Saturday, February 8, 2014

Surprise in the Desert

When I first heard about the Desert Botanical Garden here in Phoenix, I couldn't imagine what would be so interesting about it.

Walk around and look at a bunch of cacti for an afternoon? "I'll give it about an hour and then we can move on," I thought to myself.

Oh boy, was I ever wrong!

Not only is it spectacular for its 50,000+ plant/cacti displays, but there is a nearly indescribable exhibition going on right now that enhanced the displays by 200%, in my opinion!

Do you see those three brilliant green cacti in the picture above?

Those are made of glass.

And the "blue bloom" getting a dusting by a volunteer? Yep, it's glass too!

Before today I'd never heard the name "Dale Chihuly". But now I'm absolutely a fan of this artist from Tacoma, Washington and his glassblowing gift and exhibition! I've truly never seen anything like it.

Around nearly every bend was a surprise by Chihuly, like these red reeds seemingly growing in the desert. We honestly thought they were real as we came upon them!

Not to be outdone by the pieces of art scattered throughout the Garden, I have to say that the lavish display of so many different varieties of the cactus plant was quite spectacular itself. Combine that with a little "Chihuly" in the background (as you can see in the next photo), and you have something really extraordinary for the eye to behold!

On the recommendation of Michelle's parents who'd been to visit the Garden, we thought we'd walk a little, get some lunch, and move on to something else.

But oh no! We were there for SEVEN hours today!

You just couldn't go through it all quickly. Between the cacti, glass displays, sunshine, warmth and blue sky, we wandered for hours soaking it in. We truly appreciated and enjoyed every aspect of the day!

The red and yellow "cactus" rising up out of the desert floor was my favorite. If you could only see how many versions of pictures I took of it you'd know that I'm sparing you and only putting in one! But it certainly captivated my attention and is much larger than you'd expect: such a beautiful work of art.

One of the volunteers told us that it took several weeks for Chihuly's team to come and install the exhibition, each piece having been packed in a box with directions on how to put it all together!

After seeing a movie about him and his work while we were there at the Botanical Garden, I was even more mesmerized by the glass displays as I imagined what it took to create them, both in the glassblowing studio, and here on sight.

Various people throughout the day told us we really should see the displays in the evening, so we ate dinner there, shopped in the gift store, and then went back into the Garden to see parts of it again.

We were not disappointed, that's for sure!

Lit up, these pieces of art looked like torches guiding you into some sort of artistic Disneyland for adults! It was so fantastic!

As we drove home, seeing cacti alongside the road, I felt a new fondness and friendly feeling toward them after having spent the day in the Garden admiring all the different shapes, sizes, and colors of them.

They are the true masterpieces, crafted by an infinitely creative Artist of epic proportion!


  1. So much fun! I'd love to see this some day!

  2. Thanks for posting these photos. Chihuly is one of my favorites. We have a Chiculy chandelier at the Rochester Eastman Theater - so I grew up gawking at this huge glass figure anytime we went to the theater. We were in Chicago when the Chihuly exhibition was there and spent a great afternoon with his museum pieces. Loved it. I'd love to see it outdoors with natural light and then lit at night. What a great experience!

  3. What a perfect place for the two of you to spend the day relaxing together and catching up….with loads of sunshine and fresh air and BEAUTY! And I'm sure you two beauties just added to the lovely landscape!