Early Spring: Desert Botanical Garden

With a wet, cool spring in much of the desert southwest, plants were thriving though a little late for spring blooms. Even in the low desert of Phoenix.

Monday afternoon was free, so I took one of my brothers, his lady friend, and her son to the Desert Botanical Garden for a few hours.

They really enjoyed it. Pics from 3/16/20:

DBG-Sonoran Indicators Mtn-SML

Chainfruit Cholla / Cylindropuntia fulgida joins other Sonoran Desert indicator plants such as Saguaro / Carnegia gigantea 

.

The spare feel of this, where plants aren’t crowded together, seems to reflect the essence of the desert southwest. The splash of color from Chuparosa / Justicia californica against Organ Pipe / Stenocereus thurberi also softens the foreground without crowding.

DBG-Spare_Chup Organ Pipe Barrel-SML

Birds like white wing doves always seem to nest in a saguaro

DBG-Saguaro Birds Nesting-SML

Though the closures and fear of Covid-19 were about to hit, people were already canceling reservations in the Valley’s high season. This garden was not as busy as typical in early spring. Now it’s been closed for over 2 weeks.

.

I’m enjoying seeing the yellow wall and other plants mellowing with age.

DBG-Yellow Wall Area01-SML

Superstition Mallow / Abutilon palmeri is a large, open shrub with large, papery blooms.

DBG-Yellow Wall Area02-SML

.

After spending so much time in the Valley over the last year and before that, I can spy Piestewa Peak far left where I’ve hiked. Plus portions of Camelback Mountain where I’d like to hike soon.

DBG-View to Camelback-SML

.

And back to the beginning, as we head out. Blueish agaves, yellow Desert Marigold / Baileya multiradiata left, and Desert Bluebells / Phacelia campanularia on the far left.

DBG-Blue Yellow-SML

More Garden Visits

We went to the Desert Botanical Garden 2 times in a week, and more since. Here’s what I saw, mostly unlabeled…

The 6/9/18 visit was toasty, but the paved path up to the ramada and views over the valley were impressive, though any breeze was a no-show.

But near the start of walking, this jewel:

DBG-White Ramada1-SMLDBG-ElephFood Cacti Etc-SMLDBG-Herb Garden1-SMLDBG-Herb Garden2_Green Wall-SML

.

Curry Plant / Helichrysum angustifolium, an early xeriscape mainstay in ABQ, which I had no idea would grow in the low desert…

DBG-Herb Garden3_Helichrysum1-SMLDBG-Herb Garden3_Helichrysum2-SML

.

This is about my favorite spot and combo at the garden…

DBG-Herb Garden5_Agave v-r_Art PC1-SMLDBG-Herb Garden5_Agave v-r_Art PC2-SMLDBG-Herb Garden6_Anemp calif1-SML

Yerba mansa / Anemopsis californica below an agave; minty, medicinal, waxy, fresh

DBG-Herb Garden6_Anemp calif2-SMLDBG-Ramada1-SMLDBG-Ramada3-SML

.

One can’t get enough shots of Camelback Mountain.

DBG-Ramada4_Camelback Mtn-SMLDBG-Crested Saguaro1-SMLDBG-Crested Saguaro2-SMLDBG-Cacti Grass Swaths1-SML

That green swath of Gulf Muhly / Muhlenbergia capillaris makes this area.

DBG-Cacti Grass Swaths2-SML

.

The 6/15/18 visit was cooler, though still 7F warmer than Scottsdale, but the breeze was delicious. Phoenicians showed up more than previous visits so far this summer, with many parking spaces filled. Previous visits this summer resembled a ghost town.

Nothing like spring visits, where it’s a major Canada and Midwest fest!

DBG-Agave macroacantha-SMLDBG-Echinopsis_Baileya1-SMLDBG-Riparian1-SML

Natives Western Cottonwood / Populus fremontii, sitting boulders, and some scattered Deergrass / Muhlenbergia rigens…simple, gracious, relaxed. I’ve seen some nice regional plantings probably inspired by this spot.

DBG-Riparian2-SMLDBG-Riparian3-SML

.

O’Odham shelter and garden shelter…

DBG-TohOodham1-SML

.

Desert Grassland, the blending of Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts at their extremes…

DBG-Desert Grs1-SML

.

Foothills chaparral, again where Sonoran and chaparral meet

DBG-Fthl1-SML

.

Jojoba / Simmondsia chinensis

DBG-Simondsia_chinensis1-SMLDBG-Simondsia_chinensis2-SMLDBG-Wall_Garden Entry-SMLDBG-Yucca Forest Arroyo-SMLDBG-Entry_Dwarf Opuntia-SMLDBG-Entry Ramada1-SML

Tall guy…

DBG-Entry Ramada2-SML

Two / too serious women…

DBG-Entry Ramada3-SML

Who wouldn’t enjoy walking to parking spaces under a gentle shade canopy of Parkinsonia?

DBG-Entry Walk_Desert Trees-SML

.

Even Saturday evening, on the 6/22/19 flashlight tour. At 8 pm it was 98F with no comfort, while at 8 am it was 84F.

DBG-Entry Saguaro Group-SML

.

A Parry Penstemon / Penstemon parryi that had to flower 3 months late…

DBG-Entry Penstemon_parryi-SMLDBG-Sculpture1-SML

.

Cardon / Pachycereus pringlei

DBG-Cardon Bldg1-SMLDBG-Light Yucca_rostrata1-SMLDBG-Crested Saguaro-SMLDBG-Yucca_rostrata_Container1-SML

.

