A Garden Oasis in the Desert

By Christianna Silva

Step through a floral arch and into a land unfamiliar to most Arizonans. All plants on view originated in the desert, but without the grit of our normal desert landscapes. From cactuses and flowers to hummingbirds and butterflies, the experience of wandering through the Tucson Botanical Gardens is not easily forgotten.

flower_1As I meandered through the raked sand walkways, I was transported to different deserts across the world. Urban Tucson melted away back into desert..

The Tucson Botanical Garden, at 2150 N. Alvernon Way, looks small and seemingly insignificant from the outside, but this oasis is over 5.5 acres of specialty gardens – including an array of zen gardens.

flower_2A café is nestled among the trees and flowers. I settled in for a cup of coffee and a scone and was delighted to be visited by birds and bees. If I was hungrier, I would have taken a closer look at the interesting menu, complete with fresh and local ingredients.

I was alone on this trip, but I didn’t feel like it. I could hear children giggling with their grandparents and the buzzing of the bees.

gardens1

With docents on site to answer any questions guests may have, the butterfly collection is exactly what you might be looking for. Amid warm, soggy and humid weather, volunteers take guests through the adorable rules of the tropical wonderland: don’t wear hooded jackets, as butterflies sneak out inside of them; double-check your bags; and watch where you step. Butterflies can be sneaky little stowaways.

butterfly_7If you’ve ever passed a plant, thought it was beautiful, wondered what it was and found yourself searching “pretty green desert bush” to no avail on Google, the Tucson Botanical Gardens are the perfect place to find your answers. It’s easily accessible, and the knowledgeable employees are friendly and kind to even the most ignorant nature-lover.

The Tucson Botanical Gardens are perfect for those new to the region, and enlightening to those who have called Tucson home for years.butterfly_6

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