Wednesday, March 31, 2010

"Earth Laughs in Flowers"

"Since 1939, the Desert Botanical Garden has been home to one of the finest and most diverse collections of succulent plants, including rare, threatened and endangered species from around the Southwest.

It is the only botanical garden in the world whose mission, from its early inception, was to focus solely on desert plants." So read the Garden's informational brochure.

We have been to the Botanical Garden often--and have become members during one of our visits. On this visit, our primary objective was to walk the Harriet K. Maxwell Desert Wildflower Trail.

"Earth laughs in flowers." --Ralph Waldo Emerson.

As we walked, we overheard more than one frequent visitor say, "I've never seen so many flowers looking so beautiful."

Placed among the flowers and cacti in the Garden were sculptures by Chiricahua Apache master artist Allan Houser. Shown on the left is one of the 18 sculptures on display at the Garden. It is entitled "Watercarrier," 1986.

The winter rains are credited with the wash of color throughout the Garden and the deserts surrounding the Phoenix Metropolitan area.

We also overheard this part of a rain-related conversation between two other visitors to the Garden: "We have received about six inches of rain this winter" (spoken with the tone of disbelief). Later I checked the rainfall totals since January 1st at Sky Harbor International Airport: 4.88" (+2.20" above normal).

We also stopped in the Marshall Butterfly Pavilion. Hundreds of butterflies are reported to be housed in the exhibit space. I think this is a Pipevine Swallowtail (above).

"You must not know too much or be too precise or scientific about birds and trees and flowers and watercraft; a certain free-margin, and even vagueness - ignorance, credulity - helps your enjoyment of these things.” --Henry David Thoreau.

Makes sense to me.

We will be writing about the flowering cacti we have seen, but this succulent (a type of agave, I think) caught our attention.

I believe this is a Zebra Longwing.

"When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other." --Chinese Proverb.

Another of Allan Houser's sculptures: "Spirit of the Mountain," 1994.

This one-of-a-kind museum showcases 50 acres of beautiful outdoor exhibits, and once again we maybe walked over 10 percent of that total.

"Flowers are restful to look at. They have neither emotions nor conflicts." --Sigmund Freud.

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