Wednesday, May 30, 2012

More Views From the Dallas Arboretum

While visiting the Dallas Arboretum for the Chihuly Nights glass sculpture exhibit, I took a little time to look around the gardens before the sun set.  The main goal was to see the glass art sculptures at night, but I had never visited the gardens before so the lingering daylight was a bonus.  I found the gardens more formal than we typically see here in San Antonio but there are certainly things to take away from the professionally designed plantings that can translate to the average garden.

This row of Atlas Cedars and Italian Cypress makes a striking sculptural statement along a limestone wall.  Aztec grass planted in the bed below highlights the effect.

There's a long stone wall near my front door and a similar treatment could be a much more dramatic welcome than the random collection of plants there now.

These woody vines look good as a backdrop for the matching container plantings along this wall.  Green liriope is used here instead of variegated as a groundcover.

I'm always impressed by the discipline of the designs at public gardens with their repetition and mass plantings.

A lovely walkway lined with daylilies

Beautiful colors of Cleome massed in beds

Here Cleome is mixed with Dusty Miller and white Angelonia.  The gardens are quite popular during the special night show so the white and silver mixed in throughout the gardens adds highlights.

Sculptures and pieces in the permanent collection were also lit for the evening.

This highlighted urn is at the end of a beautiful formal courtyard

And a beautiful lighted sculpture in a stone fountain with more silvery plantings

This trip convinced me I should try to return and see more of the gardens in the daytime and during other seasons.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Chihuly Nights Magic at the Dallas Arboretum

The Chihuly art glass exhibit at the Dallas Arboretum has created quite a buzz.  There's good reason for all this excitement.
When we planned to visit family in the Dallas area the Chihuly exhibit was on my must-see list.  We opted for the Chihuly Nights show and were not disappointed.

Arriving at 8 PM, there was still plenty of light.  This Mexican Hat and Horn Tower near the entrance seemed very appropriate for a Texas garden display.

Just as the sun was setting the lights began to glow on these dramatic pieces arranged around the central lawn

Yellow Icicle Tower

At 30 feet high this tower is an iconic piece in the exhibit.  Below it mimics the nearby yucca, and a bed of purple gomphrena provides a complementary color contrast.

Plenty of white and light color annuals were planted throughout the gardens making it easy to see the beds at night.

Tiger Lilies

Niijima Floats named for the glass floats used by Japanese fisherman.

Next we headed for the reflecting pools in A Woman's Garden to see the boats at sunset.  The endless edge pool overlooking White Rock Lake made the perfect setting at twilight, which was a jaw-dropping sight.

This is the Float Boat carrying Niijima floats.

This one is Carnival Boat

Amazing glass work details on the Carnival Boat

There are 14 exhibits of Chihuly sculpture, some containing multiple pieces.

The Sun

Persian Pond, with lily pads both glass and real ones

Citron Green and Red Tower, about 20 feet tall is on a small hill

According to the volunteer docents, each piece is shipped disassembled and reassembled on site.  There seemed to be hundreds of pieces in this work.

At the far end of the gardens are a wall of modern waterfalls.  Three glass displays were placed in the water for an exquisite effect with the waterfall backdrops.

Blue and Pink Marlins

Neodymium and Blue Reeds

Turquoise and Clear Eelgrass

Elegant Red Reeds in the circular fountain

Dallas Star was created especially for this exhibit.  The blue and white glittery star seems quite appropriate to Dallas, home of the Cowboys, and also captures the spirit of Dallas bling.

The gardens were very crowded early on, but around 9:30 PM the crowds thinned out significantly and that's when the magic happened -- we practically had the place to ourselves

White Belugas

We circled back around to the formerly crowded ponds which were now wide open

Neodymium Reeds

Silvered Hornets

Back across the lawn we observed this illuminated art display by a different artist that appears to be part of the permanent collection.

Moving on.  Down through the Fern Dell there are beautiful blue glass pieces placed in a small creek.

Turquoise Reeds

Blue Marlins

I've read that the Dallas Arboretum would like to acquire these pieces to remain in the Fern Dell.

It's rare these days that my husband and I would find ourselves closing down any place, but that's just what happened at the Dallas Arboretum last week when we attended Chihuly Nights exhibit.  At 10:23 pm, 23 minutes after the official closing time, we headed to the exit trailed by the security cart.  They were polite, of course, and we were already making our way to the exit (sort of -- not quite a straight line).  We weren't the very last ones out.  Next to last, but who's counting right?

The night displays far exceeded all expectations, it was magic.

The show runs through November 5, 2012.

P.S.  This was post #100.  What better way to celebrate this milestone than with these beautiful glass sculptures.

Friday, May 25, 2012

A Visit to Plano Prairie Garden

From the moment I first opened Michael's blog, PIano Prairie Garden, I was intrigued by how he turned a standard suburban front lawn into what you see here.  The beauty of his garden and his knowledge of native plants is also impressive.   Any way you look at it, there's something about a prairie garden in a Plano front yard that amazes.

As you can imagine, it's easy to spot this front yard as you turn the corner on to his street
No surprise, it's even better seeing it up close and in person.  Mr. R-O-D enjoyed this visit too as he thinks of typical lawn grass as an invasive species.  He'd much rather have a yard like this.

A yard full of flowers certainly stands out in the sea of typical suburban lawns, but it's also the yard with all the busy butterflies, bees, and birds in the neighborhood.

The wildlife habitat signs

Plenty of native plants like this Scutellaria wrightii I've been trying to coax into my garden this spring.  Here it is thriving in the hellstrip by the mailbox.

And this welcoming pathway to lead you through the flower filled front yard.

Michael is prepared with his plant list so he can cheerfully answer my literally hundreds of questions.

The stock tank of horsetail reed is here too

We've been visiting family in Plano for years.  Long before I began gardening seriously I was struck by the conformity of the landscaping there.  Most of the development there is 30 years old or newer and HOAs are the rule.  Michael's neighborhood doesn't have an HOA.  So much the better for those of us who enjoy this riot of native plants and flowers.

Gregg's mistflower here

Plano had water restrictions imposed last year due to the drought, so this type of landscape might be more popular in the future.

And the rarely seen backyard?  It's planted in prairie style too, although Michael plans to turn more of it into veggie gardens soon.

These tall coneflowers caught my eye

I'm definitely copying these rebar tuteurs

And these wire cages too.  Look at those onions!

The bees are definitely hard at work here.  Bee fight!

This swallowtail is resting from flower overload

Butterflies are most welcome here with milkweed and helpful sign

Many Plano neighborhoods have alleys behind the houses for the driveways and garages and Michael has planted these areas in Plano Prairie Garden style too.

The alley

The driveway

Just as we were leaving a young family out for a walk paused to enjoy the flowers.  The two boys were mesmerized by the scene as their dad pointed out butterflies and bees at work.  Dad was impressed with a yard you don't have to mow.   The oldest boy stopped in his tracks and pointed "Cactus!" he was so excited.

Yes, I agree, cactus is cool.  Perhaps he'll plant cactus in his own yard someday because of that moment.

Thank you Michael, we enjoyed meeting you and loved seeing your garden.  Well done!