A Trip to the Garden – The First Sign of Spring.

Chiluly Glass Sculptures
The entrance to the Desert Botanical Garden contains an exhibit with three Dale Chihuly glass sculptures.

Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix, AZ

As I write on this Easter Sunday, I can think of no more fitting place to visit than a garden. It heralds the coming of Spring, of new life, of resurrection from the desolation of winter. Last year and this, my wife, Lynn, and I visited the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona.

Since 1939, the garden has been delighting visitors of all ages. Their vision statement, which states in part, “The Garden’s vision is to be the premier center in the world for the display, study and understanding of desert plants and their environments,” continues to be fulfilled.

My favorite trail within the garden in the spring is the Harriet K. Maxwell Desert Wildflower Loop Trail. Blossoms abound, and the desert environment, normally imagined as arid, desolate and void of life, has been transformed into verdant displays of multicolored flowers. The displays are carefully attended by employees and a large volunteer corps that maintains the grounds.

Last year, we arrived late in the day, and we missed the butterfly exhibit. It closes earlier than the park, and by the time we got to the exhibit, it had just closed. We decided not to make that mistake again. With Lynn and me on our visit this year, my sister and a friend were along. We didn’t have the entire day, as a trip to the airport to pick up my niece was also on the agenda. We satisfied ourselves this trip with a visit to the wildflower trail, and our long-awaited walk through the butterfly exhibit. The many other trails in the garden would have to wait for another time.

Walk through the garden with us, and we will share with you some of the beauty you will find there.

Along the Harriet K. Maxwell Desert Wildflower Loop Trail:

Flowering Prickly Pear Cactus
A Prickly Pear Cactus in bloom. The cactus is edible, though care must be taken to remove the small spines on the outer covering. Native Americans would roll the fruit in a gritty sand mixture or burn off the spines before eating.
Desert Bluebell
The Desert Bluebell is one of nature’s heat tolerant plants, well suited for its environment. Amateur gardeners will find the bluebell to be an easy growth project in mild winter climates.
Desert Lupine
Coulter’s Lupine is found throughout the desert Southwest. A prolific wildflower, I’ve seen it in the wild on many hikes around Phoenix. It is also known as the Mojave Lupine.
Desert Wildflower
I wasn’t able to identify this wildflower in the garden, and there were no nearby volunteers to ask. If you know the variety, please leave me a comment.
Baja Fairy Duster
The Baja Fairy Duster is found in Mexico and the desert southwest. It blooms in late spring to early summer.
Orange butterfly
One of the many colorful butterfly species in the garden’s butterfly exhibit.
Black butterfly.
A beautiful black butterfly.

The Phoenix Desert Botanical Garden is a great place to visit any time of year, but it is especially beautiful in the spring. If you are in the area, put it on your list of places to visit in Phoenix.

John Steiner


  1. I hadn’t been aware of Chihuly sculptures until I researched his name for writing this blog. On our recent cruise, we discovered a Chihuly sculpture in the atrium of our cruise ship lobby. I will probably include that photo when I post photos of the cruise ship. It is nowhere near as beautiful as the sculptures in the garden here in Phoenix, though.

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