Desert Plants, Chihuly Glass
February 7, 2009 7:40 PM   Subscribe

Nestled amid the red buttes of Papago Park in Phoenix, the Desert Botanical Garden hosts one of the world’s finest collections of desert plants. Home to 139 rare, threatened and endangered plant species from around the world, the Garden offers interesting and inspiring experiences, while their website offers gardening help including good growing guides. The Desert Botanical Garden has educational programming and research for children as well as adults. The internationally acclaimed living collection of over 20,000 desert plants, with particular emphasis on those inhabiting the Sonoran Desert, continues to serve the public and scientific community.

The Desert Botanical Garden is presenting an exhibition by renowned artist Dale Chihuly (prev on MeFi, thanks mjjj) through May 2009. Chihuly: The Nature of Glass features new and unique works of glass artfully located throughout the Garden. Dale Chihuly is known for his innovative glass sculptures, and his work is immediately recognizable for its grand scale and vibrant colors.
posted by netbros (13 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I went there once, when we only had about an hour before we would have to leave. At the gates, we saw the prices and realized that an hour of planty delights was not worth that much money. Let down, we were about to leave, when a woman with a baby in a stroller approached us. "Do you want tickets!!!" she shouted.

We blinked. "Huh?"

"I have a season pass that gives me extra tickets!!! They expire soon, and I won't use them!!! Do you want them??"

So we said, "Yes! Sure! Thanks!" And the woman handed us the tickets. We examined them, and they certainly looked official.... Sure enough, they expired the next day. How fortuitous, we thought! Here, we had thought our plans had been ruined, but a wonderful, kind soul had given us exactly what we needed! It was fate! With our beautiful, free tickets, we were free to peruse the beautiful dessert plants we had so desired!

So we went up to the gates, seeing all the people standing in line to buy tickets. With our own, we had no need for that! So we went through the gates, and..

..Well, we just went through the gates. No one checked our tickets. We didn't even see anywhere where anyone would have checked our tickets. Just walked right on in.

Great thing we had those tickets.
posted by Ms. Saint at 8:34 PM on February 7, 2009

...But I guess I should say we had a lovely time and were all very glad that we had gone.
posted by Ms. Saint at 8:37 PM on February 7, 2009

I've been here and can enthusiastically recommend it. All sorts of cacti, quail everywhere.
posted by Morrigan at 8:38 PM on February 7, 2009

I read this as "Cthulhu grass". That is all.
posted by RichAromas at 9:17 PM on February 7, 2009

They have boojum trees too!
posted by forallmankind at 10:37 PM on February 7, 2009

we went to see the exhibit. and while it was "ok" for a Chihuly (mr. big glass) exhibit, kinda cool to see the glass with the cactus, my main reaction to the whole thing was "who would ever come to this botanical gardens without the glass?". colossal meh on all fronts :-)
posted by sineater at 10:48 PM on February 7, 2009

Ever since I can remember I've thought the Sturt desert pea was a v.purdy looking plant.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 12:30 AM on February 8, 2009

Here are some pics I took of the Chihuly Exhibit. They make me happy.

Otherwise, I am completely and abundantly in sineater's camp: the garden is really just "desert plants that you see in your day-to-day and make you long for a state with some actual green."
posted by disillusioned at 2:24 AM on February 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

The best time to go is in the spring when the cacti are flowering. Forget green. There's a lot of other colors in the rainbow to see. And that's also when they usually have the butterfly pavilion.

If you go during the hotter months, set your alarm clock and go early. Your mobility is severely limited when it's 110+F out there.
posted by ErWenn at 6:14 AM on February 8, 2009

Also, some pictures my girlfriend took. There are some flowers, but this was either early or late in the flower season (don't remember which).
posted by ErWenn at 6:17 AM on February 8, 2009

Hey! I live like a mile from the Botanical Gardens. Haven't checked out the new butterfly area yet, but they do these rad night time tours of the gardens that are pretty lovely.

... 'course, while you're over here, you should definitely check out Hole in the Rock and Hunt's Tomb. Oh, and the zoo is pretty cool as well.
posted by ph00dz at 6:22 AM on February 8, 2009

I was just there last month—my grandma's been volunteering there for almost as long as I've been alive. Pictures here.

Some of the glass looked really amazing, and seemed to bring out what was around it rather than overcoming the environment. Some of it, on the other hand, looked totally phoned in. A quick glance at Chihuly's website confirms that a lot of it is from previous installations, not specific to the DBG; however, phoned in/appropriate doesn't fall along the same lines as previous/new to the gardens.
posted by felix grundy at 8:37 AM on February 8, 2009

I'm grateful to Chihuly for lending his great prestige to the cause of keeping this garden going, but I am cast down to realize, despite remembering feeling that way myself occasionally before a certain inner eye finally opened, how many people think any work of art could even begin to approach the beauty of simple plants, much less empyrean exotics such as these.
posted by jamjam at 10:37 AM on February 8, 2009 [2 favorites]

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