Friday, April 25, 2014

Desert Botanical Garden - Phoenix, AZ

My mom is a plant lover.  She has an extensive garden at home and cares for it daily.  Therefore, we made our second plant related outing this week.  This time to the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix.  Unbeknownst to us, the Chihuly Exhibit was being featured.

Right away, I noticed two things different from our excursion to the Boyce Thompson Arboretum (BTA):
1. the crowds.  There were a TON of people there, most of them were rude.  At BTA there were fewer people there and those who were there were friendlier.
2. the grounds.  DBG was well manicured, while BTA was more organic and less structured, not forcing the plants to cooperate with their surroundings.

While #2 wasn't a deal breaker, I was ready to leave well before I should've been due to #1.  But there were many pluses to DBG.  Mainly the free admission to the butterfly exhibit and the beautiful blown glass installations.

Right at the entrance we had our first glimpse at what Chihuly can create:

After a brief walk through native cactus gardens, we entered the butterfly exhibit.  I was so focused on all the fluttering that I kinda ignored a lot of the beautiful flowers in there.

After leaving the butterflies, we continued onto one of the various loops in the park.  At a small pond, we found an interesting glass sculpture.  The giant ice cubes were very out of place in the 90 degree heat.

The same sculpture from a higher vantage point.  Like a vibrant saguaro.

I can only imagine how beautiful these installations are during the right light and/or at night with focused lighting on them.

My dad was very happy to see all of the wood peckers on the saguaros.  Several made appearances.

There was a separate shop specifically for the Chihuly Exhibit.  Outside a Cardinal was picking fruit.

 Inside, there were very expensive art pieces: $6800 being the cheapest.

Looking past the plants, were very interesting pots and structures.  There were arbors constructed of inexpensive rebar, but made to look like vines.

On our way out, were orbs that blended well into the desert.  At first glance, I didn't notice them.

It was pushing 92 degrees by the time we left at 1PM.  We were hot and done with the crowds.  I was pleasantly surprised by the Chihuly Exhibition and enjoyed the art amongst the desert landscape.  I recommend a visit to the Desert Botanical Gardens, but maybe before you go to the Arboretum.  Two different takes on a botanical experience in the desert. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Boyce Thompson Arboretum

My parents came for their annual vacation to Arizona.  We've bee-bopped around town most of this week.  After a brief errand this morning, I took them to the Boyce Thompson Arboretum in Superior, AZ.  Mike and I have driven by it dozens of times on our bike adventures and camping trips.  I knew it would be a great place to take my foliage loving mom.

It was breezy (border-lining on windy) and sunny.  We lucked out that it didn't get hotter than 82 degrees.  However, there were two bus loads of screaming preteens there.  Thankfully they didn't effect our stay very much.

The plants were beautiful and the weather cooperated. It was a nice light "hike" through the grounds.

The bees and humming birds were everywhere.  The bees cooperated a bit more than the humming birds, but I managed a few photos.

At the lake, a small lizard sunned itself on the tiles.

Finally at the end of our self guided tour, a humming bird was close enough to me that I got a few shots of him.  Fast little bugger.  Too bad he was in full shade.

It was a nice relaxing way to spend a day with my folks.  Now we're all crashed out on the couch.  After all, what are vacations for?