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Desert Botanical Garden, Part 1

Many times I have shared photos from one of my favorite places in all of Arizona, the Desert Botanical Garden located in Papago Park in east Phoenix just north of Tempe. I try not to repeat the same images so when they staged an exhibit by Bruce Munro called Sonoran Light I had to go. In fact, I saw the exhibit back in December when they had their annual Luminarias event — but experience has taught me not to attempt serious night photography during Luminarias — there are just too many people and many of them are climbing over each other taking photos of the nighttime art using their cellphone cameras with the flash turned on. Plus it can be quite chilly here in the desert during December. Better to postpone the photography until a time when there are fewer people and better temperatures.

I arrived before sundown to refresh my memory of where the various art pieces were situated but also to see if there were some other items of interest. I really liked this late afternoon vista of cactus and reddish hills.

Here is an example of Bruce Munro's artwork, entitled "Saguaro" — nice but not as impressive as it will be once the sun goes down. We'll be back.

The late-afternoon sun casts a subtle amber cast at a low angle on everything in the garden.

I love the effect on these small cacti — looks like Momma, Daddy and the babies.

The flowers on this succulent plant seem to be already glowing in anticipation of the nighttime show.

These cacti appear to be gathering in vast crowds so as not to miss the evening's entertainment.

Here is a flowering aloe plant — I do not recall often seeing such a splash of color from an aloe — good timing, I guess.

More aloe — more along the lines of what I usually expect. On a previous visit, I recall seeing one of the docents showing visitors how the liquid inside the aloe's thick fleshy leaves can be extracted and used for soothing medicinal purposes. It makes one wonder how the first humans decided to rip off one of these spiky leaves than spread the juice on an injury. Must have taken some courage mixed with curiosity.

Spring flowers are out in the desert — although I confess to not having any idea what this one is called. A friend has suggested it is Desert Honeysuckle — I can go with that.

Another group of cactus plants with a host of nasty looking spikes.

Fortunately, this flowering tree was labeled — it is a Texas Mountain Laurel.

It is still not dark but we can see the beginnings of the light show to come — small white globes being faintly illuminated with an embedded light fiber. It will look much better once the sun goes down — right now it rather much looks like a hill covered in trash.

To be continued...

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com