Friday, January 14, 2011

Tucson Botanical Gardens...

I've made it my mission to explore Tucson and do all the things that I never get to do while the Gem Show is in full swing. Yesterday I decided to go to the Tucson Botanical Gardens. I've only been once before and it was at night during an Interweave Party (yeah, it was that long ago). So I wanted to revisit the Tucson Botanical Gardens and get a better look.

Luckily I made it just in time to see the African butterfly exhibit. (It closes early at 3PM on weekdays.) It was in one of the greenhouses and was very warm and humid inside. Several of the pictures I took look extra steamy, because my lens kept fogging up! The exhibit runs till the end of January.

I marveled at the shade gardens that were easily several degrees cooler. They were an oasis from the heat. I found myself retreating to this area when the more sunny sections were getting too hot.

I took lots and lots of pictures of cacti and succulents. They come in so many different shapes and sizes. I was really impressed with the variety. Some stood 20 feet high in the air, others were dime-sized bumps in terra cotta pots.

I wandered through the gardens, vignettes to different types of plants or styles of gardens. They had a Zen garden, with boulders surrounded by sigil-laced pea gravel. They had what looked like an outdoor Mexican kitchen, strung up with chili peppers and decorated with brightly glazed tiles. A model train snaked through the Children's Garden full of painted sculptures. They even had an exhibit of Wicked Plants. I think my favorite though was the Sonoran Desert. It seemed right there. It seemed to be a gateway to the natural Tucson. It harsh and beautiful all at once, the environment was studded with spiny plants, dotted with turquoise-veined rocks and willowy mesquite.

I took hundreds of photos. Above are just a few of my favorites, like the "Mesquite and the Moon" photo (shown directly above). Some of the other photos I took can be seen in my much neglected Flickr Stream. I created a special Tucson Botanical Gardens set. CLICK HERE to see more.

12 comments:

AJ said...

Thank you for this review of the gardens! I'm thinking of taking my mother-in-law there when she visits us next month. I'm especially interested in seeing the butterflies, so I'll be sure to head there early :)

Did you spend any time in the Seven Cups teahouse there? I go to their other teahouse all the time, it's one of my favorite places in the world!

SueBeads said...

Gorgeous! Have you been to the Desert Museum? VERY interesting!

Andrew Thornton said...

Hey AJ! I think the butterfly exhibit closes at the end of the month. I'm not sure, but I'd check into that.

Oh and I didn't see the Seven Cups teahouse! I don't know how I could have missed that. I'll have to check it out before I leave Tucson.

Andrew Thornton said...

Hey Sue!

I really want to go to the Desert Museum, but I don't think that any buses go out there. Kate said I could use her car, but it's a stick shift AND it's her dream car that she was destined to own... so I would be too nervous to drive it even if I did know how to.

We'll see if I can't find someone to go with me or maybe even rent a car for the day. I wonder if it'd be possible to bike out there.

Spirited Earth said...

thanks for sharing the gardens..the butterflies are fabulous

AJ said...

The Desert Museum would be a pretty long bike ride, but I'd be happy to drive you out there!

Here's a link to Seven Cups, their main location should be within easy walking/biking distance for you, and it's such a great, peaceful place to think, chat, work or read:
http://www.sevencups.com/

Sabine said...

The Desert Museum is definitely worth it. Though be aware it closes at sundown. We were disappointed as kids in the 70s when we arrived too late. You may want to call out there and ask them if there is a shuttle.

Enjoy!

Andrew Thornton said...

Hey AJ! I'd love that! Let me know when you're free and we'll go! I don't have anything scheduled, so feel free to hit me up. ardenttie@yahoo.com

Barbara Lewis said...

I'm enjoyed seeing Tucson with you ... because I certainly won't have time to do it. Thank you!

KayzKreationz said...

I love the gardens pictures you posted. I've never been to Tuscon. And the butterflies looked gorgeous. Great post. Thanks.

Xmichra said...

Beautiful pictures Andrew! In Edmonton there is the Mutart conservatory, and it is a must visit for botanicals and butterflies. This was cool to see the stunning difference of two different worlds of botanicals to my eyes... the plants are so different than what we know!

Salzanos said...

I would love to go to tucson this year. Was there many years ago, and then went to chemayo, where I was able to purchase a hand woven coat by a 5th generation artist. I still have that coat, it must be about 18 yrs old now. Nice to meet you! ;-)