Last month, I tried out an "honest opinions" post about the Desert Botanical Garden's art installation by Waterlily Pond Studios. The trio started with Wind, and continues currently with Water; Earth will begin next month. Water is set up in the Berlin Agave Yucca Forest, which is a little offshoot of a path/lookout from the main trail.
Being that Wind was one isolated piece, and Water was set up in this little mini path area, I was expecting, well, something more expansive this time. And sure it "spans nearly 100 feet" and uses 2,000 plants and 8,000 wooden rods. But the effect is visually simple rather than complicated. The woods are a bright yet still earthy yellow that stands out on a sunny day but doesn't look like caution tape, either. They remind me more of spaghetti than water, though. If the wooden rods represent the seasonal paths of water, why yellow and not blue or green? Yellow stand out more, I suppose, against the surrounding plants.
The 8,000 wooden rods I see. But the 2,000 plants I'm not sure. I see all of the red flowers of various types, but I wouldn't have guessed they were so many and I'm not sure how they connect to the concept of the water. Certainly, flowing water creates the opportunity for plants to grow. And good winter rain leads to an abundance of wildflowers. I am the first to admit that I don't know much about specific plant varieties, but just looking casually at these red flowers reminds me more of cultivated gardens than of Arizona wildflowers. Is that just me?
They do offset the yellow "water" well, though, color-wise. They provide contrast and definition and also soften the edges. Otherwise the yellow rods would blend in too well with the shaggy yuccas. I do appreciate that this installation doesn't detract from the garden itself. It fits in fine. I don't find the 8,000 yellow wooden rods particularly interesting, though. They provided some opportunity to observe and reflect, but overall I preferred the Wind installation (which, by the way, has been extended for another month so you have the chance to see both at the same time).
I am looking forward to Earth, though. It sounds more elaborate than either of the first two installations.