Every time I hear the word "poppies" spoken all by itself, I can't help but think of The Wizard of Oz.
I don't think these particular poppies have any sinister qualities to them. I found these in a garden in Scottsdale. They were growing right next to a royal blue ceramic vase so I framed this orange poppy with the blue background.
The poppies themselves, were very bright and eye catching. Poppies are a very cheerful flower. They look very delicate and almost like they were made of tissue paper.
I found this sculpture called "Theater of the Wind" near the Tempe Town Lake and on the grounds of the State Farm Insurance Headquarters. The sculptor is Ilan Averbuch. It's constructed from recycled granite curbstone and weathering steel. It's designed to look like a boat emerging from a large frame. The boat consists of seats from which a viewer can see the lake through the frame.
I used to live and work in the city of Tempe way back in the 80's and I used to pass by this house quite often. At that time, I believe someone was still living there. Now it has been declared a historic sight by the city. This Queen Anne style house was built by Niels Petersen, a Danish immigrant who homesteaded the land a built this beautiful home in 1892.
William of Ottawa Daily Photo has been posting some terrific photos of all the tulips in his beautiful city, so I thought I'd post my own tulip photo. Tulips don't grow so well in this desert environment so I only get to see them when they are in a vase! I thought this arrangement was quite attractive.
Later this evening I'll be hopping on a jet plane and heading toward Europe. After a short change of planes in London, I'm of to Milan Italy. I'll be back the first week of June. During that time I might be unavailable to comment on your sites, so don't think I've forgotten about you all. I will have posts scheduled while I'm gone. I dug into my archives and came up with some photos to keep the blog occupied while I'm away.
A little over ten years ago, I posted a photo of the front of Macayo's restaurant on Central Avenue. It's a Mexican restaurant with the facade of an Aztec Temple. The restaurant has been around for a very long time in that same location I Photographed back in 2008. Two years ago, they had to move. The land was purchased to make way for a huge apartment complex. The restaurant moved just a few blocks down the street to a smaller location. I found this mural on the back side of the restaurant.
When I went inside, I saw another, more colorful mural on the wall inside.
The last time I was at Kierland Commons shopping center in north Scottsdale, I saw this new store called Royal Fine Art. I didn't go in but I snapped a photo of the grand entrance they've created. I figured I could look at their web site and get a little more information. The only problem is, I can't find a web site for them. I find a "Yelp" entry with no comments and a listing on the shopping center's web site, but no specific web site for them. Now I'm really curious. I might have to step inside the next time I'm there.
The Century Plant is an agave that is ubiquitous to the desert southwest. The plant gets it's name from that fact that it is slow to bloom and only blooms at the end of it's life. However, once it blooms, it produces small plants that will grow into new agave plants.
When it blooms, it sends up a tall stalk topped with blooms. Sometimes they can be 25 to 30 feet tall.
The one in the top photo was bent over. I haven't seen that happen before unless there is something stunting it's growth.
The blooms start out looking like this.
Then they turn an orange color at the tips.
And, finally they open up to these yellow blooms.
They really are a stately looking plant and interesting to watch as the blooms progress!
Two Sundays ago when I went walking at the Desert Botanical Garden, I noticed buds on two of my favorite night-blooming cactus. I knew they were going to bloom either that night or the next night.
Monday morning, off I went to see if they had bloomed. They hadn't yet. So, on Tuesday morning, I once again headed that way and there they were, bursting with beauty. You can see some buds that haven't opened yet in the top photo. Several years ago I was there when they all bloomed at once which was a spectacular sight. You can see it here.
This other cactus had also bloomed and I was surprised to see these brilliant pink blooms. This cactus usually has deep red blossoms.
Two different vehicles caught my eye on the very same day. Above is a Volkswagen mini-bus sitting in front of the Volkswagen repair shop with a cute sign inviting me to buy it and drive to Woodstock. I didn't go to Woodstock back in the 60's but, I think I'll pass the opportunity once again.