Last Sunday’s visit on 6/29/18 though hot early (91F at 7 am), had some amazing light and a few moments of breeze. We just wandered the central loop walkway, without going off to the side much.

DBG-Entry Cacti Terr1-SML

.

Bunny Ears Prickly Pear / Opuntia microdasys used as a groundcover, and massing instead of random chaos…all uniquely bueno!

DBG-Opuntia microdasys GC1-SML

Did I say light? Let there be a flood of warm light, before it becomes a Sonoran laser beam sun.

DBG-Entry Trees_Golden Light-SMLDBG-Stenocereus_alamosensis-SML

.

Barrels imitating pots, and vice-versa

DBG-Golden Barrels_Pot-SML

I have no clue how many firms have designed sections of the Desert Botanical Garden, but it seems more than other gardens I’ve visited. Even the Denver Botanic Gardens, which has hired some different designers and horticulturists for specific areas.

It was time for a light breakfast and a cup of good joe, to reward myself from trying but failing to capture a covey of Gambel’s Quail earlier. And AC!

.

6/30/19 weather:
109F / 83F / 0.00 or 43c / 28c / .00

Saguaro-Inspired

I forget who recommended I visit the landscape outside Scottsdale’s Museum of the West in Old Town. Maybe it was Danger?

Saguaro cactus ribs seemed to have inspired parts of the museum and its landscape design, at least to this New Mexico resident’s guess. Photos from 4/26/19.

Museum Am W-Front1-SML

From my explorations near Camelback Road, it was only a 1-1/2 mile round trip walk in a rather pleasant, dry 100 degrees, with plenty of design-worthy window shopping and landscapes on the way, as I clung to shady areas.

Then my epiphany: Scottsdale is almost a cross of New Mexico and Beverly Hills!

I was drawn to the above by seeing the below. Multiple focal points, yet all related. Living sculptures with created sculptures, shadow patterns of multi-trunk desert trees…

Museum Am W-Front2-SMLMuseum Am W-Front3-SML

.

More sculptures in the dappled sunlight…

Museum Am W-Front4a-SMLMuseum Am W-Front4b-SML

.

In the shade, walking back to my car…

Museum Am W-East1-SML

Another sculpture within plant sculptures, playing off the saguaro rib walls…

Museum Am W-East2-SML

The yuccas look like Blue Yucca / Yucca rigida, often bluer than prom queen du jour Y. rostrata.

Museum Am W-East7-SML

.

More sidewalk patterns I’ve never seen before, at least outside the Valley of the Sun…

Museum Am W-East3-SML

Those intricate patterns might spall (fracture into adjacent concrete) in cooler winter climates, where there is some moisture with freeze / thaw. Even slight amounts of the above can limit the finishes practical on concrete paving.

.

Any questions why Deergrass / Muhlenbergia rigens was used in the parkway strip?

Museum Am W-East4-SMLMuseum Am W-East5-SML

.

Deergrass looks tougher than even in the Rio Grande Valley.

Museum Am W-East H2O Harvest Plant1-SML

The curb cuts for storm water infiltration into plant root zones is great to see. Believe it or not, some municipalities forbid such bioswales involving street runoff, even when their own codes or guidelines imply or encourage it.

Museum Am W-East H2O Harvest Plant2-SML

.

Different, large rock chunks mixed with smaller rock line those swales, while the incredible rock slab mulch covers this spare planting of Datil or Banana Yucca / Yucca baccata. Though yet another statue steals the show.

Museum Am W-West1-SML

This ground plane cover is very unique and really compliments these bulletproof plantings. I’ve seen something similar in past wild places I’ve explored in the west.

A mesa top near Cubero NM and this morning’s hike in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve come to mind.

Museum Am W-West2-SML

.

More of my rewarding walk to / from the museum…

Duck season! Wabbit Season! I’m not sure about ducks in Scottsdale, but they sure like (jack)wabbits here. Even if my visit was actually Palo Verde season…

Sdale Walk-Jackrabbit-SML

.

“Bye bye, tomorrow, Jody’s gone to the rodeo,
And you know some good old boys are getting ready to ride,
‘Cause it’s almost Saturday night.” – Dave Edmunds

Sdale Walk-Horse-SML

.

This small but lush garden entry to a salon is appealing, even if the fountain isn’t running.

Sdale-Steven Paul Gal1-SML

The sweet scent of the Star Jasmine / Trachelospermum jasminoides was gently intoxicating. Mixed with more mesic agaves and yuccas, it is even better.

Sdale-Steven Paul Gal2-SMLSdale-Steven Paul Gal3-SML

.

After passing a tapas restaurant I should have stopped at…

Canal-Sdale4-SML

Yucca rostrata that remain from some initial plantings; they seem to do almost as well here as in their home in the high, Chihuahuan Desert borderlands.

.

The Arizona Canal and some new buildings offered seeing water that wasn’t coming from spray heads midday to water token turf areas…

Canal-Sdale1-SMLCanal-Sdale2-SML

I missed getting a closer look at the Soleri Bridge, barely seen in the distance, right of the canal.

An interesting shade structure north of the canal…

Canal-Sdale3-SML

.

I’ll follow-up the first, museum landscape portion of this post with another post, if I’m able to ask the museum’s landscape architect a few questions I have of their design. Not many questions, since their firm’s project narrative covers many details of their design.

Though I rarely ask much of anyone, preferring to figure out things for myself. But since I’m nearby and one of the LAs commented on my Instagram post, why not?