28 Jan Postcard From the Sonoran: Tackling Desert and Design in Phoenix
Today I start a new job (!) and have my first big deadline of the semester, and also — what’s that? — Ryan has just informed me that the Super Bowl is happening this Sunday. (If your yard isn’t covered under two feet of snow and you’re thinking about entertaining outdoors, here’s our guide to throwing a bash for the Big Game.)
Right now we’re feeling nostalgic for our 2010 visit to Phoenix, AZ, the host of this weekend’s Super Bowl XLIX. (Or superb owl ex-licks, as I’ve been calling it in my mind.) During that trip we explored Taliesin West in neighboring Scottsdale, Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter home and a triumph of architecture and desert landscaping. The grounds, which also serve as the campus for the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, are a wonderland of dramatically angled eaves and low-ceilinged, shade-maximizing shelters. (The shorter the legs on a conference room table, the more people stay awake during meetings, apparently…) We also toured the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, where drought-tolerant beauties thrive against the arid terrain and the teasing lagoon-blue sky.
During our trip we learned about the enduring magic of the saguaro, the region’s iconic cactus. Famed for its multi-armed silhouette and reaching upwards of 70 feet, the tree-like saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea) grows sloooowly from seed, an inch a decade, sprouting its first arm after 75 to 100 years. The average lifespan of a C. gigantea, whose flower is the official state blossom, is 150 years. But some specimens make it to over 200.
Four and a half years ago, these visits invigorated us. They shifted our aesthetic forever, presenting new (to us) possibilities for blending sculpture, horticulture and assertive human-made lines. If you find yourself in and around Phoenix this weekend, we recommend taking a time-out inside these inspiring sites…
Desert Botanical Garden