Check out the Chihuly Glass sculptures at Phoenix’s Desert Botanical Garden
February 6th, 2009
If you’re lucky enough to travel anywhere in the world, there’s no excuse not to try and visit the local botanical garden or arboretum. My family has become used to this mission of mine and they often accommodate me.
Last weekend, though, I was with my fellow hort geeks, and no one tried to stop me from a garden side trip! I traveled to Phoenix for the Garden Writers Association winter board meeting. After sitting indoors in a board room all day, we rewarded ourselves by racing over to the Desert Botanical Garden, a magnificent place in the heart of Phoenix.
I first visited DBG about five years ago while staying with my parents (they have spent their winters in Mesa, AZ, a suburb of Phoenix for the past five or six years). At the time, I was a Seattle gardener. I was not interested in cactuses or other thorny desert plants. But the visit changed my mindset. The garden dates back to the late 1930s and it is designed beautifully. Who knew then that I would eventually live in Southern California where all these alien plants thrive with little or no water, heat, sun and (practically) neglect!?
Here are a few shots I took on that first visit:
The January 31, 2009 visit had an agenda.
Number one: Tour “Chihuly: The Nature of Glass” show, the Seattle artist’s first installation entirely within a desert garden environment. Number two: Meet Ken Schutz, the garden’s executive director, who led the GWA board on guided tour of the show (plus, he graciously joined us for dinner following our hour-long walk through the plants-and-glass extravaganza).
We gathered at the DBG entrance and were welcomed with a refreshing drink, straight from the desert: Prickly Pear Margaritas topped with a wedge of lime! You can purchase the Prickly Pear syrup in the garden’s wonderful gift shop.
Enjoy my narrated introduction, followed by my favorite images:
A virtual tour of the gorgeous glass sculpture display:
“Sun,” the opening sculpture
Agaves in glass: the new entry piece
An orange “planet” suspended above the succulent garden
The same piece, illuminated at night
Orange “flames” and golden barrel cactuses
Translucent forms of orange and apricot – in a sculptural doorway
Red “reeds” in contrast with silvery-blue cactus forms
A classic Chihuly expression: a glass chandelier in blues
The “moon” – viewed at night
Blue “ferns” in a blue garden (notice the fiddlehead tips of each piece)
Blue reeds and blue Agave
An old row boat, on dry land – overflowing with giant glass marbles
A first for Chihuly: pink glass
Metallic glass forms, inspired by green hornet tails
Chihuly after dark
Thanks for joining me on this tour – the exhibit will continue through May 2009, so find time to see it in person!