During our convention center fun, I was also looking forward to snapping off some shots from several of the garden spaces around this block area. The above picture was taken from the 15th floor of the Hyatt. As we look across the way, we see an area full of date palms. One of the complaints about Phoenix is that it is a city of concrete. And because there is so much concrete, the sidewalks and roads absorb all that 100+ heat and augment the temps by even more. At night, instead of cooling down like Tucson does, the heat stays!! Plus many of the people are transplants from green belts in the states. They bring their water guzzling ways and plant many non native species which increases our states use of the water. And yes...it does bother me:) So let's look at what works here. I don't think you have to sacrifice anything to achieve that "look".Canary Palm and the Mediterranean Fan Palm. I will be adding this to our landscape in the next month because as you may or may not know.....it's time to put your palm trees into the ground!!! How cool is that! Okay maybe I'm a bit too excited about all of this, but I seriously love landscaping in the desert.
Sometimes the need for art is overlooked in the landscaping design. While I'm not so crazy about this sculpture, I would have to say that it makes a statement. From the wrong angle, this fisherman appears to be peeing in the water. However, I do like the roadrunner on the rock. That's pretty cool.Red Yucca(huge hummingbird favorite with its red/pink flowers.....and a popular plant in Tucson), Agave, Canary Palm(in the middle), and the very sexy Mexican Bird of Paradise. More on that plant in a sec.
Now many of you LOVE this plant. It's one of the top searches for Las Aventuras. And I can understand why....it's fern like and has the most brilliant orange blooms. It's also bushy in appearance and makes a bold statement in landscape. And this delicate looking plant is one of the TOUGHEST in the desert. Very little water is required, but I do give it a little extra to grow quicker. In Phoenix this plant doesn't die back unless their winter is severe. In Tucson, the Mexican Bird of Paradise is cut back to the ground. In spring, it will send out its first shoots from the ground. And remember, the more sun it gets; the more blooms you'll have. I highly recommend this plant for beginners who want something that will survive. Xeric to the max and will make people drool all over your yard. And that's good because any extra moisture during this dry month of June is good for the plants:)
Some cacti and succulents do better in Phoenix than in Tucson. An example of this is found behind this jazz player. While you may see things like the San Pedro etc, you won't find many succulents. The simple fact is that Tucson gets too cold and you'll end up losing these plants creating a huge mess. Our historic freeze last year proved fatal for many of these beloved plants. Remember that if you are working with Euphorbs(especially the African kind), you'll need to take care with the milky sap that will sometimes ooze from a broken piece. You'll get a nasty burn/rash on your skin. Always wear gloves when handling these plants. In fact, I love when a cacti or succulent grows like this. I have such a cluster in my own side garden and I wrapped that sucker up from last years historic freeze. Today it stands tall and beautiful like it has for over a decade. It's in the headlining pic for Las Aventuras.
|Rainbow Bush/Portulacaria afra 'Variegata'|
I mentioned succulents. Gorgeous plants that add a lot of appeal to any garden or art design. However they thrive in moderate climates like San Diego along the coast. But several do extremely well here in Arizona....mostly in Phoenix. This(above pic) is the hardiest of the succulents that I experimented on here in Tucson. It endured our cold nights and LOVES our heat.....with a little bit of water. It's usually placed along a drip line with a little shade, but not too much.
And voila! There you have it. Desert design, IMHO, at its best! People seem to love it as does the local wildlife. More tomorrow.....