Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Phx Preview

Between some work, I drove to the Valley of the Sun on 3/31.

I attended Phoenix Home and Garden's "Grand Tour of Gardens", mountain biked, visited a wholesale nursery, sipped libations, caught up with friends, hiked, and enjoyed good coffee. And worked, plus saw some great natural and built landscapes. Some teasers:

What's beyond the cool, cavernous entry patio? Stay tuned.

Nice water features

Exuberance but with a bit too much water (it's a desert out there)

Outdoor living and good color use (color ain't just fleeting flowers)

Concentrated, private oasis areas (the skilled desert designer or
property owner does not try to turn the whole property into the
oasis...that's what moving back to the midwest is for...)

Succulents and sculpture plants (those lucky winterless Sonoran
Desert dwellers...but I know there's a nasty side to it
come late May-early October.............)

Epic riding on soft granite in epic desert terrain and plant

More driving, but pretty freeway landscapes to do that in (not the
dreaded Nazi-brown or Stalin-gray hodge-podge motifs, that 
keep getting re-hashed)

Corporate HQ desert plant porn

This is after libations, but it is really off Mill Ave in Tempe (a vibrant
urban / university area of town, unlike some others I know of)

Nice graphics, grounded where they are

Soft and sharp

Rustic classics

Hardscape that tastefully integrates place and context,
some modern

Oh yeah! This beats gray and brown twigs,
AKA xeriscape-ugly

And my trip happened when Abq did it's now-weekly tweek into lousy weather. And I worked a little more. And I took way over 1200 pics, working my camera and its battery, over and over again...

Caution - Phoenix is often grossly misrepresented in it's landscape architecture. Don't believe it. Such folks just can't get past their politics, jealousy, and/or parroting of others with little experience.

Much more later, but I hope you enjoyed this preview!


  1. Hmmm...libations and giant bunnies. And, they weren't even 'Jackalopes'...haha

    Great shots. Looking forward to the lessons that come from this trip. Sounds like you had a good time. Any time we take THAT many photos, it's a good time. More photos mean more things that tempt us.

    1. Ha ha! Definitely a great time, and more inspiring than ever. Yes, many things to tempt...

  2. Nice preview, looking forward to the stories.

    There were a lot of good ideas. The cactus as sculpture gardens looked impressive. I don't like the chorus line of tree roses.

    The giant jackrabbits are hilarious. Let's just say they really do look that big when caught in headlights against your garage door! Try to describe it to friends later and it becomes a "tall" tale.

    Your comments toward the end of this post reminded me of a major road in ABQ where they used something like black slag to "decorate" the median for many blocks. It's definitely low maintenance and boring. Almost as if boring is a valid "design intent" statement for the city.

    1. Hopefully, some of the photos coming up on future posts will explain other areas better. Those rabbits are funny...I recall that 60's Jefferson Airplane song White Rabbit!

      I remember dark rock (road base course?) going in along 1-2 miles of I-40 W of me, after a nasty monsoon storm and 12"+ of water rushing down the freeway sides! An ugly bandaid "solution". Mediocrity seems to rule here, and always has.

      I should do a post about the city's reaction to something I designed...

  3. Ah one of my very favorite places in the whole world! I look forward to more photos (and enjoyed the ones you've already "tweeted")

    1. So glad I visited...I'll have to find your past posts on DBG! Glad you enjoyed so far.

  4. Thanks for the tour, I did enjoy it very much! Looking forward to more...

    1. You bet, and much more coming up!

  5. Sounds like a great trip - plant porn and good coffee! Love the use of colour in seating and other landscape elements. Change your mind and buy new chairs or slap on a fresh coat of paint!

    1. It was incredible! (and good pastries at "the shops at El Pedregal" :) Yes, a nice use of color.

      I will post more on a great nursery, all about nice plants, furnishings and a cafe in San Francisco. Next time you go through, you might like it if you've never been...Flora Grubb. I showed a little of it 3-4 posts ago.

  6. Hi David,
    Loved the low yellow bench ending in the water table. Also loved the corporate HQ porn shot.
    As always wot u guys can grow is a real treat for UK eyes - especially Poor Jim's!

    1. Thanks for the compliments. Like you, I envy the unique plant forms that the Sonoran Desert and warm parts of the Mediterranean climates can grow, but no one else. Poor Jim needs another trip to San Diego or Phoenix!

  7. Well we've got a full blown snow storm and just starting to stick on the ground.

    I've got to contact the US Embassy and expedite my wife's paper work so we can come back home.

    Looking at those pictures I can almost feel the warmth in my mind's eye.

    1. Seems late for that, but when I was 8, we took a trip to Sicily from Belgium, and while gone, Belgium had heavy snow that knocked out power.

      I didn't know you were coming back to the US. Yes, the SW is radiating warmth, finally. I suppose it does in winter, just less!

    2. "Seems late for that, but when I was 8, we took a trip to Sicily from Belgium, and while gone, Belgium had heavy snow that knocked out power."

      I just knew that last name was Italian


      "I didn't know you were coming back to the US."

      Yeah, incredibly when you do things the legal way, it takes some bucks. Now I understand why it's mostly done illegally.

      *eyes rolling - sigh*

  8. Love the last four photos...staying tuned!

    1. Thanks for stopping by. So many good examples, plus a few bad ones, that I could post every day for months. But with the day job, I hope to put something more up in the coming week.


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