We have become fans (with memberships) of the Desert Botanical Garden of Phoenix.
We have attended evening programs, joined docent-led tours, and followed the trails around the Garden on our own.
On a recent visit, we stopped by the Entry Garden and the started on the Desert Wildflower Loop Trail. Along with the wildflowers, we saw several cacti--
some preparing to bloom
and others well on their way to blooming.
Even though it was early in the morning, there was a large number of people in the Botanical Garden.
Several school buses were parked near the entrance to the Garden. As we walked around the trails, we overheard bits of the talks to pre-school groups and elementary school children on field trips. Every docent had the attention and active participation from his/her group.
When you combine these tours with scheduled tours for visitors and special tours for private parties, you can imagine the level of activity occurring that morning.
Interestingly enough, with all these tours and the number of people taking their own tours, there were neither bottlenecks at popular sights nor were the tour groups so close that the guides' presentations competed with each other.
The tours and educational programs are well organized and the docents are informative and eager to answer questions.
Kate broke the visitors to the Garden into two groups--those who walk at a steady pace, glancing to the left, to the right, and to their watch and those who walk a half dozen steps, look around, take a few photos, and then repeat this sequence.
In a conversation with one of the docents, Kate had her categorization of visitors confirmed.
Programs for adults cover topics from photography, ecology, birding, plant biology and human/desert interrelation to tai chi and hands-on workshops and cooking demonstrations highlighting the various uses of the bountiful Sonoran Desert. Thursday evening features Spiked!--cocktails, a catered meal, and local musicians--and jazz concerts are held Friday evenings.
We had been led to expect a very colorful desert this spring because of the heavy rain the area experienced this past winter.
As the pictures show, not only were our expectations met, but they were exceeded by the show of color.
We still have three major loop trails to traverse. We want to return in a few days to see more of the cacti in bloom.
We have been fortunate to be here for this magnificent display of color.