Monday, June 3, 2013
Desert Lifestyle, the Wallace Desert Gardens
I had the opportunity in the third week in June to make my first visit to Arizona, and I was particularly interested to experience life and gardens in a desert environment. In and around Phoenix and Tucson I visited five public gardens and several private gardens. Between those visits I was constantly scrutinizing other landscapes such as at my (and other) hotel, commercial landscapes, and typical residences. It was the Wallace Desert Gardens in Scottsdale that impressed me the most. Established in 1987, it is a twelve acre collection of desert plants from around the world. I was impressed by the diversity of ornamental forms exhibited by the plants and how effectively they were assembled into engaging spaces. I had come to Arizona as a sworn advocate of the land of water and lush plant growth, but left admiring the desert lifestyle and the plants that can be so instrumental in creating it. Unfortunately Wallace Desert Gardens' days may be numbered. Ensconced in an exclusive gated community the neighbors have the power and the will to so severely limit the garden's activities as to make it impossible to attract the visitation necessary to sustain operations.