Phoenix Arizona Garden Tour

The Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix

To preview other Public Gardens in the West go here

Saguaro chollo in Sonoran desert

The Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix is situated in the center of a natural Sonora desert environment.

Rather than focusing on plants in demonstration residential gardens, the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix is a massive collection of dry land and drought tolerant plants of the Sonora desert. Along the main circular trail you will see a large variety of trees, shrubs, cactus and succulents, all clearly marked — just in case you take a fancy to one of them.   

Octopus cactus stenocereus alamonsensisThe octopus cactus (Stenocereus alamonsensis) is certainly one of the most dramatic in the garden.  It would make a great barrier plant at the edge of a piece of property, in lieu of a fence.

Additional trails lead away from the main brick path into specialty gardens, including the wildflower trail and the desert herb garden. The renown sculptor, Patrick Dougherty, has created one of his fantastic stick sculptures at the back of the wildflower garden. Be sure to take the time to see it.  

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sonoran grasslandsIn addition to cactus and succulents for the desert, plants common in the grasslands of the Sonora desert, such as this Saguaro cactus, are grown in the Desert Botanical Garden.

One of the most fascinating of these separate gardens focuses on the plants and people of the Sonora desert.  There are several housing structures — from a hogan to Hispanic ramada — made from local materials.  There are also implements and plants used by the Native Americans.

pima native american house phoenix A Pima traditional home created to protect from wind, summer sun, and cold winter chill. The temperature within this one in summer is 10 degrees F. or more cooler than the outside.

As with other desert gardens, there are birds and small animals everywhere, including Anna’s hummingbirds, desert spiny lizards, black-tailed jackrabbits, ground squirrels, and the Arizona State Bird, the cactus wren. You can have lunch at the garden, then buy cactus to take home. There is a fee for entry to the Garden.

Ocotillo Fouquieria splendensThis Ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens) is one of the hallmark plants of the Sonora desert.  Its branches were used by native people for construction of pens and roofs on ramadas. This photo was shot in the Lost Dutchman Park in the Superstition Mountains to the east of Phoenix.

Other gardens in the Phoenix area:

To the east of Phoenix about 55 miles is the  Boyce Thompson Arboretum which operates under the University of Arizona.

The Chandler Xeriscape Demonstration Garden
Erie St. and Arrowhead Dr., Chandler AZ

The Glendale Xeriscape Demonstration Garden
59th Ave just south of Peoria Dr., Glendale AZ

The McCormick Railroad Xeriscape Arboretum
7301 E. Indian Bend Rd., Scottsdale, AZ

To preview other Public Gardens in the West go here

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