Tag Archives: Gardens

Desert Botanical Garden – Phoenix, Arizona

Free Garden Visit

Cactus Fan Residents and visitors in the Phoenix/Scottsdale region can enjoy a FREE visit to the Desert Botanical Garden tomorrow, February 9, 2010, from 1-8pm. The garden occupies 50 acres of Papago Park, and is home to a broad collection of desert plants and foliage. Join a free docent tour to learn secrets and myths of common and rare species.

Themed trails through the acres include the Desert Discovery Loop, Desert Wildflower Loop, Herb Garden, Sonoran Desert Nature Loop and

Plants & People of the Sonoran Desert Loop Trail. Take a leisurely break at the Patio Cafe for lunch or afternoon Three Red Spikesrefreshment. 

In cooperation with the Heard Museum an exhibit of Allan Houser’s bronze sculptures currently enriches the garden experience. A renowned Native American artist, Houser gained world-wide recognition for his modernistic works before his death in 1994.

Houser Sculpture

Whether you can take advantage of the February 9, 2010 FREE day or not put the Desert Botanical Garden on your “To Do” list while in Phoenix.

Click to see a slide show of Desert Botanical Gardens images.

Previous Desert Botanical Garden Posts

Chihuly: The Nature of Glass by Night

Dale Chihuly Nature of Glass Exhibit

Albuquerque Biological Park – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Albuquerque Biological Park

Rio Grande Botanic Garden - TruckBotanic garden, aquarium and zoo form the Albuquerque Biological Park encompassing two locations. Walks through the Rio Grande Botanic Garden please the eye. The walled Spanish-Moorish Garden with a blue-tiled fountain soothes the senses. Curative herbs and plants used as traditional remedies abound in the Curandera Garden. The only requirement for entering the Children’s Fantasy Garden is to be young-at-heart. Based on an “Alice in Wonderland” theme the make-believe world includes a giant rabbit hole with 6-foot earthworms burrowing into walls, 11-foot watering can and a two-story “walk-in” pumpkin complete with oversize seeds and stringy “stuff.”

Alb AquariumNext to the gardens, the Albuquerque Aquarium follows a journey down the Rio Grande River from Albuquerque to the Gulf of Mexico. From fresh water riverine to deep ocean marine habitats are highlighted along the journey. Moon jellies mesmerize at my favorite exhibit. But, it’s hard to ignore the seemingly sinister residents in the shark tank – brown, sandtiger, blacktip and nurse sharks.


The Rio Grande Zoo offers close encounters with over 250 species of native and exotic animals. One of the newest additiBaby Elephant - Rio Grande Zooons is Daizy, a female Asian elephant calf born September 2, 2009, weighing in at 318 pounds. Most days visitors can meet Daizy and mom Rozie in the main elephant yard between 10am-noon and 2-4pm, depending on the weather and baby’s energy. Popular zoo features include Tropical America, Gator Swamp and Africa filling six acres with 17 separate exhibits.                                                                         


Photo of Daizy courtesy Rio Grande Zoo.   

*Travel Log* – Portland, Oregon – June, 14, 2009

History, Gardens and Noodle BGrant Houseowls

We each had a couple of things we really wanted to do with our one day in Portland, to complete a full list we would need a week. Bob wanted a mushroom cheesesteak sandwich at Philadelphia’s and a noodle bowl at Pho Van’s. Nancy wanted to re-visit Fort Vancouver National Historic Reserve and one of Portland’s beautiful gardens. Both agreed on a shopping trip to Trader Joe’s being a Furs - Fort Vancouvernecessity; and, to forego the Pride Day Parade and the Naked Bike Ride.

  •  Officers Row in the Vancouver National Historic Reserve transports us back to a more genteel time. Stately old trees shade the former homes of officers overlooking the parade grounds. The restored structures now house businesses, Hudson Bay Blanketscommunity groups, a restaurant and private residences.
  •  Fort Vancouver National Historic Site was the 19th-century Hudson Bay Company outpost for trade with fur trappers, Native Americans and settlers. Knowledgeable guides unfold the history in the Chief Factor’s Residence, Fur Warehouse and Indian Trade House.
  •  Philadelphia’s Steaks & Hoagies in the Sellwood Neighborhood (S.E. Milwaukie Ave.) was our lunch Rose Arbor - Fort Vancouverdestination. The mushroom cheesesteak was exactly as Bob remembered and longed for.
  • The Columbia Outlet Store in Lake Oswego has always offered good buys on Columbia sportswear. We have a closet full of rainwear, parkas and fleece but wanted to check for current bargains.
  • The Washington Park area west of Blue Flowers = Fort Vancouverdowntown is filled with options; on this June Sunday they were all busy with curious families. We planned to visit the Japanese and International Rose Test Gardens but gave up when we saw the crowds and parking situation.  Other options include the Oregon Zoo, Portland Children’s Museum, Hoyt Arboretum and the World Forestry Center Discovery Museum.
  • Driving around the city to our varied destinations Pink Flower - Fort Vancouvergave time for reminiscing  about our numerous trips when we had family living in Portland. We love the big trees, lush greenery and urban parks.
  • Trader Joe’s has yet to come to Colorado so we  need to stock up on nuts and gingersnaps whenever we can. Just seeing the sign causes a rush of excitement. Steven tells us we will love the new Thai spice and lime cashews.
  • Pho Van Vietnamese Restaurant on 82nd Avenue creates Bob’s favorite noodle bowl. We Pho Van Noodle Bowlboth finish every bite of Bún Thit Cha Giò (honey, lemongrass, pork and crispy rolls). I can’t seem to enjoy a noodle bowl without slurp spots on my shirt – tonight was no exception.

