some photos from my recent trips to Arizona (2012 | 2013). This doesn’t come out of nowhere: I’m actually planning another trip to Phoenix and Tucson at the end of December.

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Tohono Chul Park: horse sculpture by Kioko Mwitiki in the Cactus Circle Garden surrounded by Mexican fencepost cacti (Pachycereus marginatus)

While I’m going to revisit some favorite places, like the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix and the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson, I’m also going to check out new gardens and nurseries. In fact, since I’ll be driving this time, I’ll have plenty of room to buy plants.

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Bach’s Cactus Nursery, Tucson

If you have any recommendations for must-see places, please leave a comment below.

I’m definitely going back to the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. In fact, it will be my first stop after I get there. The Dale Chihuly sculptures won’t be there anymore, but that will be all the more reason for me to re-photograph some of my favorite areas in the garden (sans garden art).

After last year’s trip I had every intention of writing a multi-part post on the 100+ agave species at the Desert Botanical Garden. For a variety of reasons it never happened, but it will after my 2014 trip.

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Dale Chihuly glass sculpture at Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix

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Desert Botanical Garden

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Desert Botanical Garden

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Desert Botanical Garden

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Desert Botanical Garden

Last December I only made it to one nursery in the Phoenix area, Old West Cactus Farm. This year I hope to make it to three or four. Since I’ll be driving all the way, I’ll have room for plant purchases.

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Old West Cactus Farm

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Old West Cactus Farm

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Old West Cactus Farm

I’m not sure if I’ll have time to go back to Cosanti, the wind bell foundry and studio complex of artist Paolo Soleri in Scottsdale. It was my favorite non-plant attraction last year. Unfortunately, the days are short at the end of December and there is only so much daylight…

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Cosanti

Boyce Thompson Arboretum in Superior, an hour east of Phoenix, was the big surprise of my 2013 trip. Sometimes the places for which you have no or low expectations turn out to be the most impressive. I won’t be revisiting the Boyce Thompson Arboretum this year, but there’s always next time.

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Boyce Thompson Arboretum in Superior

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Boyce Thompson Arboretum

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Boyce Thompson Arboretum

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Boyce Thompson Arboretum

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Boyce Thompson Arboretum

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Boyce Thompson Arboretum

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Boyce Thompson Arboretum

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Boyce Thompson Arboretum

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Boyce Thompson Arboretum

Bach’s Cactus Nursery is one of Tucson’s largest succulent nurseries. This year I’ll check out Arid Lands, one of my favorite mail-order nurseries, and I’ll also re-visit B&B Cactus Farm. And I’ll finally make it to Civano Nursery in the community of Civano, one of the most visionary sustainable residential developments in the country.

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Bach’s Cactus Nursery in Tucson

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Bach’s Cactus Nursery

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Bach’s Cactus Nursery

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Bach’s Cactus Nursery

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Bach’s Cactus Nursery

I’m hoping to meet up again with agave expert extraordinaire Greg Starr, who may or may be not be home at the time. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it will work out.

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Gregg Starr’s place in Tucson

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Agave guadalajarana at Gregg Starr’s place

Tucson Botanical Garden was another place that totally surprised me. Located in the middle of the city, it could just as easily be somebody’s private residence (and that’s exactly how it started out). My hotel is only 2 miles from the Tucson Botanic Garden so it would be a crime not to stop by, even if it’s just for an hour.

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Tucson Botanical Garden

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Tucson Botanical Garden

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Tucson Botanical Garden

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Tucson Botanical Garden

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Tucson Botanical Garden

A place I always visit when I’m in Tucson is the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, located adjacent to the Western Unit of Saguaro National Park. This will be my 6th visit. I’ve taken so many close-up photos of plants that my goal this time is to focus on the wider landscape so you’ll be able to see why I’m so in love with this park.

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Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum outside of Tucson

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Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

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Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

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Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

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Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

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Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

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Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

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Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

I won’t leave until December 26th, but I’m already keeping my fingers crossed that I won’t get sick (or anybody else in my family), that my work schedule won’t go crazy, and that nothing else untoward will happen between now and then.

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Me and my shadow somewhere in central Arizona

16 comments:

  1. You do get to see lots of amazing places and gardens Gerhard. I'm sure everything will be fine and before you know it'll be the 26th of December already and you're off to another desert adventure :)

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    1. If I had more time and money, I'd be traveling even more. There's always retirement, if and when it comes :-)

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  2. Great!! I can´t wait to see it! this pictures are gorgeous..ohhh those cactus!! wish I could grow them in my garden in Spain.

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    1. The cactus are amazing! If they grew everywhere, Arizona wouldn't be as special. However, they require very specific conditions to thrive.

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  3. Such warm wonderful photos, it's been to long since I've spent time in the desert. Must take care of that soon!

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    1. If only we had a strong garden blogger contingent in the Southwest who would organize a Fling!

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  4. Your warm photos are perfect for a rainy gray PNW day! Thanks. I'm very excited that you'll be driving and will have lots of room for plant purchases. If you buy too many plants, perhaps some of the family could be left behind or maybe attached to the top of the car with bungee cords for th trip home. They could work on their tans - It's a win-win situation:)

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    1. I'm leaving the entire family behind--at home. It'll be a solo road trip. Just me, and plenty of room for plants in the car. Who knows, I might even bring home a metal saguaro or a bottle tree!

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  5. Wow!!!! Gerhard. You are so lucky and so happy that you blog about your awesome trips. Thanks so very much for sharing. I will share this with the SF group.

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    1. Thank you for the share, Laura! I'm very grateful for your continued support.

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  6. Your photos make me want to go to every place in Arizona. Everything is so pretty.

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    1. And you should! Don't you have family in Arizona? Winter is a great time to go :-).

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  7. Arid Lands in Tucson is supposed to be mandatory, tho I have not been there myself. Yet.

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    1. I'm a bit scared of visiting Arid Lands. I could easily go overboard there, considering what a vast selection of plants they have!

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  8. What a great itinerary, and thanks for posting it. May have to follow in your footsteps...

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  9. East of Tucson is Kartchner Caves. Not a plant destination but rivals Carlsbad for beauty. And its quite pristine.

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