The Desert Botanical Garden

Posted by on March 24, 2013

ChihulyChihuly? When I was researching where Chihuly had exhibited outdoors it mustn’t have registered he had an exhibit in Phoenix, Arizona, or I would have had his work on my mind when I recently visited the The Desert Botanical Garden. It’s probably just as well because the surprise of seeing his work at the entrance established a level of excitement that elated me during my afternoon visit.

It turns out it there was a Chihuly exhibit at The Desert Botanical Garden was four years ago, and it was so successful, Chihuly will be there again in the fall of this year.

As a long time opportunist, I keep my sights on interesting places to visit , so when I’m in the area for work, I can arrange to see some gardens. True to form, when I was asked to work with Troy-Bilt Saturday6, with meetings in Scottsdale, I arranged a visit to see the botanical garden.

Helen Yoest and Carolina EscobarI can’t think of any garden type that I don’t like or appreciate, but I can’t pretend to want to spend time knowing the plants from a place I’ll never be able to grow. I want to hear about them, but I don’t feel I need to retain the information. So while visiting these beautiful gardens in the desert, I focused on the display of the collection and, of course, the art.

In addition to the Chihuly, there was a lot of work by the renown local artist, Carolina Escobar. Ms. Escobar uses vibrant colors and shapes inspired by nature, working with steel, copper screen, and resined cloth to create organic sculptures. It was fun and funky.

Unfortunately, I only had my iPhone to use as a camera; my carryon had to be checked and missing my plane. Still it was a trilling experience to see the gardens, ones that I spent a lot of time in 12 and 13 years ago.

The Desert Botanical Garden mission is this:

The Garden’s commitment to the community to advance excellence in education, research, exhibition, and conservation of desert plants of the world with emphasis on the Southwestern United States. We will ensure that the Garden is always a compelling attraction that brings to like the many wonders of the desert.


Sitting on 145 acres with more than 50,000 plants, The Garden has five thematic trails that exhibit cactus and succulent species from around the world.

The gardens began in 1939. Even then, there was concern of conservation as retirees and those with vacation homes were bringing their old-garden styles from their home states. In a effort to preserve the desert landscape, and to show it’s beauty, the Desert Botanical Garden has been home of one of the finest and most diverse collections of succulent plants including rare, threatened, and endangered species from around the Southwest and the world.

Carolina EscobarHelen Yoest

Steve AsbellSteve Asbell, on the other hand, did concern himself with the various desert plants. So if you want to learn more about that, vista The Rainforest Garden.

If ever you have the opportunity to visit The Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. Do. It will impress you like a work of art, even when you can’t grow many of the plants.

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