Monday, September 17, 2018

I'm a Wallflower

I have been since I was a kid.  You could always find me sitting against the back wall at every 4-H and school dance I went to, which weren't many.  So you would think I'd be the first one to love flower gardens.

Not so much, although I do like photography in flower gardens.  That's why I decided to visit the Tucson Botanical Gardens.  It's not exactly easy to find.  I drove past the entrance twice before finally getting it right.  The entrance to the garden itself is not visibly marked, so just drive to the back of the parking lot and walk towards the building.
Take the white door to the right into the gift shop where you must pay for entry.  $13 each for seniors.  The very first thing I saw was this beautiful flowering cactus.  Wait ... what?  I walked closer.  It was a metal water fountain, so real looking it had me fooled.  
Everything is of course posted with name tags so I would know what it was I was killing should I plant some of these in MY back yard.  
Although I thought for sure they would all be blooming like crazy, I was wrong.  The blooming season is short in the desert and this is the only cactus bloom I could find.  Weird how there is one flower just at the tip.
As I pretended to be on a great jungle expedition looking for the elusive tiger to photograph, I ran into another beautiful fountain.  It's rather hard to see due to the dappled shade, which I was very thankful for.  
It was only 9:00 am and I was sweltering.  Just look at these happy campers!!  Interestingly enough, there were very few drip systems set up.  Several employees, or maybe volunteers, were watering everything by hand.
Maybe if I just sit under the shade of this tree and enjoy the morning, I will cool off a tad.  It's a magnificent setting to be sure.  There is a restaurant on the premises, but it was too early for lunch.
FINALLY ... a critter!!  In the butterfly garden there were hundreds of these beauties flying around.  Timing is everything.  I probably took thirty images of these guys before I got one with it's wings open.
There were two monarchs that weren't cooperating at all.  This is the best I could come up with because by now the flies were driving me crazy.  They are definitely sticky little guys.
This was originally the home of Bernice and Rutger Porter dating back to the 1920's, who operated a garden nursery here.  They even built their house out of adobe, which still stands today, being used for administration.

Around the back side of the house are more familiar roses, vines and trees showing off their finery.
With absolutely no one in sight, since they are all smart enough to stay home in the heat, I walked around this beautiful area by myself.  Another fountain made it feel cooler than it was.
At long last the wallflower jungle trekker spotted a critter.  A horned lizard ... and a BIG one probably 12 inches long.  Please, please stay still till I get a picture!!
There are garden rules ... do not climb the trees (??), smell the flowers but don't take any cuttings (this one is directed towards Miss Patty Chance and her nurse scissors) and pets or dogs are NOT allowed, nor is smoking or vaping.  

I was looking forward to the butterfly and orchid pavilion, but alas it is only open October to May.  Taking a picture of this sculpture will have to suffice.
You are usually directed to exit through the gift shop, but in this case, you ENTER through the gift shop.  Time to head back around and see if anything in there floats my boat.  Sure enough, standing forlornly outside the back door was this little table.  

It called my name.  The nice lady said "why yes, it's for sale - I'll even give you 25% off if you take it because it's terribly faded".  Okie dokie ... and I loaded it up in the Jeep.  Once home, I gave it a quick cleaning and a spray of sealant to bring all the life and color back.  It's perfect for coffee in the mornings.
In case you were wondering, yes you CAN get married here in the gardens.  You can also have your engagement pictures taken here, as did the couple who arrived just as I was leaving.  Be forewarned, it costs extra if you are using a "professional" camera.  I instantly stuffed mine in my backpack.  

I'm sure this wallflower would have spent much more time here if it weren't for the heat.  Stop by in the wintertime and bring a snack.  There are several areas in which to relax and enjoy the things that grow.


  1. The butterflies they have at the garden It's almost a good thing if they're in an enclosure all I could think of is you and Mrs. Livingston running around through the fields with your camera trying to capture that elusive butterfly. did you know that in Mexico were the monarch butterfly congregates they tag them with a sticker numbers so if you ever see a Monarch butterfly look for the little white sticker on his wing try to capture the number not the butterfly there's a website that you could go to And report that sighting.ii 🦋🦋

    The other day when peter mentioned government utility company regulation
    Got me to thinking here's an interesting long read article
    Somewhere in there I don't see it though is how much dark money they spend
    On lobbyists,,, but it is an interesting article.

    1. Ohhhhh ... I didn't remember the monarchs migrated to Mexico. You're right .. hard to capture them with wings open.

  2. Never hear of being charged extra for taking Pro Quality Photos.
    Anything for money to offset operating costs.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

    1. Most high quality museums and botanic Gardens do charge A professional photographers fee if you're making money on it they want to make money on it some museums and Gardens set aside a certain time for professional shoot

    2. I had not heard of that either, Rick. It wasn't much, just $4 extra per person. I suppose the photographer could use those images as advertisement for their services.

  3. Sounds like a wonderful place to explore thanks for all the great pictures.

    1. It was very nice ... just go in the winter time!!

  4. En route to our skin doctor in Tucson earlier in the year, we passed the gardens and I was surprised it is in a residential area. One of the places we hope to visit when we return for the winter season in October. Thanks for sharing. Lynn Cross

    1. Yup ... right in the middle of a bunch of houses. Apparently they were there first, then everyone built up around them. I think you'll enjoy it Lynn.

  5. The gardens look lovely. I'm not big on Botanical Gardens anywhere. In Arizona I would enjoy them more because of the cacti but if it grows in someones garden, I lose the interest in paying to go see more and more of them however beautifully arranged. On a hot humid day? No thanks. I love your table though, perfect!

    1. I rather agree Patsy. Now Butchart Gardens in Canada ... THAT I would gladly pay to see again.