Tuesday, 24 May 2022, Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport
By the time I'd finally purchased tickets for my flight home, air fares had doubled. I did, however, find one fare running about $300 less than the rest - a red-eye, overnight flight leaving Phoenix late. Hey - Phoenix is a big city - according to my cousin, now the 5th-largest in the country. There must be an attraction I could hit while biding my time.
I've always had an affinity for botanic gardens. Recently I read an article about the best botanic gardens across the country, and it mentioned the Desert Botanic Garden here. Couldn't pick a better site for it, I reasoned. So I Googled them to check their website, find out the particulars. When the page came up, I couldn't believe what it said:
Chihuly in the Desert!
Until June 19, the garden would host numerous displays by artist Dale Chihuly. For those unfamiliar with him, he blows glass into intricate, colorful displays.
Sue and I had first experienced his art on a trip to Seattle, visiting his studio. To see his art in an outdoor setting (as well as a few indoors pieces in the gallery) - no chance I would miss that!
Outside the entrance gate, I wondered what the bright green, spiky looking plant was. Oops! that's where his exhibits start.
Inside, his Fiori Boat provided a big splash of color.
The Blue Birch Reeds mingle with prickly pear cacti.
Even areas without a Chihuly feature hold interest.
It turns out that every Tuesday, the staff come out to clean the art features.
Here, his Neodymium Reeds glow with a backlight.
Looking through the trees at another Chihuly feature.
One side of the park features saguaros dotting the hillside. Did you know that a saguaro can store up to 1500 gallons (6 tons) of water?
The gardens even include skeletons of cacti that didn't make it.
The Sol del Citron feature.
Details of one feature.
The garden includes displays highlighting the lives of people in the desert.
I've never seen furry cactus before!
Some cacti were flowering at this time. (Another feature in the background.)
Chihuly titled this work 'Paintbrushes'.
Yes - the bark on the palo verde tree is green. It contains chlorophyll, so that it can lose its leaves to the desert heat and still stay alive.
Another blue feature.
One of the displays in the gallery.
I spent three hours there, before the worst heat set in. What a a wonderful way to end a tour!