Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Museum plantings, desert style

Our SW travels took us to two museums with plantings I really appreciated. The first was in Scottsdale, at the Museum of the West: "Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West boldly immerses its guests in the unique story of the Greater Western region, illuminating the past to shape our future" (i.e. lots of cowboy and Indian paintings and artifacts)...

As you may have guessed this was an Andrew desired destination, but how could I complain when he willingly visits gardens and nurseries with me? Besides, there were trunking Yucca...

And a mini-forest of Saguaro...

And my favorite desert tree, the Palo Verde.

From the landscape architect's website: "Reminiscent of desert pavement and arranged by hand, slabs of Arizona Brown Schist are layered within garden spaces to provide a rich backdrop of texture, but also preserve moisture in the soil."

The patterns in the pavement are "sandblasted tooled patterns, evocative of western embroidery and leather designs"...

They also appear in the metal walkways over bioswales...

Andrew overheard a docent explaining rust from the metal siding of the building (visible in a few of the photos above) will be allowed run into these patterns (via rainfall I assume? However Scottsdale only averages 9" a year) and with time add another dimension of color, the way a leather saddle changes with time and wear. I like that idea, but couldn't find anything online to support it.

The same docent also explained the rough cement texture on these walls represent the ribs of a Saguaro.
Again I couldn't find anything online to support that, but I can definitely see it, can't you?

This image did make me smile. If the wall is meant to evoke a Saguaro, what's ivy doing growing on it?

It is pretty though.

I'm unable to identify the blue leaved Yucca (or Dasylirion?), but isn't wonderful?

Ditto for this curly fellow.

Andrew enjoyed the inside of the museum, so all in all this was a successful stop!

The closing event for the family reunion, in Las Cruces, was dinner at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum. Again I wasn't expecting interesting plantings but there they were, and the moon too...

The photos are poor, because I was too lazy to pull out my camera. But hey, there are Agave blooms!

And Dasylirion blooms.

No Opuntia blooms, but lots of unripend fruit.

Looking at these images I'm taken back to one of the first museums I visited in Phoenix, their art museum (a few photos here). I was as impressed with the plants as I was the artwork. You can take the girl out of the garden but not the garden out of the girl. Or something like that...

Weather Diary, June 25: Hi 72, Low 58/ Precip .02"

All material © 2009-2018 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

21 comments:

  1. I love it when beautiful architectural plants like yuccas and saguaro is repeat and mass planted like the ones you've shown, so simple and yet so full of impact.

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    1. Agreed. A nice budget helps with acquiring mature specimens too...

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  2. What great destinations! I have to check out the Museum of the West the next time I'm in Scottsdale, hopefully in late December.

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    1. You visit is certain to be "cooler" than ours...

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  3. I love that wall pattern!

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  4. I think these are plantings are really good. Do you know who the landscape architect was?

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    1. For the Scottsdale museum yes, and I linked to them above.
      http://colwellshelor.com/works/scottsdales-museum-of-the-west/

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  5. All the surfaces at the Scottsdale museum were interesting. I was surprised by the use of chunks of rock in lieu of gravel around the Yuccas and Saguaros. I really liked that curly silver plant, whatever it is.

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    1. I remember my brother telling me that big rocks are bad to use as mulch in Phoenix because they leave big spaces, where big bugs can hide. I always think of that when I see chunky mulch like this.

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  6. The Saguaro against the ribbed concrete is a great look. Beautiful design there in AZ but wow it must be lethally hot in July with all that concrete and stone.

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    1. It was pretty hot in June too, although honesty I'd take that dry desert heat over the humidity any day.

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  7. I think your mystery blue yucca might actually be a nolina. It reminds me of Nolina nelsonii. David Cristiani would probably know!

    I love all those plantings and textures, especially that "saguaro" concrete wall.

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    1. Yep! I bet you're right. Why does my mind always go to Dasylirion instead of Nolina?

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    2. Because they're far more popular? BTW, the plant you forgot the ID of at the Austin library...a mature specimen of nelsonii. You don't see those too often here, and I'm not sure why they're not more popular because they're technically a native. Maybe because everyone seem to love the rostrata more & the rostrata is far more readily available?

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  8. Gorgeous! Although that saguaro Forrest is very... museum-like? The wall texture was more natural, I think.

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    1. Not one for evenly spaced plants? I'm not usually. But in a setting like this is works.

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  9. Those inflorescences are amazing!

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    1. I took so many photos of them! (here and throughout the trip)

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  10. Impressive thought behind the elements in the Scottsdale Museum exterior and garden. Those people really had their schist together!

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    1. Oh Peter...you're a natural...

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