A recent trip to the Desert Botanical Gardens in Scottsdale, Arizona, yielded a plethora of unique shapes–in spite of the unseasonably cold weather that had me thankful to have worn a parka.
Ironwood shapes were an added set of sculptures that commemorated the contributions of Phil Hebets who, in 1980, “originated a tree boxing methodology that enabled over one million native plants to be salvaged rather than bulldozed.” One result of his technology is the municipal ordinances in places like Tucson that require that native plants be saved and replanted in developments. Nothing looks more out of place in a desert landscape than a green lawn more appropriately found in northern climes.
Additionally, although not yet the season for them, I found some blossoms that portend how colorful a desert landscape can be in the warmer spring months when butterflies and hummingbirds visit the area.
If you’ve never been to the botanical gardens in Scottsdale, I recommend them. The entire facility (not counting the gift shops) can be found outside. You can walk the trails, even climb a high hill that overlooks the gardens. Although located very near major thoroughfares with whizzing cars, I found myself imagining having been transported far from civilization as I wandered among the saguaros (so tall and stately) and the barrel cacti (resembling plump circles as they squatted on the ground). Even the more recent contributions of Chihuly took on a desert-like persona as they welcome visitors near the entrance.