TRAVELS | August 27, 2014

Arizona desert botanical gardens

A concentration of life and color in the deser

Carrie, Founder & Chief Wanderer

The Arizonan desert can be a harsh environment, especially during the summer months. I was there in late July and temperatures were upwards of 110 degrees. Despite the heat, I was excited to experience the beautiful desert landscape that Phoenix has to offer.

Hoping to see Arizona’s famous golden iron-rich mountains and tall-standing cacti, I went to the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix— and I was not disappointed. The Botanical Garden has about 1.5 miles of trails to enjoy, winding through different exhibits featuring native and non-native desert species. I was very impressed with the curation of the gardens. The park identified the native regions of the plants, the species names and occasionally a unique detail about desert animals. The cacti in the gardens varied greatly, from the towering saguaro, which can grow 40 to 60 feet tall, to the unusual ground varieties, such as the fishhook cactus.

The gardens looped around the property providing various picturesque views of the nearby mountains, including Camelback and Papago Buttes. It was a gorgeous sight to be seen, but I was also thankful that I was looking up at and not on top of the mountains in that scorching heat. While walking around the gardens, I consumed nearly a gallon of water. I don’t think I could bear being closer to the sun. Furthermore, it would actually be irresponsible to go hiking during the summer days. The desert can be unforgiving and one should exercise caution when you plan outdoor activities.

During my visit to Desert Botanical Garden, I wore a hat, I drank a ton of water and I had a friend join me as we faced the heat. All three of these are good practice to be safe in the desert and a must if you plan to enjoy the environment on a hot summer day. Oh and of course… always wear sunscreen!