Photo courtesy of Desert Botanical Garden
Desert Blooms in Phoenix
There are few places where you can better learn about the beauty and complexity of desert ecology than the Desert Botanical Garden, not far from downtown Phoenix. Check out the Desert Discovery Loop Trail for a look at local flora, go for a flashlight tour or cooking class (using plants found in the region, of course), or catch one of the musical performances that are part of the garden's concert series. Make a point to visit the Desert Terrace Garden for the best views of the surrounding buttes and desert.
By Bryan Kitch, AFAR Contributor
Photograph Papago Park's Buttes from the Desert Terrace Garden
Phoenix's Desert Botanical Garden is a lovely place to visit at any time of year. In fall 2014 it opened a new section—the Desert Terrace Garden—and so is especially worth a visit. The addition features typical plants of the Arizona desert, including agave, boojum, and prickly pear. From the garden, visitors can see—and photograph—the red butte formations of Papago Park.
By Julie Schwietert Collazo, AFAR Local Expert
Desert Botanical Garden
To appreciate how lush and vibrant the desert can be, pay a visit to the Desert Botanical Garden, 140 serene acres set amid the red rocks of the Papago Buttes. It’s the result of tireless conservation efforts to maintain the desert ecology—and suggests what the area here has had to offer since long before our arrival. Stroll through the DBG’s winding paths and be entranced by the 50,000 specimens, including wildflowers, succulents and, of course, majestic cacti.
Sponsored by Experience Scottsdale
Mole before it hits the pressure cooker
I took a really fun and tasty culinary class at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. I never knew there were so many edible plants that grew in the desert! We learned to make crepes with nopalitos, corn salad with tepary beans and a classic spicy chocolate mole sauce. This is the sauce before it goes into the pressure cooker. You see the puréed chilies, tomatoes, spices and chocolate.
Part two of the mole sauce – this is after it has been in the pressure cooker for 30 minutes or so. Now the only step is to blend and strain it to get rid of the seeds. We ate this mole sauce with a mesquite flour crepe stuffed with local goat cheese, nopalitos and corn.
Southerwestern brunch – cooking class at Desert Botanical Garden
We made our own mole sauce with three kinds of chilies and spooned it over a mesquite flour crepe stuffed with local goat cheese, nopalitos and corn. The salad on the side is a light corn, pepper and tepary bean salad with blood oranges that was perfect to brighten up the flavor profile. What a delicious Southwestern-style brunch! I'd highly recommend a culinary class at the Desert Botanical Garden. Out instructor, Denise Clayton, was fantastic!
Over 50,000 Sonoran Desert plants
The Desert Botanical Garden in the Phoenix area is a go-to spot for locals and visitors alike. I'm new to PHX and can't get enough of the desert's beauty, which is perfectly captured in the gardens. This is the best place to escape the city without making the drive to Sedona or Flagstaff. Tickets can be pricey after paying for admission so many times, so we bought a membership passes to come and go as we please. I'd recommend looking into deals on these as there is a lot out there!
Desert Botanical Gardens
Beautiful botanical desert garden with over 4,000 types of plants. The guides will teach you everything they know about the plants and wildlife while touring the gardens. It's a good family activity because there are no restrictions except for walking and price point.
Phoenix Desert Botanical Gardens Resources
A must-see in Phoenix, the gardens are the best way to become familiar with the desert plant and animal life. Food Nearby: -DeFalcos Italian Deli -Papago Brewery (see website for current beers on tap: papagobrewing.com) -Gertrude's Restaurant -More restaurants in the area: www.chowhound.com/post/lunch-desert-botanical-garden-scottsdale-617612 Hotels Nearby: -The Phoenician -The Camelback Inn -Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Scottsdale - Old Town -Hotel San Carlos (haunted) Other Nearby Activities: -Bowlmar Lanes Scottsdale - Old Town -Chase Field (Diamondbacks Game) -Salt River Tubing -Sedona/Flagstaff
Phoenix, AZ, USA