Sunday, December 27, 2015

CHRISTMAS EVE AT THE DESERT BOTANICAL GARDEN

This year we spent Christmas in Phoenix with family. There was lots to do in preparation for Christmas Eve and Christmas day but David and I managed to sneak out for a few hours Christmas Eve morning to visit the Desert Botanical Garden. It was just over a year since we were last there and as expected there were quite a few new features. If you think a garden with such magnificent structural plants doesn't need other kinds of structure, think again. Over the last 10 years we have watched as they added more and more hardscape to the garden.
Things haven't changed much at the entrance. The Chihuly sculptures still greet the visitor.


And there is a vertical wall of succulents.



Opuntia, Santa Rita welcomes us wearing its winter coat.


And you can't miss the newest member to the garden, The Boojum tree, Fouqueria columnaris, at 37' towering above all the other plants in the garden collection. The tree was donated by a homeowner in whose front garden it was growing. It will need support for a while until its roots grow big enough to support its height.


From Thanksgiving until Christmas Las Noches de las Luminarias welcomes visitors into the evening garden. As part of this event Bruce Munro showcases eight large scale light based installations using fibre optic lighting. It must be quite a spectacle. We saw several of these dotted among the cactus and large areas of lights on the hillsides.



We have long admired the raised beds using stacked stone but the new Jan and Tom Lewis Desert Portal enhances this similar style of wall with colored glass.





This has always been one of my favorite water features and I am sure in the early mornings and evenings birds and other wild life gather around here. I think may have painted the yellow wall since I was last there or was it just the wetness enhancing the color?


How beautifully this second water feature blends in with the native granite rocks and plants.


The third fountain is at the entrance to the Fine Family Contemplation Garden and features a zero edge wall.


A work in progress. Soon to be the Founder's Wall with circles of colored glass fitted into each of the metal circles. It won't be completed until January 2016, so next time!


Over the years color has been added to the garden in the way of structure. I'm pretty sure that when they were deciding on the color for the cactus an succulent galleries they took their cue from the flowering aloes.




Cactus and agaves themselves grow larger with each visit. Some of them grow old and not so pretty.


It's always comforting to know that when a plant fails it may not always be your fault.


It has the look of a very ancient font and maybe that's what it once was or was it possibly a repurposed, cantera stone column. Either way it makes for a very nice feature in this small courtyard area.


 I'm hoping that one day my Agave desmettiana Joe Hoak plants will share a spot with Agave desmettiana variegata but as neither are truly hardy here it will likely only ever be in pots.


And talking about hardiness Arizona is preparing for a few cold nights and they were out covering a number of plants with fleece.


And what was of favorite plant in the garden that day? Without a doubt this display of Agave victoriae-reginae.



It was yet another memorable visit to the garden.

10 comments:

  1. It's an impressive garden. I don't usually like art installed (or more often, plunked) in botanic gardens but this one handled that beautifully.

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    1. They are obviously selective about the art they display in the garden. We saw the Chihuily there a few years ago. I though it perfect. Much more so than the one at the Dallas Arboretum. I'm sure the fire optic display was beautiful but even during the day some of the displays looked good.

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  2. My last visit was in 2011, so much has changed for me. Thanks for the virtual visit!

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    1. Time to go back-and when you do I hope you have better luck with the shopping.

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  3. I've enjoyed your desert botanical garden tour. So interesting to see what's growing in other countries. We live in the Midlands in the UK. Our nearest botanical garden is at Leicester University, which often has a sculpture exhibition in the summer. Thanks for sharing your photos.

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    1. Thanks for tagging along. I haven't been tot he garden in Leicester but I plan on being in that part of the country in the summer. Now that I know about it I must make a point of visiting.

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  4. I wish the Wildflower Center in Austin would incorporate more colored hardscape like these painted or glass-tiled walls into its gardens. I think it looks great, especially during the hot summer, when plants aren't blooming so much, and of course in winter. Thanks for sharing your DBG visit, Jenny.

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    1. The DBG lends itself to more modern treatments, don't you think? I'm not sure how the WFC could incorporate such color. I do agree that they need something more interesting for the off months when plants aren't the main focus. The building are great but after you have seen them so many times they don't offer much interest. I know a rework of the theme gardens is in the works. Maybe that is one place they could do something more modern with color.

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  5. How thoughtful to share your visit this way. And David is such a genial provider of scale to the photos. Hope your 2016 is the best year yet, especially with regards to the weather. (NO more hail damage!!!). Happy New Year!

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  6. Absolutely stunning! Between your pictures and Pam's pictures, I am dying to visit this place. I love their planting style and creative hardscape, and integrating permanent/temporary art installations is a really great way to get people to visit.

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