Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Desert Botanical Gardens

Fountain Hills, Arizona:  One of my favorite places to visit when we are staying near Phoenix is the Desert Botanical Gardens just south of Scottsdale.

I spent several hours on a Monday morning wandering around the five unique trail systems within the garden, breathing in the sweet dusty scent of arid plant life, and marveling at the abundance that can be found in the desert. For someone who spent her entire life in the rainforests of the Pacific Northwest, the desert can sometimes feel like exploring on a new planet.

The surprise of the day was discovering the botanical garden staff busy setting up for the Chihuly in the Desert exhibition that opens in two weeks.  Several large-scale installations are already in place around the garden and it was a treat to get to see some of them early.  I think they will be all lit up at night when the exhibit opens.  That would be cool to see.

One of the highlights of my day was trying to get photos of these big, beautiful monarch butterflies working over a huge bush of tiny purple flowers.  I just love getting to see butterflies in the winter months.

I decided to take a break after a long morning of marveling at the monarchs and took a seat on the patio at Gertrude’s which is located just inside the garden entrance.  It's a nice spot to get out of the sun and soak up the pretty garden atmosphere.  

Gertrude's is popular and known for its seasonal farm to table food featuring local Arizona growers and producers.  While there were a lot of tasty looking things on the menu I would have liked to try, today I just wanted a drink and a break from the sun.  I settled on the house-made lemonade with fresh herbs and berries.


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