Sunday, October 25, 2015

Four Things About The Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden

Thing #1:  "You can do this at your house!"  landscapes around a residential-scale structure, to illustrate how local gardens can be climate-appropriate without sacrificing beauty, function, or comfort.












Thing #2:  formal plant arrangements with stone and tile covered walls and terraces, for visual impact.









Thing #3:  areas planted with a naturalistic mix of desert trees, shrubs, grasses, perennials, and succulent plants.












Thing #4:  habitat for native birds, reptiles, insects, and unfortunately, rabbits--several areas were rabbit fenced to protect the plants. 
Great Horned Owl sleeping in Mesquite tree:
 Cactus Wren
 Bird nests everywhere




More Cactus Wrens.



A young lizard (genus Aspidoscelis?):
 House finch eating Lantana berries:
Bee and ants in Ferocactus townsendianus:

We really enjoyed our visit.  Many of the paths are well shaded by Mesquite and Parkinsonia trees, so despite the heat, it was not uncomfortable due to all the shade.  The mix of different types of landscaping was truly lovely as well as instructional.  
 
 

29 comments:

  1. Great photography here. Captures what seems to me to be the primary difference between southwestern US and Californian landscaping: there's a lovely low-key, naturalistic calm about successful examples of the former, with an emphasis on human comfort but not at the expense of the vignettes (so, thankfully, no outdoor rooms constructed around and to fit pillows and firepits and swimming pools). A lot less frantic and frenetic than I'm used to seeing.

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    1. The tyranny of the throw pillow. The harsher climate is more in charge in AZ than in mild So Cal. Our greater flexibility may be a bit of a drawback at times.

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  2. Beautiful photos and insightful commentary. Looks like you had nice even light.

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    1. There was a thin overcast during our visit, so the light was surprisingly soft. I noticed right away how different the light was in AZ; rather amazing what constantly taking photos will reveal.

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  3. Great photos and insight. Habitat, habitat, habitat (it's practically my little mantra): The owl, the whiptail, the cactus wren on a cactus (what a catch!)... terrific landscapes for humans and other critters to enjoy. "Beauty, function, and comfort -- and climate-appropriate." Thanks for this!

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    1. The difference in bird count between a property of lawn and a few foundation shrubs and a property with climate-appropriate shrubs and trees and butterfly plants--it's night and day.

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  4. This garden is now on my must-visit list. In addition to the beautiful native plants, I love the use of stone, mosaic and concrete in such a modern - but quiet - way. You must have enjoyed yourself there!

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    1. I recommend a visit. It was great! They had plants for sale, too.

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  5. Valuable lessons indeed. Love the blue-tailed skink - or, at least that's what it reminded me of. Such a cool lizard!

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    1. I looked through a lizards-of-arizona site trying to id it. Learned that the blue color is mostly seen in juvenile beasties, almost all of them grow out of the color as they mature--it looked most like a whiptail rather than a skink, but I'm no lizardologist. Here the Western Fence Lizard blues up in breeding season. It's such a gorgeous color!

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    2. (do you know Allison Shock of Scottdale? She is a lizardologist, and has a nice naturalist-leaning fb page as well as a blog at three star owl. alias is cranky owlet. hubby is a prof of rockology.)

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  6. Such a lovely place, the gardens are wonderful with so many plants and birds...cute lizard too! Plants for sale, I would love that!!! :)
    xoxoxo ♡

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    1. The place was so alive with little animals--that made it all the more delightful.

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  7. I love all that wonderful stonework. And the photo of the sleeping owl - what a great catch! I didn't know that house finches would eat Lantana berries - now I know to leave those along. Thanks for the post!

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    1. The stone was gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous and so beautifully done It added so much to the ambiance and was I am assuming local stuff. Arizona is full of beautiful stone.

      It was a volunteer docent that pointed out the owl--all hail the volunteers! They were wonderful and knowledgable, too.

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  8. The shade cloth over the beds -- is it red just for decorative reasons? Or is this something to do with UV or selective light absorption...?

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    1. I wondered about that--but there wasn't anyone around to ask, and I forgot to ask when we found a volunteer. Gives me an excuse to go back and find out. ;^)

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  9. Lovely images and commentary. I can always count on your emails to lighten up the day with thoughtful writing and illuminating images. Thanks so much!

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  10. pps: checking Allison's blog for possible whiptails, I followed a link to her Tucson friend Kate's blog, where K listed a link to some San Diegans' herp blog. love blog-hoppin. anyway check out for photos, herpindiego.

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  11. Wonderful to revisit this excellent BG with you!

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    1. It is quite excellent; we had a great visit. Thanks!

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  12. I have really enjoyed all of your AZ posts, especially this one.

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    1. I so enjoy your beautiful blog, happy to be able to "pay back" a tiny bit of entertainment.

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