Tucson Botanical Gardens
Tucson, Arizona
June 2008

Tucson Botanical Gardens is located on about 5 acres in a residential area of Tucson. The Gardens opened to the public in 1975. Today it is a lush oasis in the middle of a dry city.

garden entrance

Within the grounds are a number of specialty gardens, ranging from bird and butterfly gardens to Native American gardens. The Native American gardens and the Cactus-Succulent garden

cactus garden

are nice, well-cared for with good signage, but there are better examples at most other desert gardens. The things I like best here are the features and displays that are not found at other gardens.

One thing that stands out to me is all the color used in the hardscaping. The colorful tiles on walls and benches give the garden a unique feel, like being in a hacienda in old Mexico (or so it seems to me).

tile bench

I also love the Historical Garden,

Historical Gardens sign

with its preserved plantings from the 1930’s and 1940’s. Not only is the garden beautiful and lush because of its age, but it also offers a great interpretive opportunity: to use changes in landscape palette and design to talk about changes in society; to talk about our gardening heritage and its place in our history. Gardens play an important role in society and too often we gloss over that importance by concentrating on aesthetics.

historical garden

I also love the herb garden. With its bright colors, glazed pots and fountain it is unlike the staid European herb garden featured most places.

herb garden

I liked this garden much more than I expected to. It is a lovely neighborhood garden offering many programs for locals, but it also preserves an important part of our gardening past and offers valuable messages about gardening’s place in society.

To see more photos of the Tucson Botanical Garden, click

here to visit the official website of the Tucson Botanical Garden.