Some things on our trips stand out to me as great memories for being so exciting, or so unique, or something that has been on my bucket list forever and I’m FINALLY getting to do it, the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix though stands out for another reason.
Simply put it was just absolutely… lovely.
Spread out over 140 acres in Papago Park, the Desert Botanical Garden is picturesque with cacti and other desert plants set to a backdrop of red hills. It’s quiet and peaceful with only the sounds of a few hushed voices and native birds as they chirp happily amongst the over 21,000 plants. And in November the early morning weather was crisp and cool with perfect blue skies. Lovely.
The idea for the Desert Botanical Garden started in the 1930s when a small group of local people expressed interest in conserving the fragile desert environment and joined together to create the Arizona Cactus and Native Flora Society. There goal was to sponsor a botanical garden to “encourage an understanding, appreciation, and promotion of the uniqueness of the world’s deserts, particularly the local Sonoran desert“. They have much to be proud of in their achievement of that goal.
The garden features several different ecosystems including mesquite bosque, semidesert grassland, and upland chaparral with a focus on plants adapted to desert conditions in their Australian, Baha California, and South American collections.
There are over 21,000 plants in more than 4000 taxa with about one-third of those being native to the area. About 140 of their species are on the rare, threatened, or endangered list. And they have over 10,000 plants in the cactus and agave collections. With such diversity, and the sheer numbers of plants, you can imagine it would take a small army to care of them, and they have one in their dedicated group of volunteers that share their time and professional expertise.
If you are planning to visit the Phoenix area it is worth a few moments to check out their site to see what is happening at the gardens. In addition to their permanent exhibits they have many temporary and seasonal ones, including their annual Las Noches de Las Luminarias (the lights are all the little yellowish containers you’ll see in the photos) whereby guests can enjoy musical entertainment, dinner, or simply stroll through the paths with a warm cup of cider or cocoa and see the pretty lights. One day I’d like to come back to see this myself.
The Desert Botanical Garden says they are a “world-class experience for every visitor” and it is well deserved to say that. They have created something amazing which I will leave you with more photos of today to take your own virtual stroll through.
To follow along on our adventures on our Phoenix, AZ Getaway, please feel free to check out these posts:
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