Garden Photo of the Day

Petra’s visit to Desert Botanical Garden in Arizona

At the garden's entance some Chihuly sculptures fit in perfectly. Photo/Illustration: All photos courtesy of Petra Williams

Today’s photos are from Petra Williams. We’ve visited Petra’s garden in Vermont (HERE), and she’s taken us along on her visits to both Old Westbury Gardens on Long Island in New York (HERE) and the Central Park Conservatory Garden in New York City (HERE). Today she’s sharing her visit to a completely different part of the country.

Along with the blooming barrel cacti were some interesting wire mesh “cacti.”

She says, “You’ve mentioned that you haven’t featured any gardens yet from Arizona. Perhaps these pictures fit the bill. At the end of March/beginning of April, my husband and I spent a week in southern Arizona. I’d always wanted to see saguaro cacti in their native habitat. A must see for us was the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. We timed it perfectly, and everything was just starting to bloom. Additionally there were sculptures sited with the plantings throughout the garden.”

A Boojum tree

Petra, as far as I’m concerned, you’ve taken us to another planet today! I’ve never been to the Southwest, but so want to. The landscapes are fabulously alien to me, and I’d love to see them up close. Thanks so much for the tour–what a spectacular place! ***And…that makes 45 states we’ve featured! Five more to go….come on Alaska, Hawaii, South Dakota, Arkansas, and Mississippi! (Actually, Alaska and Hawaii are already in the works–stay tuned!)

A sundial made of mini cacti.

——Winter is the perfect time to take a photographic stroll through the photos you took in your garden this year……and then send some in to me at [email protected]!

Cardon cactus.
Palo Verde tree, saguaro cactus, and creosote bush
Gila woodpecker on a saguaro cactus
A mesquite tree with a Carolina Escobar sculpture.
An organ pipe cactus with a Carolina Escobar sculpture
Philip Haas sculpture of Spring. Summer, Autumn and Winter are equally fabulous.
Desert Penstemon with part of a Carolina Escobar sculpture.
Yucca blooming with the Cactus and Succulent Gallery in the background

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View Comments


  1. user-1020932 01/07/2014

    i do love to visit this garden and on this COLD COLD COLD morning i loved seeing the photos even more. it took me a minute to "find" the Chihuly sculptures in the first photo as i thought they were tall columnar yucca. yes, it's early. i thought Arkansas was featured awhile back but i can't find it. a garden with lots of stone borders and a beautiful vegetable garden but it is early and i am cold so who knows. i especially like the Boojum trees. not sure if it's the plant i like so much or the name or the way they look on a full moon desert night.

  2. user-1020932 01/07/2014

    i'm beginning to wake up and all 3 brain cells are working. i think the Arkansas gardener's name was Sue

  3. gloriaj 01/07/2014

    WOW. Michelle is right you have taken us to another planet. Beautiful, and you went at the perfect time. This is going to be on my must see gardens list.

  4. flowerladydi 01/07/2014

    I am following Jeff's lead here,,,, it is COLD!!!!,,, still -12 here,,, wind chills minus 30!,,,,and Arizona is looking so nice right now!,,,, Thank you Petra for sending, and yes!,, it does look like a different planet Michelle!! My former husband has lived in Arizona, ( Sedona ) for many years now,,, and it is fabulous!,,,, both the red rocks there are the deserts further south. I too did not distinguish the Chihuly sculptures at first either!,, they are sooooo great and blend so effortlessly! I saw an exhibit in Chicago some years back and JUST loved it!
    Love all the cacti Petra,,, not so sure I would want to live with it,, but it is so much fun to see and the flowers are so great too!,,,, I do admit though that I am fascinated by the siguaro's,,, not familiar with the Boojum tree,,, but too, like Jeff, love the name!
    Thank you for sending!!! This was great!

  5. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 01/07/2014

    Spectacular. Thanks for sharing your travels, Petra. What treat and great selection of photos. You can have a beautiful garden in just about any climate. I'd never want to live in the desert and give up the plants to which I have become so attached, but I keep trying to bring the desert to Ohio. We'll see how the agaves fare with the sub-zero temps we are facing now! sigh.

  6. User avater
    meander_michaele 01/07/2014

    These are such great pictures, Petra, and perfect for all of us feeling besieged by the cold. I'll bet those Chihuly sculptures look even more amazing lit up at night..all eerie and luminescent.
    Think I'll go do some google reading on Caroline Escobar...her work is very interesting.

  7. tractor1 01/07/2014

    Hah, it must be another planet, sculptures instead of scorpions, tarantulas, and rattlers. I lived in the southwest for five years so I'm familiar with that landscape. And I love all the blue sky. Everyone needs to tour Arizona and New Mexico. BTW, it gets quite cold and snows in the high desert. Thank you, Petra.

  8. greengenes 01/07/2014

    Totally rocks! I enjoyed the jolt this morning seeing your pics that you sent in, Petra! Thanks for giving us another view of gardening. There are so many different kinds of plants and artists! Creativity is the juice of life. Its so fun to create in all of our gardens! SPRING IS ON ITS WAY!

  9. jagardener 01/07/2014

    Really a different view of gardening but beautiful.

  10. GrannyMay 01/07/2014

    An absolute treat to have cacti and Chihuly with my coffee this morning, thanks Petra! Definitely looks like another planet, a place with its own beauty that I'd love to visit, then be happy to come back home.

  11. GrannyCC 01/07/2014

    Such a jolt to the senses. Thanks for sending the pictures Petra. Our daughter lived in Arizona for a year and we also visited New Mexico. It seemed like an alien landscape but so beautiful in a different way from home.

  12. Concordiabelle 01/07/2014

    I lived a couple of miles from the Botanical Garden as a kid. We used to ride horseback through the area and visit with the gardeners. It's much more "secure", "organized", and "formal" now, but still a beautiful place! I will always love the desert and the Valley of the Sun. Thank you so much for sharing!

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