The second car looked like it was watching me as I took a walk. My what big eyes you have little red car!
I got back late Sunday night from a fabulous weekend in Oregon in the beautiful Willamette Valley wine country. My good friend Julie has memberships at two outstanding wineries in the valley and she used some of her points from Domaine Serene Winery to host a group of friends at a place the winery calls "The Bunkhouse". With a name like that, we weren't quite sure where we would be staying but upon arrival, we were all pretty astounded by the beauty of the place. Above is the view from the patio looking up toward the winery.
Above is the "bunkhouse" where we stayed. It turned out to be a fabulous place to stay with first class amenities. There were 8 of us all together and we had a wonderful time enjoying one wine tasting, one gourmet dinner and one very special lunch that was paired with some of their very best wines. The food was fabulous.
To the left is our group just before dinner at the winery.
On Sunday we had a tasting lunch at the other winery that Julie is a member of. I've had a tasting at this winery before a year ago but this was a whole new experience at a different location. This new place had a gorgeous garden full of all kinds of blooming plants. Above is a branch on a dogwood tree and to the left is a shot through the garden.
It was a truly wonderful weekend.
I'll post more about the fabulous places we enjoyed on my travel site probably next month.
This old mesquite tree appears to be crawling across this yard. I've seen two or three trees like this around town. I don't know why they have grown this way but, they spread out and cover a large area. In this case, it pretty much hides the house behind it.
I drove by this home in Paradise Valley and was surprised to see the entire front yard covered in white rose bushes. They covered the whole front yard and were blooming like crazy. I wonder if the white rose has some significance to this family.
I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today. I made my annual spring drive to Wickenburg Arizona.
I saw the big blooms on this Argentinian Giant cactus by the side of the street so I pulled over to get some photos. However it was already around 1:00 PM and the heat of the day was starting to "melt" the blooms.
These are night blooming cactus so the blooms open up after sun down but as the following day heats up they start to wilt giving them a melted look.
They are such stunning flowers to only last for one day!
Earlier in the week I went to Scottsdale Fashion Square mall to pick up something. I think I've mentioned before that the mall has a lot of construction going on right now. The construction is mostly located on the north side and because of that, I haven't parked on that side in ages. This time I did because it was so close to where I wanted to go. Because of the construction, it's pretty quiet on that side of the mall but, there are still many cars parked there. As I made my way to one of the mall doors, I saw something odd out of the corner of my eye. It was a pigeon sitting on a nest on top of a decorative rock located right next to the sidewalk. I could have walked right up and touched it.
I realize pigeons are very resourceful having to build their nests in an assortment of urban environments but, this has to be the most unusual spot I've ever seen one. I can't help but wonder if it will survive there until it hatches it's eggs.
One of my favorite places at the Desert Botanical Garden is called the Contemplation Garden. There is a place to sit and a water fountain that attracts all kinds of birds. The early morning hours before the crowds arrive are the best times to visit if you want to see birds. I've posted other photos of birds from here but this was the first time I'd seen a hummingbird stop by for a drink. Doesn't he look adorable with his image reflected in the water?
He took several quick drinks of water...
....and then he decided to splash around for a quick shower.
After he was refreshed and clean, off he flew to find more flowers.
Another "early bird" visitor to the Desert Botanical Garden last Sunday directed my attention to a large cactus where a new family of squirrels had made their home. She told me there were 6 babies and the mother living under that cactus. I watched them for a while while the climbed around on the cactus.
They took turns crawling up the tall branches....
...and then back down to the lower branches.
Finally I was able to catch 5 of them in one shot!
The saguaro cactus are blooming now and it is making the bees very happy. I took an early morning walk at the Desert Botanical Garden yesterday and it was a good time to be there. They just switched to their summer hours so they opened at 6:00 AM for members only and it was so quiet and peaceful it was a joy to be there.
It was a good time to be there because all the critters were out enjoying the peace and quiet along with me and only a few other people.