Thursday, March 8, 2012

A change of scenery

We just got back from a week's stay in Tucson....soaking up the sun along with enjoying the company of college friends. It was a wonderful change of scenery from Portland, especially since we left with snow on the ground and some nasty cold weather.

One of our adventures down there was a three hour hike in Sabino Canyon along the Esperero trail. With temperatures in the low 80's, it was the perfect time of year to go....although even then, I was feeling the heat! (and the extremely dry air) I managed to do a sketch while sitting on a very hard rock in a very small patch of shade. I added the watercolors later.

I love the beautiful natural arrangements of rocks, grasses, and old twisted trees that often line the dry washes where the trail seemed to cross again and again.

Do you think the Mt. Lions know where the boundry to the 'wilderness area' is?

The typical plants found in residential landscapes are also very different than what you would find up in Oregon, and I was glad to see that turf grasses were
not used except on the golf courses! This grouping was in the garden of our hosts.

Along with this lovely sculptural agave....

Walls are also a prime feature in many gardens and serve the practical purpose of keeping the snakes out! Often the side of an adjoining home is left windowless, creating a higher wall, a bit of shade,  and more privacy for the garden next door.

Beautiful Mesquite trees are often featured.

Fountains can often take the form of the native plantings, as with this ceramic cacti discovered in the art packed town of Tubac, near the Mexican border.

With strong sun, light surfaces, and adobe or stucco walls, shadows play a big part in the compostion of the landscape. This was taken from inside the mission church of San Xavier, looking out to a simple courtyard through a side door.

On our last evening in Tucson we were greeted with a full moon.....

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