Travel

Spring in Phoenix: Chihuly garden display, Hollywood costumes, Cactus League baseball

The Chihuly exhibit runs through May 18 at Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. (Susan R. Pollack)

The Chihuly exhibit runs through May 18 at Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. (Susan R. Pollack)

There are moments during every trip when I wish I had more time to stop and smell the proverbial roses.

This happened again recently while I was on a group tour of the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix and thus was not in control of my schedule.

Of course, it being the Sonoran Desert, there was not a single rose in sight or even a tulip to tiptoe through, but, rather, the most alien, other-worldly-looking plants imaginable, at least to the eye of a Northerner. Even better, there were giant orbs, swirls and spikes of blown glass in brilliant shades of chartreuse, scarlet, sapphire, yellow and lilac tucked amid — and smartly mimicking — those oddly-shaped cacti and succulents.

Colorful Chihuly glass brightens the landscape at Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. (Susan R. Pollack)

Colorful Chihuly glass brightens the landscape at Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. (Susan R. Pollack)

It was a special “Chihuly in the Garden” exhibit by master glass artist Dale Chihuly, and it runs through May 18.

Even if you think you know Chihuly and have seen his works elsewhere, say Grand Rapids, Chicago or Columbus, the juxtaposition of these organic glassworks planted among nature’s own desert designs is truly a beautiful thing.

Glass mimics nature at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. (Susan R. Pollack)

Glass mimics nature at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. (Susan R. Pollack)

Now, when the sun is just a cruel tease and the threat of snow still lurks for weeks to come in Michigan, is a perfect time to head for Phoenix, where Chihuly blooms in the desert, 15 “Cactus League” teams are participating in Spring training and a smashing new Hollywood costumes exhibit will open March 26 and run through July 6 at the Phoenix Art Museum. That’s not to mention the dozens of golf courses, splurge-worthy spas and relaxing resorts — ah — ready to offer a warm welcome to winter-weary northerners.

For help with trip planning, check www.visitphoenix.com. Check Desert Botanical Garden and Phoenix Art Museum hours and rates at www.dbg.org and www.phxart.org.

This will be a permanent Chihuly installation after the special exhibit ends at Phoenix's Desert Botanical Gardens. (Susan R. Pollack)

This will be a permanent Chihuly installation after the special exhibit ends at Phoenix’s Desert Botanical Gardens. (Susan R. Pollack)

Susan R. Pollack
Globetrotting journalist and former Detroit News staff writer Susan R. Pollack has covered travel since 1985, visiting scores of countries on five continents, 48 states, six Canadian provinces and hundreds of cities, islands and outposts along the way. From Alaska, the Galapagos and New Zealand to South Africa, Thailand and Wales, she has suffered the occasional lost luggage, jetlag and Montezuma’s revenge but still delights in sharing travel adventures with readers. In addition to The Detroit News, her award-winning stories and photos have appeared in major newspapers including the Dallas News, Toronto Star, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Chicago Sun Times; and magazines including Delta Sky, Midwest Living, Long Weekends, Experience Michigan, Jetsetter, Home & Away, Hour Detroit, Prevue Meetings and Group Tour. She has contributed to several books including "Rand McNally 2008 Ultimate NASCAR Road Trip Guide," and is the copy editor for secondchancetravels.com. She also has written for websites including gardendestinations.com and travelingmom.com.