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The Desert In Bloom At The Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix

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Spring at the desert botanical gardens Phoenix Scottsdale

Spring at the Desert Botanical Garden. Photo: Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz, all rights reserved.

I recently traveled to Arizona for the first time. I have always been fascinated by the desert so as soon as I got off the plane I headed to the Desert Botanical Garden which is located just 15 minutes away from Phoenix’s Sky Harbor airport.  I was lucky to be visiting during spring and as soon as I arrived I was taken aback by the beauty of the desert flora and the diversity of it’s fauna.

Desert Botanical Garden

Wildflowers at the Desert Botanical Garden. Photo: Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz, all rights reserved.

Occupying 140 acres the Desert Botanical Garden houses over 21,000 plants, one third of them local species and many of them rare, threatened or endangered. Open in 1939 to conserve and showcase the desert ecology it showcases plants from every arid and desert climate on Earth.

Five looping trails take you through a variety of desert ecosystems, arranged by theme.  On the Harriet K. Maxwell Desert Wildflower Trail, you’ll find colorful wildflowers throughout much of the year but during spring the contrast between the cacti and the blankets of colorful wildflowers, from Blue bells to Mexican gold poppies, is just beautiful. Along the Plants and People of the Sonoran Desert Trail you will learn about how natives have adapted to the desert environment and how humans use plants for everything from shelter and food to medicine and tools.

blooming cactus desert botanical gardens Phoenix Scottsdale

Cactus flower at the Desert Botanical Garden. Photo: Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz, all rights reserved.

The Deserts of the World trail focuses on desert plants from across the world, including an Australian collection, a Baja California collection and a South American collection and different ecosystems including: a mesquite bosque, semidesert grassland, and upland chaparral.

lizard at the desert botanical gardens Phoenix Scottsdale

Desert spiny lizard at the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix. Photo: Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz, all rights reserved.

As I walked along the trails I had to stop every few seconds to snap pictures of the dazzling, bright colored cactus flowers or the beautiful birds.  I was really surprised to see how alive the desert is not only in plant life but in animal life as well: around every corner a squirrel, a lizard or a cotton tail rabbit scurried or crossed the paths in front of us.

giant cactuses at the desert botanical gardens Phoenix Scottsdale

Giant saguaros Desert Botanical Garden. Photo: Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz, all rights reserved.

The Sonora Desert Nature Trail features local plants and along it you can get a larger picture of the surrounding desert and mountains.   Giant saguaro cacti, more than a hundred years old, frame the paths providing shade. The saguaro is one of the larges cacti and is found only in the Sonora desert. It’s huge arms and trunk sometimes hold tons of water and they are a home for countless desert critters.  The saguaro flower is also the state flower of Arizona.

Desert Botanical Garden

Fountains at the Desert Botanical Garden. Photo: Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz, all rights reserved.

Much more than a collection of plants the Garden’s design includes architectural elements and fountains which keep the experience interesting for everyone.  There is also a gallery that houses seasonal exhibits, when we visited there was a fantastic exhibit of wood art which we throughly enjoyed and it also provided us from a much needed break from the heat.

desert botanical gardens Phoenix

Desert Botanical Garden. Photo: Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz, all rights reserved.

There is also a succulent and cactus gallery where these plants from all over the are beautifully arranged meticulously designed gardens.  In the spring you can walk among hundreds of butterflies at the Maxine & Jonathan Marshall Butterfly Pavilion, for which there is additional fee.

Desert Botanical Garden butterfly pavilion

Desert Botanical Garden butterfly pavilion. Photo: Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz, all rights reserved.

The Desert Botanical Gardens is a vibrant oasis bursting at the seams with unusual wildlife and vegetation: a place of extreme contrasts  and there is nothing more beautiful than witnessing the explosion of life and color that comes along with springtime in the desert and no better place to watch this breathtaking miracle than at the Desert Botanical Garden.

Desert Botanical Garden

Sonora Desert Nature Trail at the Desert Botanical Garden. Photo: Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz, all rights reserved.

To get the most out of the experience you can choose from a variety of scheduled docent led tours which are included in your admission, or for a small additional fee you can also get an audio self guided tour. Additionally the Desert Botanical Garden offers classes, workshops, and for kids, for adults, and even for professional landscapers, gardeners, and photographers.

blooming cactus desert botanical gardens Phoenix Scottsdale

Blooming cactus flowers at the Desert Botanical Garden. Photo: Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz, all rights reserved.

To learn more you can visit the Desert Botanical Garden’s website, like the Desert Botanical Garden on Facebook and follow @dbgtweet  on twitter to stay informed about their latest exhibits and events.

quail at the desert botanical gardens Phoenix Scottsdale

Quail at the Desert Botanical Garden. Photo: Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz, all rights reserved.

 

 

About the author

Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz

Paula moved from her native Guatemala to SW Florida with her husband and two children and together they are discovering what it means to live life between two languages. Paula studied architecture who now makes a living as a freelance writer, traveler and amateur photographer. She started her writing & publishing career as the editor of Bebé y Mamá, the first parenting magazine in Guatemala. She is the founder of www.GrowingUpBilingual.com and www.365thingsswfl.com and writes articles in Spanish and English for both magazines and the web on travel, food and bicultural and bilingual parenting . When she is not on a plane or road trip she likes to create recipes inspired in the flavors of her native Guatemala.

Permanent link to this article: http://growingupbilingual.com/2015/latino-parenting/desert-botanical-garden-phoenix/

8 comments

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  1. Scott

    Reminds me of when we lived in Palmdale, CA. Desert everywhere but so much unique life and foliage!
    Scott recently posted…Behind the Scenes with Kyle MacLachlanMy Profile

  2. Michele

    I would love to be able to visit that Botanical Garden. If I ever get to Arizona I will hightail it over there and sign up for a tour!
    Michele recently posted…Book Review-A Brutal Trade: A Diana Rivers Thriller #7-Faith MortimerMy Profile

  3. Mama to 5 BLessings

    What a beautiful place! I love taking photo’s, I could fill up a memory card there! So pretty!
    Mama to 5 BLessings recently posted…Girl’s Hair Accessories That Make A Statement + GiveawayMy Profile

  4. Liz Mays

    I don’t really think of the desert as being colorful, so taking those trails while things are blooming would be wonderful!
    Liz Mays recently posted…Crunchy Sweet Potato Fries with Harissa AioliMy Profile

  5. Caroline

    Those are such nice pictures. I’m a gardener and I love seeing great pictures of plants and flowers. I’d love to be able to grow cactus, but doesn’t grow that well in Canada ;).
    Caroline recently posted…Salmon Steak on the GrillMy Profile

  6. Life as a Convert

    People who say the desert is boring have never seen the beauty is hold. Loved these pics. Thanks for sharing them.
    Life as a Convert recently posted…Printable Reading Log (FREE DOWNLOAD)My Profile

  7. Toughcookiemommy

    We have a world known Botanical Garden here in our borough as well. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have these types of lovely plants and flowers since we have a different climate here in New York City.
    Toughcookiemommy recently posted…And The Winner Of The Toilet Paper Wedding Dress Contest Is… #CharminChic @Charmin #AdMy Profile

  8. Tina Ernspiker

    Beautiful! We live in Mexico but are from Kentucky, USA. Been here three years in October and love it 🙂

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