Friday, February 19, 2016

2/19 Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix, AZ

I have made it a point to come here whenever I visit Phoenix.  Actually I discovered this place at least 20 years ago while I was in this area on a business trip.  This botanical garden is larger and more landscaped than Boyce Thompson, and it has more services in terms of guided tours, restaurants, gift shops, and events.  I visited here two years ago when they had a Chihuly glass exhibit.  Here is a link to my blog two years ago showing the exhibit:

Anyway, if you come to Phoenix and you like plants, this is the place to come to.  Lots of parking for big rigs like mine, also!  I had a whole bus parking lot to myself once again. 

These glass sculptures at the entrance must have been purchased or gifted as part of that exhibit. 

I took a picture of this cactus because if you look very carefully you can see tiny new leaves or flowers growing.  Very few of the cactus were in flower this visit, but with the rains this winter, they ought to be in full bloom in a couple of months.

Some of the cactus here are very large and apparently have been here for many decades as the gardens have grown.

This is a cactus acting as a host for a younger cactus.

I thought these were an interesting shape.

And a succulent beginning to bloom.  These are blue elf aloe plants.

This is a southern snakewood acacia tree in bloom.

This is a very rare crested saguaro. It is thought that a genetic mutation causes this weird growth, but they are very rare and valuable.

Don't know what this is, but it is certainly not growing normally.

I had been looking for the Gambel's quail that I knew lived in the gardens.  When I went to the outdoor café for a snack, I found a large group of them begging for crumbs.  What is strange is that normally these are very shy birds and very difficult to photograph, but these guys practically ran up to you.  This one is a male.

This one was practically posing for photos!  Front view....

And a nice side view??  This one is obviously a female because she does not have the bright face markings.

Another male.

Enough of the birds, and back to cactus.  I saw several cactus wrens and a round-tailed ground squirrel also scrounging around the café.

The day was the coolest in a week or so, but I got tired of walking after almost four hours, so left.  You really cannot see this entire place even in one day, but it is a pleasant place to spend some time.  

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