Desert in bloom: a photo essay

The Desert Botanical Garden shows off its best colors in spring.

The Desert Botanical Garden shows off its best colors in spring.

Claret cup cactus have showy red blooms.

Claret cup cactus have showy red blooms.

I always had a “Lawrence of Arabia” image of the desert in my mind — until I visited the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. Broad expanses of sand disappeared when I encountered a 150-acre landscape of saguaro cactus, creosote bush, agave and aloe, quail and woodpeckers and a jackrabbit that literally jumped out and surprised me. In the distance were mountains with names like Camelback and Superstition. I fell in love with the beauty of the desert.

That visit was nearly 20 years ago. If Phoenix or Scottsdale are on my itinerary, the Desert Botanical Garden is a must. This spring, finally, I got to see the garden in bloom. A rainbow of blossoms, tiny and grand. And to top it all off the Butterfly Pavilion was open and filled with an assortment of winged flowers. (I love butterflies don’t you?)

In the spring, the Butterfly Pavilion is alive with butterflies fluttering by. Watch out, they'll land at your feet or on your shoulder.

In the spring, the Butterfly Pavilion is alive with butterflies fluttering by. Watch out, they’ll land at your feet or on your shoulder.

Over the years, the garden has only grown, and gotten better with better signs, beautifully-wrought pathsand walls, shady spots and places to rest. I was thankful for all the water fountains, too. Our water supply ran out early in our visit. It’s certainly hot as the desert in “Lawrence of Arabia.”

But at every turn, the desert is filled with life, color and beauty.

Take a look…

© Text and photos Mary K. Tilghman

Advertisements