Power of Repetition

Some people are encouraged to be redundant, and have nothing to say. Others are not wanted to be redundant, because what they say might cause thinking.

Redundant or repetition?

Design is not always so personal and never mean, though design that comes from the personality is inviting.

Nearing high noon at the Desert Botanical Garden, this comes into view once you pay for admission.


The 90 degree intersection of the low seat  / garden wall through the line of Ferocactus wislizeni is effective!

In my case, I bought a membership, as I’ll be frequenting it often with my various company I have all summer. I might even go back a couple more times this week. Members also get in at 6 am Wednesdays and Sundays, which Sonoran Desert dwellers know as that hour when it’s tolerable outside in summer.


A grove of flexible, white-trunked Mariosousa willardiana really provides a cooling visual.


Scott in Tucson tells me his took 16F with no damage, so the books need some revising. But Juan Blanco in El Paso said 5F (plus 66 consecutive hours below 32F) froze all specimens of the same species in their garden. So, let that inform you as to hardiness, though Tucson to El Paso is more different than some perceive.

There’s much to the 32F mark and how it happens or the duration, so yet another big coffin nail to those who dislike lists, patterns, and statistics…

This exfoliating bark…



These 1991 City Boundary Project markers point to the summer solstice’s sunrise direction. I hope to visit then. Fewer stone columns would not be as effective as what the Martino / Pinto team did here.



And my favorite place on my hour-plus walk Thursday afternoon, following some other visits and $11 yet mediocre ice cream. It’s Scottsdale, after all, so you can pay much for perfection or much for the opposite.

This is an interior design firm’s front, which appears to not connect to their parking lot…the entrance looked as though it was on the side.


Masses of small agaves with the gray concrete planter curb works so well. I had a residential client who moved before I got to see a smaller scale of that I envisioned fill in.

If I had a design office again, I would do so much differently, including use the sourcing model of many interior designers and architects like the diva, which helps pay more and gets you something like this.

“If” may need to become “when”!

Their wood planters framing the front are me…their upward taper, and the pair of aloes contained within.


The designer here really created some interest, in the intense light of the low desert, more spreading and scattered than the laser-beam focus of the high desert. This light bleaches the terra cotta, concrete, and wood out visually and in a few years, literally.

And this works.

Far better than temporary plantings, where much needs to be removed and redone to satisfy those without enough patience.

“Never give up”, someone once said.


4/27/19 weather:
95F / 70F / 0.00 or 35c / 21c / 0.0
(we hit 101F Friday, so now we’re getting closer to summer…but that’s still late spring in the low desert)

4 Replies to “Power of Repetition”

  1. Nice thought provoking blog! Love the photos! I do like repetition in plantings. It makes the sum greater than the parts. Same in collecting objects. I will have to visit the DBG one of these days.

    That’s my goal, and you;re right on “the sum is greater than…”! You would like DBG.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love your introductory sentence. You are a thinker, aren’t you?!
    In the garden, repetition is something I find to be engaging and relaxing, but difficult for a plant collector like me to do. It’s still possible, with color repetition or form repetition, even though it is still busier than a larger planting of a single variety. Your examples are gorgeous. I do wonder what the design firm will do when some of the agave bloom and the uniformity is ruined. Would they replant the entire bed? A minor point is that I find the clay pot to be a jarring element (no pun intended) to the scheme. I would prefer two flanking clay pots instead of the wooden ones, as the clay pots would echo the agave’s forms, or remove the clay pot entirely. But these are minor criticisms. It’s still beautiful just the way it is.
    In the work force, I find that repetition is key in education. You’ve got to say everything at least 3 times for it to sink in. But in personal interaction, that might not work (ahem, mom, lol!).

    Yep! Great comments. Similar questions have been asked in my career after moving to NM, and my response is either to appreciate some gaps, replant with the same thing of a different age, or replant with something that accents the overall mass. All the above are elegant and reflect the evolution of a built landscape, plus that’s nature’s model. The pots are interesting and all seem to work, though different. I don’t mind hearing the same story, if there’s an expansion of thought on it and a continued growth from it…but otherwise, ugh.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. It would be nice to mention under your 1st photo that it is the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. I know it because I live here and go all the time, but others may not. Did I miss you mentioning the name of the place somewhere! Do love your blog anyway!

    Done! My oversight is because so many I know are familiar with DBG, but you’re right many are not. And with still-decent temperatures, it’s worth a half-day drive from other places in the region. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! Looks perfect! We have had an amazing year so far weather-wise in Phoenix. I have lived here 38 years and don’t recall such a perfect one. The gardens are going wild and the DBG is wonderful!

      Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.