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.
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.
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.