Chihuly Nature of Glass Exhibit

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In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age of 38. Now, into their 3rd decade of this financially independent lifestyle, they invite you to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.

Chihuly Nature of Glass Exhibit

Desert Botanical Gardens, Phoenix, Arizona

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli

Dale Chihuly has revolutionized the art of handblown glass. Below you will see how he takes his dazzling glass 'plants' and places them in the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix, Arizona, creating a surreal setting.

Come take a look!


Desert Wildflower Towers

Walking into the Desert Botanical Gardens, these light catching towers are the first art pieces to greet you. Inspired by the agave plant, these towers are the color of spring green and chartreuse!

Chihuly uses as few tools as possible and his purpose is to make the glass look as though it comes from nature itself. Shaping this glass in an unorthodox manner, art critics have described his work as 'liquid light.'

Those not familiar with the rugged beauty of the desert sometimes think it looks barren, stark. The desert is populated with survivors - those beings who are able to adapt to harsh and unpredictable circumstances. Seeing the desert from this perspective, one can't help but gain a respect for the life forms here.


The Sun

Dale does not hand blow all the pieces of glass in his extensive exhibits. He takes the lead, designs the pieces, and has well-respected glass blowing establishments complete the work. He also focuses on the placement of his brilliant glass sculptures so that they enhance, not detract from, the natural landscape.


Blue and Green Ferns

Known for his mammoth and unrestrained installations around the globe, seeing the subtlety here with his Blue and Green Ferns brought a gentle compliment to the desert flora.

He explains his core artistic philosophy as being 'a concentration on the phenomenon of light being transmitted through colored glass.'

Mission accomplished: the manner in which the light passes through these ferns is captivating!



Saffron Tower

This Saffron Tower looks much like a giant Saguaro cactus, a sentinel of desert scenery. The piece appears much at home here among the everyday plant life.

Although Dale Chihuly is known world-wide for his innovative, vibrant-colored glass sculptures on a grand scale, this particular exhibit is his first in a desert setting.

A closer look reveals the twisted and delicate tubes that catch sunlight during the day, and light up with electricity at night.

The Desert Botanical Gardens also offer night tours, a very popular option during the heat of the summer.


The Moon

Here you see the cobalt blue and white moon nestled in with boulders. In the desert, boulders provide microhabitats where moisture and soil accumulate. Wildflowers and plants take advantage of the shady cool places on their north side, sunny warm areas on their south side, and especially benefit from the protection that boulders provide from foraging wildlife and cattle.

Mexican Hat and Horn Tower

This is an audacious display of color and form. Brilliant red and yellow, you can almost hear this art piece!


A closer look at the artistry involved. A bodacious blend of delicate glass and bold form.


Scorpion Tails

If you have ever dreamed of having unique garden art for your own home, walking through this Chihuly display gave plenty of ideas.


Blue Reeds, Martins and Floats

Rounding a bend, or coming over a rise, we'd see vast displays of glass. These brilliant blue reeds created a cooling beauty in the hot desert.


Here's a nearer view. You can see the ribs of the reeds and the blue float on the ground. Hard to put into words, but enchanting, isn't it?


Red Reeds

Another corner, another color.

The internationally acclaimed Desert Botanical Gardens have a living collection of over 20,000 desert plants, with particular emphasis on those inhabiting our Arizona's Sonoran Desert. There is a great diversity of forms and types of plants in desert ecosystems, dispelling the myth that deserts are 'empty wastelands.'



Peeking between two saguaros there is another view of red reeds among desert life. Part of the charm of this glass among desert plants is the ability to capture breathtaking views by seemingly chance occurrence; a three dimensional experience. Many of the works can be spied from the side or the rear or through gaps in the thicket of the garden's specimens.

The Garden is renowned for its cactus collection, which includes more than 10,350 plants.


Float Boat

A snug view of the many glass floats spilling out onto the desert floor. Each one is uniquely colored and designed.


Daytime temperatures during spring easily hover in the 100's so these shady sections of the walkways are a pleasure to discover. In the summer, it's best to get to the Desert Gardens bright and early in the day or during evening hours.

Don't forget your hat and sunscreen!


Ruby Fiddleheads

The deep red color of these glass fiddleheads stand out bluntly from the paler color of desert flora. The contrast is visually exciting.


A tighter view of these beauties.

To the left of the photo you can see a saguaro cactus. The ribs of the saguaro allow the cactus to expand and contract in response to the amount of moisture it is storing. The ability to store water is an adaptation that helps saguaros live in the desert where they can survive several months without rain.

A large saguaro can store up to 6 tons of water, and lose up to 2/3 of its stored water and still live. If the ridges are deeply set instead of rounded, you can tell that the cactus is using its stored water to survive. Shallow, wide spreading roots quickly draw up rainwater even after a very short rain. Additional roots, called ‘rain roots’ grow within a few hours of a rainfall to capture even more moisture.


Scorpion Tails and Bamboo

Here I am with my shade hat in front of the Scorpion Tails display.


Blue and Purple Boat

There seemed no ending to being taken aback at Chihuly's capture of color and light. He is quite skilled at being able to evoke emotion through color and form.

The cool blue and purple was a delightful visual contrast to the day's heat and dryness.


Colors are true and brilliant.

If ever you have the opportunity to see a Chihuly display or to venture into the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix, Arizona, snatch it up! You won't be disappointed.

Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona: 1201 N. Galvin Parkway, Tele: 480.941.1225, Hours: 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. Non-member prices are Adults - $15, Seniors, $13.50, Students - $7.50, children 3 - 12 $5.00. Under 3 admitted free.

Inquire about their outstanding events and exhibits, music and food, art classes, tai chi in a desert setting and more by going to

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About the Authors

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance, medical tourism and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their award winning website, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible available on their website bookstore or on

Retire Early Lifestyle appeals to a different kind of person – the person who prizes their independence, values their time, and who doesn’t want to mindlessly follow the crowd.

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