SPRINGTIME IN THE SONORA DESERT: At Tohono Chul Gardens, Tucson, AZ

Horse sculpture at the Tohono Chul Botanical Garden, Tucson, Arizona
It was springtime in the desert in southern Arizona. Wildflowers were blooming among the cacti, butterflies were flitting about, and a roadrunner dashed by through the underbrush. On the rocky ridge to the north, peaks capped with snow poked into the clear blue sky.
Queen butterfly (Danaus gilippus)
In late February, I spent a week with friends in Tucson, Arizona. One day we did an excursion to the Tohono Chul botanical garden for a delicious outdoor lunch in the Garden Bistro, followed by a walk among the desert plants.
Cholla cactus
Tohono Chul, a garden, nature preserve and cultural museum, is located in Casas Adobes, a suburb of Tucson, Arizona. The words "tohono chul" translate as "desert corner" and are borrowed from the language of the Tohono O’odham, the indigenous people of southern Arizona.
Petroglyphs and grinding stone
In one part of the garden one can see a display of rock drawings and stone implements from that culture.
Succulents
After a delicious lunch on the patio of the garden bistro, we purchased our tickets and set off on the trails through the garden, passing various types of cactus, succulents, desert adapted shrubs, wildflowers, and various sculptures.
The garden docents are founts of information
As we stopped to admire some golden poppies, a docent pointed out some rare pink poppies she had discovered growing in a nearby exhibit.
Barrel cactus with a cluster of fruits, one partially eaten
We were a bit early in the season to see the cacti in bloom, but we found a number of barrel cacti covered in succulent fruit–one of them already nibbled by some hungry animal that had braved the sharp spines.
Vegetable and herb gtarden
As we continued along the path we came to a fenced “kitchen garden” filled with beds of lettuce, broccoli, beets, onions, and a wide variety of other vegetables that thrive in Arizona’s mild winter climate.
Milkweed pod ready to disperse its seeds
The Tohono Chul garden is a pleasant walk among a wide variety of desert plants--some familiar and others a surprise. On our way out, a metallic hawk cast its eagle eye on our departure.
For directions, hours, and ticket prices, click HERE.
One of numerous garden sculptures

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