Skip to Content

A Visit To Tucson Botanical Gardens, Beauty In The High Desert – Day 102

All it takes is a visit to the Tucson Botanical Gardens to find some serious beauty in the high desert. In fact, so beautiful, that Reader’s Digest name it as the Best Secret Garden in America!

Of course, gardening is one of our favorite topics of all. And we have been so fortunate to see some great garden displays on the trip so far. See : Sunken Gardens ; Dan Walt Gardens

So as we rolled through Tucson, this little gem was at the top of our list to see.

The Tucson Botanical Gardens are located on the former property and home of Bernice and Rutger Porter.

This rose was simply stunning as it unfurled its pinkish, cream and yellow petals. We were both surprised at just how much color there can be in a high desert landscape.

The couple ran a successful landscape nursery back in the day, and then donated the house and grounds to become a lasting monument to the beauty of the high desert.

We thought for today’s update, we would share a few of our favorite photos from our visit.

Our Day At The Tucson Botanical Gardens

Tucson Botanical Gardens
The grounds are filled with pathways that lead to new discoveries around every corner. With temperatures near 70 and sunny skies above, it was a perfect day to spend outdoors.
The Cox Butterfly & Orchid Pavilion was a sight to behold. Inside the temperature controlled environment, hundreds of butterfly species flutter around at will. There is also an impressive plant collection of sword ferns, orchids, hibiscus, and bromeliads.
With Christmas just around the corner, the Tucson Botanical Gardens were decked out in holiday attire. The garden hosts a luminary tour during the Christmas season, bringing it all alive in the evening as well.
This grapefruit tree towered above us along our walk, and was absolutely loaded with fruit. We were both surprised to learn that everything from limes to lemons can be grown here.
The bright red berries of the Firethorn bush. These berries are a big source of nutrition for birds, especially in the winter when food is scarce.
And not to be left out, there were some beautiful cacti all around. This Oregon Pipe variety was one of our favorites.
Flowering Kale at the Tucson Botanical Gardens
Flowering Kale is on full display at the gardens. We have visited several gardens now that have used this plant for beautiful fall and winter color – and we can’t wait to try this back at home in our own flowerbeds as well.

One thing is for sure, we could go on forever with the photos!

In fact, we both had to finally download a few thousand photos today from our trip just to have room to take more! Happy Traveling – Jim and Mary

Trip Stats To Date

  • Day 102 of 365
  • States : 13 / 50
  • National Parks / Monuments : 15
  • Stayed In : Tucson, Arizona
  • Miles Driven : 223.4
  • Total Trip Miles To Date : 10,921.5
  • Total Gallons Used : 786.625
  • Biking Miles : 0.0
  • Biking Miles To Date : 142.5
  • Hiking Miles : 3.5
  • Hiking Miles To Date : 249.8

About Our Living Simple Tour

On September 9th, 2019, we set out in our NuCamp T@B 400 Teardrop Camper to travel to every state. You can check out all of our dates here : Dates for the States

You can follow along by signing up for our twice weekly email updates at the bottom of the page. You can also follow us on Facebook : Live Simple Tour Facebook and Instagram : Live Simple Now Instagram Page.


Sunday 22nd of December 2019

About 20 years ago, my wife and I moved briefly to Tucson from the Boston area, where we had lived for just one winter following many years of living in California. When we were investigating Tucson, it was in March. Everywhere we went, the air was scented with orange blossoms -- absolutely beautiful! Winter and early spring are wonderful there.


Sunday 22nd of December 2019

We really enjoyed Tucson - but unfortunately didn't get to smell the orange blossoms. I guess it is a reason to come back!

Bob Meyer

Sunday 22nd of December 2019

We’re planning a late January escape from the CO snow to the AZ parks, so it’s good to see and hear about your visit. The botanical gardens look especially interesting for this time of year. Glad the trip is going well.


Sunday 22nd of December 2019

Thanks Bob - we loved the botanical gardens. The trip has been amazing so far! I can't believe we are over 100 days in. Seems like we just left! Have a safe journey!

Rose Felton

Sunday 22nd of December 2019

Wish I had know you would be in Tucson. I live just south of there and would love to have met up with you.


Sunday 22nd of December 2019

Oh Rose, we would have loved to have met you while we spent some time in Tucson. Maybe next time!!!