Happy birthday to good friend Vicki, and may more!

Chihuly Nature of Glass, Desert Botanical Garden – Phoenix, Arizona

Dale Chihuly Nature of Glass Exhibit

Final Days

Dale Chihuly’s phenomenally successful Nature of Glass exhibit at Phoenix’s Desert Botanical Garden closes May 31, 2009. For six months visitors have oohed and aahed over the colorful glass creations in the desert garden setting. Cameras have captured millions of memorable images, overviews to close-ups. I’ve arranged some of our favorites into four slide shows. I hope you have time to sit back and view the Nature of Glass.

Click “View Full Album,” on the following page click “Slide Show.” At the end of each slide show double click the back arrow to return to the blog post.

The Sun - N - Front Page

The first album begins with Desert Towers outside the garden entrance which mirrors the region’s yuccas and agave. The exhibit’s centerpiece – The Sun – brings more than 1,000 separate pieces of glass together into a 14-foot-tall explosion of color and form. Note how flower and cactus plantings compliment Scorpion Tails and Bamboo. Bet you can identify which of the  installations is named Mexican Hat and Horn Tower and The Moon.



Red Stems in Courtyard - Front Page

Reeds, tiger lilies, heron and horns, fiddleheads, ferns and fiori (Italian for flowers) appear in a multitude of rich colors. I find it fascinating how the glass integrates into the gardens.



Chiostro di Sant'Apollonia Chandelier - Front Page

The term chandelier takes on new meaning after you’ve viewed Chihuly’s creations. Hundreds, even thousands in some cases, of individual pieces attached to a frame almost defy description. We’ve seen numbers of Chihuly chandeliers in public buildings and previous exhibitions but there was something about seeing them in the outdoor setting that took our appreciation to a higher level. My favorite was the blue Chiostro di Sant’ Apollonia Chandelier pictured above.



Blue and Purple Boat - Front Page

Boats and floats in the desert? The juxtaposition may break the norm but three installations were special crowd pleasers. It’s nearly impossible to pick a favorite between Blue and Purple Boat and Boat and Floats.

We made two visits to Chihuly’s Nature of Glass at Desert Botanical Gardens during our Arizona trip. If we lived closer I’d be there this weekend for final oohs and aahs.


By night the glass and gardens offered totally different visuals. To see additional night photos check out my earlier blog, Nature of Glass by Night.

The Sun -  Night2

Mounts Botanical Garden – West Palm Beach, Florida

I’ve Never Seen Anything Like It

Angel Trumpet

An afternoon walk through the Mounts Botanical Garden in West Palm Beach elicits a constant comment of, "I’ve never seen anything like this before." Featuring more than 2,000 tropical and subtropical plants from six continents the gardens hold many mysteries for two ladies from the Rocky Mountains.

Scents of OleanderDriving down Military Trail, it’s easy to miss the entrance to the garden. The 14-acre botanical oasis is nearly hidden among strip malls, parking lots and the local driver’s license office. Once inside the gate that busy world is left behind as the sweet smell of oleander catches our attention.

The garden has a feature I haven’t come across before, the Oncell System allows you to phone a designated number from your cell phone for a brief introduction to the garden. As you proceed, if you see an area of interest with a numbered post, you may redial the phone number and then the post number for information on that garden section. A new take on self-guided/guided tours.

Red Pineapple - 72Palms sway overhead as we wander through rose, herb, palm and tropical foliage gardens. We search for small labels identifying angel trumpet, ponytail palm, and rainbow eucalyptus. Some plants are unusual variations of the familiar; a huge prickly pear variety demonstrates what happens when a cactus grows in a humid climate with lots of rain. Orchids trail from the crook of a tree and complex delicate blossoms adorn the tips of ugly twisted, thorny stems. We assign descriptive names to unique unidentified foliage – wilted cabbage, Jurassic Park platter, and torpedo palm.

Two White Flowers - 72Red Thorny Stem Flower - 72 Orchids - 72

We were the last two to leave the garden at closing, I’m sure we’ll be back in a different season and will once again utter, "I’ve never seen anything like it."

Palm Cone - 72When You Go: Mounts Botanical Garden is located at 559 North Military Trail (between Belvedere Rd. and Southern Blvd.), West Pam Beach, 561-233-1757. Admission is free, a $5 per person donation is suggested. The Gardens are open Monday through Saturday 8am – 4pm and on Sunday noon – 4pm. Closed on holidays recognized by Palm Beach County.

Mounts Botanical Garden - West Palm Beach, Florida
Mounts Botanical Garden – West Palm Beach, Florida

Desert Botanical Garden: Chihuly Exhibit – Phoenix, Arizona

Chihuly: The Nature of Glass by Night


As night descends on the Desert Botanical Garden the Chihuly: The Nature of Glass exhibit becomes even more dramatic and intriguing. Photographs can’t fully capture the entire essence of the evening illumination.


Tickets are timed for four-hour blocks, visitors may enter at any time during the four-hours. The 4pm – 8pm ticket with arrival near 4pm allows time to see the exhibit in daylight, enjoy a snack or dinner break at the Patio Cafe during sunset and experience the glass and gardens under the clear Arizona night sky.





Reservations are strongly advised, evenings frequently sell out. Chihuly: The Nature of Glass exhibit runs through the end of May 2009. If you’re anywhere near the Phoenix area include a visit to Desert Botanical Gardens and the Chihuly exhibit. You’ve never before seen anything like it.


Click here for more Chihuly Nature of Glass at the Desert Botanical Garden.