Monday, April 24, 2017

Remains of the Day

I went to the garden yesterday for a morning walk and arrived a little after 6:00 AM thinking the summer hours had started.  They hadn't.  The summer hours don't start until the first of May.  So I hung around until 7:00 and was one of the first to go in.  It was members only from 7:00 to 8:00 so it was quite peaceful.

There had been a big event at the garden the night before and they did an excellent job of cleaning up except for this one wine glass I spotted.  The funny thing was that I was there for nearly two hours and this glass was still in the exact same spot when I left.

I got to see my first night bloom of the season.  Some of the night blooming cactus have already bloomed and I missed them but I caught this one before it started to wilt.

I also admired this pretty cornflower.  It's getting to be that time of year when garden walks are best early in the morning before it gets too hot.

Sunday, April 23, 2017


I was looking through my photos for something to post today and found this photo of a sculpture located at the Westworld Equestrian Center in north Scottsdale.  Westworld is an event venue that was built for equestrian events but has evolved into a much bigger event space.  This sculpture was commissioned by the City of Scottsdale and was created by local artist Jeff Zischke.  It stands 20 feet tall and is made entirely of stainless steel tubing.  The artist named the piece "Impulsion" and said it emphasizes the "beauty, power and nobility" of the horse. 

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  I'm visiting a city with a strange name.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Earth Day!

Today is Earth Day so it's the perfect time to enjoy what nature has provided for us.  I thought my view of beautiful Camelback Mountain was a perfect way for me to praise the bounty of the earth.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Is it an Alien Plant?

I saw this king sago palm planted in a very large container at the front door of a store at Biltmore Fashion Park Shopping Center.  I've never seen one sprout a cone like that before so it was looking a bit alien to me.  I had to do some Googling to find out what it was.  That is certainly quite a large bloom or cone or whatever it's called.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Back Down to Earth

After a week of touring the gardens of all those luxury homes, I thought it would be good to come back down to earth with something a little more humble.  I found this home in the Coronado Historic District.  I don't think a landscaper designed this yard.  I think it's strictly a creation of the homeowner.  It might look a little jumbled to the passer-by but, I bet everything in that yard is important to someone.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Last House on the Tour

The last house on the home tour was even further out than the one I featured yesterday and the day before.  It was six miles further out and was right near the city of Scottsdale's border with the town of Carefree.  And, it was located in a special gated community that hasn't yet been built out so the houses were far apart.  We took so many turns on the road to get here we were worried about finding our way out.  This house was built in a U-shape with the pool area in the center at the back of the house.

The front featured a nice courtyard with some great tile work around the front door.

There was also a beautiful tiled fountain to one side.

I liked some of the little decorator items that were scattered around the property.

One of the attendants at the house asked it I had a telephoto on my camera.  I told her yes and she pointed far out into the desert and asked if I could zoom in on a bird that was sitting on top of a saguaro cactus.  I did and we determined that it was a hawk of some kind. 

 This photo is the heavily cropped version of my zoomed photo.  This bird was way out there.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Desert Landscape

The house I featured yesterday had some wonderful desert landscape features like this rocky area full of desert plants.  You can even see the yellow blooms on those prickly pear cactus.

The owners had a lot of small bottle brush plants located around the grounds and their bristly, red blooms were very eye catching.

They also had plenty of shapely agave plants to admire.

The pool had a very natural look with lots of rock features.  This in-the-water seating area was a nice touch.

I even spotted a rather large and very colorful frog hiding among the rocks and plants.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Back to the Home Tour

I think this next house on the home tour I started featuring last week had my favorite landscape.  However, it was way to far away from the center of the city to suit me.  I hate to think about that drive into the city every day.  We entered this home down a long stone paved driveway.

Off to one side of the front of the house was this pretty sitting area.  I guess this might be a good place to unwind after a long drive from the city in very heavy traffic.

In the back of the house were two more sitting areas.  This one under the cover of a patio roof is all set up for conversations with guests.

This sitting area was a little further out in the yard where one could take in the views (on a clear day) and enjoy a roaring fire on those chilly winter days.

But, I think what I liked the most was the great desert landscape.  This place has it's own mini botanical garden right on site.  I have a few more pictures from this house tomorrow.  Clearly I liked this one best and if they could shrink it's size down and plop into the city center, I'd love it.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy Easter!

I was out at the Kierland Commons Shopping Center last weekend and I saw these green Easter bunnies decorating the street scene.

They came in all shapes and sizes and they were all decorated with flowers.  What cute Easter touch!

