In an effort to do something positive, Becky and I went for a drive around Papago Park today. Within the park, there is a Botanical Garden, a Zoo, and a Museum. The park is a large area of desert within the city. I wanted to see the garden as I used to be a Garden Designer and love to see new plant material. I also enjoy seeing what other designers have created.
I wa pleasantly surprised to see these glass sculptures at the opening to the Desert Botanical Gardens.
I thought they brilliantly captured the feel and look of cacti. It is only the colour that differentiates them from actual plants at a distance. It was also a bold choice for a Botanical Garden, which typically displays exotic plant material on the outside, in order to entice you inside. I didn’t need much enticing. Inside the garden, there was a choice of several pathways. Becky and chose the Desert Discovery Loop Trail. The first thing we discovered, was these prayer ribbons.
These may look more at home in Tibet. According to custom, the prayers are then carried by the wind. Now, many of these ribbons had holiday greetings written on them. I thought perhaps they were written for loved ones who were far away. What a lovely thought to know there is a ribbon flapping in the wind in Phoenix, and it has your name on it. It was also a sign of the community involvement in this garden that I have not seen in other large landscape projects.
Further along the path were giant Cordons. A sure indicator of the success of succulent adaptation to the arid environment. They were huge! Perhaps they could be used as a back drop for the next Jurassic Park movie.
The plant beds were beautifully designed with a variety of plant material, educational information, sculpture, and native displays. There was a display of wooden sculptures depicting insects that was scattered around the gardens. The sculpture is changed regularly, so it is not only a botanical display, but a sculpture garden as well. The plants provide an ever-changing background to the art work.
Although the trail was not long, or arduous, it took us 90 minutes to walk around. We were constantly stopping to look. The wildlife provides another distraction in the form of birds and insects, real ones this time.
A collection of cacti and succulents are housed under giant canopies, which also provide a wonderful frame for the plants.
I have been to many botanical gardens around the world, but I really liked this one. I thought that it pushed the envelope and wasn’t just a drab collection of specimens. A lot of thought had gone into the displays and organization, making it a truly interesting experience. The innovations have made the garden accessible to all.