Posts Tagged ‘Tohono Chul’

I didn’t take a photo of the information for these sculptures surrounding a lovely little pond, but if you look at those ears, you know it’s not a house cat. 🙂 Mom’s on alert but everyone else looks pretty relaxed.

David Stone’s “Regal Horned Lizard” of ferro-cement, steel wire, and mesh at Tohono Chul is so realistic that I almost expected a gigantic tongue to flick out to scoop up a trio of snacks, despite the somewhat pleasant expression on its face. Thank goodness none of them are actually this big!!

If you live anywhere in the Tucson area, you really must visit Tohono Chul. Sometime during your visit, stop at the cafe and have a prickly pear lemonade. The color is beautiful, the taste sublime. If your taste inclines to alcohol, you can get a prickly pear margarita or mimosa instead. We didn’t order food, but everything sounded delicious and if you have a membership at one of a number of gardens, you might be able to get in free.

Once we joined the Desert Botanical Garden, I figured we should take advantage of the reciprocal membership option, good at botanical gardens throughout the US. Tuscon’s Tohono Chul was on the list and as some of you know, we fell in love with its slice of Sonoran desert plant life.

The variegated plant in the front left is a century plant but don’t get too excited. As the Gardening Solutions website points out:

The plant’s common name is a bit misleading; while many people think it means these plants live for—or bloom after—100 years, it actually matures much faster. Century plants generally take between 8 and 30 years to flower.

Once the plant has reached maturity, a central stem grows up to 20 feet tall. Pale yellow or white blossoms appear atop this branched flower spire during summertime. Most century plants will die after they flower, although the spineless century plant (Agave attenuata) flowers multiple times a year.

Our rental house had one of these which blossomed last year. Eventually the tall, thick stem began to list and had to be cut down and put out for bulk pickup along with the rest of the dying plant. We were underwhelmed. Still looking for something to replace it.

I love Tohono Chul’s large amount of signage for their vast number of desert plants. “Red Spike Ice Plant” is a great name even though ice is unlikely to occur anywhere in its vicinity.

Fire sticks is a perfect name for this plant.

Although the century plant is a type of agave, this agave is probably more easily recognizable as such. There are over 200 types of agave. I must say that this one is pretty impressive. These leaves serve as catchalls for all sort of desert detritus or, every so often, rain. The edges have little sharp protrusions, making them look a bit like saws.

For me there’s nothing quite as attractive as a well-built stone wall but having a planter spot for a cactus elevates this one.

Thus endeth our walk for today. But don’t despair. There will be more.

FOTD 3.8.22

Time for us to head back to Tucson to the beautiful gardens of Tohono Chul (“desert garden” in the language of the Tohono O’odham people). There are a number of smaller, more intimate areas in the large garden, including this Meditation Garden. For now we’ll meditate on the door leading to it.

To paraphrase the old adage: “A nod is as good as a wink to a blind man”, a gate’s as good as a door to a Thursday Door-ite. Hmmm, that sounds a lot like Dudley Do-right of the old cartoon series and the “Rocky and Bullwinkle” show. But I digress. At any rate, here’s the gate. Oh, I’m a poet and I didn’t know it…until just now.

Here’s a final door, Spanish-looking, sturdy, and elegant with some ironmongery for who like that sort of thing (which is probably all of us.)

Thursday Doors 3.3.22

First the good news: yesterday we settled my mom in a care home, something that badly needed to be done. We just couldn’t do everything to care for her at home and my dad can’t do it either. It’s a huge weight off my shoulders but also the main reason I haven’t been around much this last week. Hopefully life will get a little more normal now and I can get back to visiting all of you regularly again.

Anyway…while we were having a non-alcoholic drink in the courtyard at Tohono Chul, I looked around for photo ops, finding some attractive doors. Alas, all three of these had something blocking the perfect shot and it wasn’t a car. This first one looks like one of those doors that can open at top and bottom.

I was so tempted to try to move the holders for the free papers to get all the very cool Southwest door panels. I wonder whether the three without design are unfinished or in process.

That sign and the wet floor stands are out of order as far as I’m concerned. Good thing I didn’t need to use the restroom! But I did use the door.

Thursday Doors 1.17.22

Cee’s Thursday Doors

The definition of a door for Thursday Doors is elastic, including a variety of alternatives. My first alternative door today is the door to a Southwestern fireplace that you might find in an adobe home. This one sports Southwestern motifs: two saguaro, a century plant, a quail, a javelina (AKA wild pig or collared peccary), and of course, the sun. Since it has hinges, that elevates it from mere firescreen to fireplace door in my estimation. 🙂

All three doors today are from Tohono Chul Botanical Garden, which we’ll visit more in-depth once I finish with the Chihuly exhibit.

I like that this gate’s center parts are made from found wood, helping it blend seamlessly with its surroundings. It reminds me of the way the people in Costa Rica used long sticks for their fences.

In contrast, this sturdy gate is much more finished, although I’m not sure what happened to the missing bit on the right-hand side.

We’re taking a day break from the Chihuly exhibit (back tomorrow, though) to travel south to Tucson and the Tohono Chul botanical gardens. Membership at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix comes with reciprocal admission to over 300 gardens throughout the U.S. so we decided to take advantage of that on one of the last days off my husband has for a bit. Little did we know what a gem this garden was! But more about the garden itself will have to wait until we’ve finished ooh-ing and aah-ing over Chihuly. For today, though, I have first a lovely set of doors leading into a inner courtyard and from there into the bistro. The left-hand one even has a bonus door.

I felt these doors had a very European feel to them but then the Southwest often takes a nod to Spain and similar European areas.

I also enjoyed this gate and the small specialized garden on the other side.

Tomorrow it’s back to glass but I hope you enjoyed the little side trip and that it whet your appetite for learning more about this wonderful garden.

Thursday Doors 1.13.21