We feel we have experienced three faces of spring in our month-long stay in Phoenix.
We have visited spring in the natural settings of the desert within Cave Creek (AZ) Regional Park and surrounding Bartlett Lake (east of Cave Creek).
We have seen the desert wildflowers and cacti in the managed and maintained sections of the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix.
For our third exposure to spring, we traveled to Boyce Thompson Arboretum, located about three miles east of Superior, AZ. Here the flowers, trees, and shrubs are grown for research and educational purposes.
Our first area to tour was the Demonstration Garden, which presented a series of water-efficient residential theme gardens. The displays showed how a variety of drought-tolerant and low-water demanding plants can create shade, shelter, color and privacy in urban settings.
To survive in the desert, a plant must be able to live with very little water and to wait for it--months or years, if need be.
In this display area, people are encouraged to live in harmony with the desert by choosing appropriate plant species for home and business landscaping.
Founded in 1927 by Colonel W.B. Thompson as a museum of living plants for research and teaching in plant science, the Arboretum protects a segment of the Arizona Uplands Sonoran Desert.
The result of the education program is a more efficient use of this region's dwindling water supply.
The Arboretum became affiliated with the University of Arizona in 1965 and Arizona State Parks in 1976 (the same year that it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places).
We will move on to the Cactus Garden of the Arboretum in one of our next couple of entries.