Spring flowering peaks from mid-March through April in desert gardens around Arizona. Here are some of the best places to witness the state’s seasonal marvels.
DESERT BOTANICAL GARDEN
PHOTO: COURTESY DESERT BOTANICAL GARDEN
This year marks the 80th anniversary of this striking living museum, which gathers 50,000 desert plantings from around the world. Arranged around multiple trails that wend their way through the 140-acre site, the garden is considered one of the top 10 zoological museums in the world. From March 2 to May 12, native butterflies will be part of the Spring Butterfly Exhibit, and through May 12, as part of the Electric Desert show, visitors can wander the museum after dusk, experiencing a light and sound show that illuminates the wonders of the desert at nighttime.
TUCSON BOTANICAL GARDENS
PHOTO: COURTESY TUCSON BOTANICAL GARDENS
The Cox Butterfly and Orchid Pavilion and succulent gardens are some of the sights to behold on a visit to this 5 1/2-acre gem. Comprising 17 distinct gardens connected by paths, including a Historical Garden consisting of foliage as it would have been planted in the early 20th century, the property is transformed into a kaleidoscope of floral hues in spring. In particular, the Iris Garden in full bloom is a vision of vivid color that’s not to be missed.
BOYCE THOMPSON ARBORETUM
PHOTO: COURTESY BOYCE THOMPSON ARBORETUM
Set on 392 acres in Queen Creek Canyon, the arboretum is the oldest and largest public garden in Arizona. Founded in 1924 by mining magnate William Boyce Thompson, it features plants from deserts around the world and 3 miles of gorgeous trails. A variety of programs includes bird walks and medicinal plant tours as well as the spring plant sale in March, where you can purchase Sonoran Desert wonders for your own backyard.
ARIZONA-SONORA DESERT MUSEUM
PHOTO: COURTESY ARIZONA-SONORA DESERT MUSEUM
The exquisite wildlife of the Sonoran Desert is on display at this 98-acre site outside Tucson, an outdoor showcase of 1,200 types of plants arranged along stunning walks through desert habitats and some 230 animals as part of its zoo. Be sure to visit the mountain woodland garden, the agave garden and the pollinating garden, which, in the glory of spring, draws a host of bees and birds.