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  Where can you find over 400 bridges in one city?

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Heading My Way

Is it the Easter Bunny?

If it is, he's hidden all those colorful eggs already.  

Friday, April 14, 2017

First Up then Down

The next house we visited on the Phoenix Home and Garden tour required us to go up a bit into the McDowell Mountain foothills.

Then once we got there we had to go down a rather steep driveway (you can see the edge of it to the middle right of this photo) to get to the entrance.

After we arrived at the base of the driveway, we went through the arched entrance to a rather splendid courtyard complete with a fountain.  This was another rather large house this one in a Spanish style.

The pool area had some pretty spectacular views over the valley below.  They would have been even more spectacular if it hadn't been such an overcast day.  It looks like you could swim to the edge of this pool and stop to admire the view before returning.  Very nice.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

A Resort-Like Home

This is one of the gardens we toured last Saturday on that home and garden tour.  Doesn't this look like a resort swimming pool?  Amazing!  It really is beautiful but, personally, I wouldn't want all of this to maintain.  It really would take a large staff of gardeners and pool people.

This is the formal entrance to the house.  It's a big one!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Scottsdale Four Seasons

My blooming desert photos from yesterday were taken around the Four Seasons resort in far north Scottsdale.  Julie and Dave and I stopped there for lunch after our day on the home and garden tour.  Here's Julie and Dave at our patio table.  It was a perfect day for dining out doors.

I haven't been to this resort since the summer of 2014 and on that past visit, I just stopped to take photos.  I didn't have anything to eat.  I won't make that mistake again.  Our lunches were wonderful all the way down to the decadent chocolate mint milk shake for desert.

I love the total desert landscape at this resort.  They've done a superb job of keeping the surroundings as natural as possible.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Blooming Desert

Last Saturday I spent the day with my friends Julie and Dave on a home tour that took us almost all the way to Carefree Arizona.  Julie's mom was supposed to go on the tour but had to withdraw so Julie called to see if I wanted to go.  I wasn't doing anything other that chores so I decided to join them and I'm glad I did.

The drive took us into the northern reaches of Scottsdale where there is still a lot of open desert and with the desert in full bloom right now, it was a beautiful thing to see.

We stopped for lunch at a place I'll reveal tomorrow and we found ourselves walking a few trails just to get some photos of all the beauty around us.

This last photo makes me think of that painting at the Heard Museum that I featured back on March 30th.  It was called "Orchestrating a Blooming Desert"  Just imagine that Saguaro cactus as the conductor.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Palo Verde

The Palo Verde tree has been designated as the state tree of Arizona and right now they are showing their colors all over the state.  I found this especially full tree in front of a home in Paradise Valley.  I thought it's shape and color was especially attractive.

Just to left of the base of the tree in the photo above, you will see some yellow aloe blooms joining in for this colorful show.  I zoomed in on those to catch this close up.  The desert is very pretty right now as I'll show you tomorrow.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Skyscraper Apartments

This high-rise building was built around 2008 in downtown Phoenix and the plan was for it to become luxury condominiums.  Everyone knows what happened in 2008 to the American real estate market.  So, now this building is luxury apartments instead.  I'm not sure how many times it changed hands before it opened.

I've never seen inside the apartments.  Maybe I should act like I'm interested and take a tour.

I have a new post on Sharon's Sojourns today.  I'll answer the question 'what could be historic about a giant department store?'

Saturday, April 8, 2017

At the Front Door

This little fellow appeared to be guarding the front door to his home inside the saguaro cactus.  I think he was a little wary of me standing below him so he kept flying away and returning quickly to sit at the entrance again.  I didn't see any activity inside but, there probably was a family in there and he was being the protector.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Around the Neighborhood

A few random shots from around my neighborhood today.  First is a tall palm tree with the sun right behind it.

I thought I might get a bit of a sun flare on this shot but instead I just have a sort of spotlight behind the tree.

A fancy lamp on the wall outside a complex of townhouses.

Along that same wall, a spot where the stucco is coming off and exposing the bricks underneath.  This is such a classic southwestern image that some builders actually build walls with these patches in them.  But, I think this one is just worn away the natural way.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Flower Filled Yard

While driving in that same neighborhood I mentioned yesterday, I caught a glimpse of a yard full of African daisies.  I had to turn around to get a closer look.

The whole front edge of the yard was covered in a blanket of yellow and orange.

It's too bad they only last a few weeks.  This would sure be great to see all year long.