What do you get when you have a group of people who are:
– dedicated to promoting the importance of plant life and natural animal habitats in our busy urban lives
– encompass a deep belief in educating the public through appropriate demonstration
– uphold a commitment to the conservation and protection of natural resources
You get a small public garden nestled in the heart of a city – The Tucson Botanical Gardens. This garden began its journey as part of Tucson’s rich history in 1964 as the pet project of horticulturalist Harrison Yocum. Harrison had a lovely collection of palms and cacti at his residence and wanted to share their beauty with others. He charged a membership fee and the garden grew, as did the member roster. At this time, a local resident named Bernice Porter wanted to preserve her house and garden, not bulldoze it under. The rest is history as the gardens merged, became established and incorporated and you and I have the pleasure of enjoying this garden year round.
Hours of operation are 8:30am – 4:30pm daily. $7/adult and $3/children 4-12 years of age. Your pet isn’t welcome here most days but Tucson Botanical Gardens offers Dog Days Of Summer, but only until the end of September. Until then, you are most welcome to bring your pooch to enjoy the garden Tuesday mornings from 7:00 – 8:30am and this coming Thursday night, September 23rd from 5:00 – 9:00pm.
The Gardens Cafe has reopened under new management and this is a spot not to be missed. Acacia, a local favorite restaurant for some time has taken over the cafe and promises fabulous organic prepared options of salads, sandwiches and a wonderful assortment of tea. Cafe hours are 9:00 – 4:00pm.
While simply perusing the pathways and taking in the sights and sounds of the garden are certainly enough to delight the relaxed senses of your mind, remember the gardens do offer special classes and events. A couple worth mention are:
- Birds and Butterflies of the Catalina’s – do you know what an Olive Warbler, Taxiles Skipper or Mourning Cloak are? Me either. $70 for non members and $65 for members will get you a spot on the bus as you head out and enjoy a day in the high country searching for these magnificent creatures.
- Good and Bad Pests – certified arborist Steve Robertson will lead instruction on the identifiers of good and bad pests for your garden, preventative or encouraging measures to take and the damage done by those unwanted. $14 for non members and $10 for members.
This is a spectacular garden and it deserves your support. It’s local, affordable and worth an hour or two of your time. It is an addictive little spot of serenity in the big city. If you haven’t been, there is no time like the present.