Saturday, April 1, 2023

Tohono Chul Gardens, Sabino Canyon and In-between...

April 1, 2023

Corona de Tucson 

This past winter when I was googling things for Joe and I to do around Tucson this spring, Tohono Chul Gardens was added to the list.  It was moved to the top of the list when Jodee posted about the gardens back in February. Tuesday, I had an appointment for a hair cut at a salon on N. Oracle and the gardens is just around the corner.  

Tohono Chul Park is a botanical garden, nature preserve, and cultural museum located on the north side of Tucson.  "Tohono Chul" translates as "desert corner" and is borrowed from the language of the Tohono O'odham...the indigenous people of southern Arizona.  

The story begins in 1966 when a couple began piecing together patches of the desert  that would eventually become a beautiful 49 acre park.  The park was formally dedicated in 1985 with a purpose "to keep something natural in the middle of all the development so that people could come easily for a few hours, get out of the traffic and learn something at the same time".  

The newest garden exhibit is The Desert Palm Oasis.  It features native palms species and includes a stream.

The Exhibit House is the original structure on the property built in 1937 for $60,000 when the average cost of a new homes was $2,000.  The expense was due to it having an in-ground of the first homes in Tucson to have this luxury.  

Other highlights for the day included the succulent garden, 

 the butterfly garden,

the riparian habitat,

the nature walks,
Lots of Brittlebush in bloom and lining the trails.

the courtyards,

the ramadas,
Vines make nice shade at the Pincushion Ramada.

and the many sculptures displayed throughout the gardens.

It's a beautiful garden, and we had such a peaceful time there.  We didn't have lunch at the Bistro...saving that for another visit.  Both of us had a hankering for a Sonoran Dog (It's been months !) and fries so we stopped at BK's on the way home.

Friday we were up early and headed northeast to Sabino Canyon.  It's 29 miles from home, with travel time about 45 minutes.  It doesn't matter, as it is well worth the time and effort to get there.  We have lots of great hiking/walking places to go, but Sabino Canyon remains at the top of my list. 

We were looking for color...wildflower color...and it was a smile around every corner! 

I love how the cacti and wildflowers often mix and mingle.

The cacti have suffered the past few years due to lack of rain.  Everywhere we looked, we saw new growth...definitely put a smile on my face.

Sabino Creek was flowing over the dam...

and well on its way to join the Colorado River...linking Tucson's watershed to the highest peaks in the Rockies and the coastal delta in Mexico.  

Looking left from the dam...

It has been years since we have seen this much water there.

Looking was even flowing over the bridge!  Wahoo!

It was another delightful day in the desert !

Back at the oasis, and in-between wonderful walks and wildflowers, we had sad news.  Dover has lymphoma.  Lab results tell us there is no cancer in her bloodstream and we are waiting more lab results to figure out what to do going forward.   If thats not enough to process, the blood test Jack had done to measure damage to his heart muscle is elevated.  He is scheduled for a CT Scan, EKG, and a blood pressure test to fully evaluate his heart function.  This will tell us what we can/need to do to slow down the progression of heart disease.  

The good news is, we are all enjoying the patio and the sunshine and our feathered friends.  Jack and Dover think naps in the sunshine are the best. 

Sally likes the warm rocks.  She says they are good for arthritis. 

The Dove gather late in the afternoons.

The Cardinals are enjoying the Nesting SuperBlend seed we added to the feeder.  I'm happy when they and pose just long enough for a photo op.  I saw two males at the feeder together.  That was a first !

We have a yard full of Gamble's.  So many that Joe added a short fence around the feeders just in case Sally gets a notion to chase them out of her space.  

  And the Broad-billed hummingbirds have returned.

Stay tuned...I counted 16 buds !

Our Torch Cactus...

We continue to enjoy walks on the cart path...and it's not all flat ground !

Joe's mom always said, every room needs a touch of red...I agree !


And that's a wrap on the last week of March.  Yellow was a favorite color this week.

Lots of Brittlebush at Sabino Canyon

Gorgeous Mexican Sunflowers at Tohono Chul Gardens

Amazing Arizona poppy

And the glow in Thursday's sunrise

Until next time, 

Happy Trails !


  1. Lovely blog post Gay--so many gorgeous photos and happenings! So sorry to read about Dover and Jack--keep us posted. Thursday's sunrise was gorgeous!

    1. Good morning Janna and thank you. We should have lab results mid week on Dover and Jack’s tests are scheduled on April 12. We will stay in touch!

  2. Disappointing news on Jack and Dover :( I'll be waiting for your post with the final test results
    When the desert comes to life it is so darn colorful! You've captured so much of its magic in your photos.

    1. Hi Jeff and thank you! The desert has been especially colorful this spring. I love it! Hoping to have news about our sweet Dover next week.

  3. Poor Dover and Jack, hope everything turns out alright. You are right, that is a little oasis in the middle of a residential area. So cool that someone had the drive and foresight to do that. Love the fact that there is so much water, flowers and new growth!

    1. Hi guys! The gardens were quite peaceful and so pretty. Hope next time I need a hair cut, we can have lunch there too! Thank you for the well wishes...Dover is such a sweet pup!

  4. The good - Tohono Chul. The bad - test results......We enjoyed visiting the gardens again with you, they are one of our favorite spots. Our finger's (and toes) are crossed for Dover and Jack and we're sending our most positive thoughts for their future. sigh

    1. Hi Sue and Dave...we will definitely return to Tohono Chul Gardens. It's a good ways from home, but such a beautiful place and I love it is around the corner from a salon I like to go to...a two for one effort always works! Thank you for the positive thoughts and crossed fingers and toes. Hoping we can grasp this all when we find out some definite results. I know you know!

  5. I'd love to get back to those beautiful gardens this time of year! I was sure we missed some great pieces - like that wonderful water wall. The flowers are glorious, I miss those desert blooms so thanks for sharing! Hard to hear when our fur babies have health issues, hoping for the best possible results on the upcoming tests.

    1. Hi Jodee and thank you for your post back in February. It really is especially pretty with all the flowers. And I still want to have lunch there so I'm planning to return in May when I get another haircut! Hope is a wonderful thing isn't it? Thank you!

  6. Definitely a beautiful day at the garden! Lovely photos. So sorry to read about Jack and Dover's blood test results. Sending positive thoughts for both. Great parting photos!!

    1. Hi Pam and thank you on all accounts. Tohono Chul is a beautiful garden and a nice escape for an hour or two. Keep those positive thoughts coming !