Flying into Scottsdale or Phoenix from the artic tundra that’s taken over the Northern half of the United States and then some?
There is no better way to begin your defrost than to surround yourself with desert greenery -–cacti, succulents, wildflowers in winter mode and many a saguaro vista.
Open sky and desert flora—this is the Desert Botanical Garden. This is a recommended early stop for your visit to Scottsdale or Phoenix because it quickly establishes a Southwest feel for your trip.
Pay attention to the words of ecologist Forest Shreve posted in the garden, “…Arizonans are a desert people.”
The Desert Botanical Garden includes over 50,000 plants of more than 2,600 different types from the world’s deserts set on 145 acres at the foot of Picket Post Mountain.
Whatever time of year you arrive, it is lush.
You may be able to spot a hummingbird at work extracting food from succulent plant flowers. You will see many a lovely dove and bees atop cacti flowers.
A scurry sound here or there in the background tells you there are even more critters having a feast.
There are four winding trails—Desert Discovery Loop Trail; Plants and People of the Sonoran Desert Loop Trail; Sonoran Desert Nature Loop Trail; and the Center for Desert Living Trail. Each of these trails is lined with educational factoid signposts.
As botanical gardens go, this one is superlative in making a vast knowledgebase very easy to digest. Without strain your learn a lot in a short timeframe on the diversity of desert flora, and the food and medicines which they spawn.
If your itinerary allows, make a note that there are many benches throughout the garden that seem to be very welcoming perches to finish reading that great novel.
There are more than 400,00 visitors to the Desert Botanical Garden each year. The biodiversity and stunning flora you will find in winter will probably make you curious about what other seasons are like.
Indeed, it is possible to make a return in the evening hours of summer and have the feeling that you are enjoying the entire garden all by yourself.
From February 7 through late June there are also weekly concerts every Friday night, ranging from Blues to Latin Jazz to Brazilian sound and more. Other special events include wine pairings with desert walks and Shakespeare.
For fans of Dale Chihuly artworks in glass, there are numerous Chihuly sculptures in the garden now through May 18.
For more information on the Desert Botanical Gardens and a complete list of their upcoming events visit the Desert Botanical Garden website.
Desert Botanical Garden
1201 North Galvin Parkway
Phoenix, Arizona 85008
480 – 941 - 8115
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Photos by Cindy McDaniel courtesy of Desert Botanical Garden, unless otherwise indicated