I have mentioned before that we lived in the high desert for six years in Southern California. We were incredibly busy during that time and I really didn’t have the luxury of wandering the desert and looking at the flora or fauna. Now that the kids are grown and on their own we decided to revisit the desert through calmer, more leisurely eyes. We went to the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix Arizona yesterday. I wasn’t sure what would be worth seeing since it is winter, but there were plenty of blooms and impressive succulents to make the trip a success. There is no way to capture the entirety of the ecosystem that would do it justice, so I tried to focus on plants that are unique or dramatic in some way. And, no I don’t know the names of any of them! I am a molecular biologist not a botanist. I can extract their DNA but that is the extent of my plant based knowledge.
The park is divided into 5 distinct loops, or trails and each has a main theme. Desert plants found around the world, those that are used for food or medicine, ideas for succulents in your landscaping at home, desert wildflowers and a vista loop with uniques perspectives and views. I guess I will just jump in!
There were several sculptures and water features in the various gardens as well.
This sun dial was on time
These seed pods were horseshoe shaped
Remember when I mentioned fauna?
This bird appeared to be nesting on the ground. You cannot see from this angle, but its wings were spread out as if it was roosting.
We were told that some birds will hollow out a portion of the larger cacti to nest in or for protection.
Do you see both birds?
Remember when I mentioned the trail with the great views?
We were finally done and on our way out of the gardens when a couple other interesting sites popped up!
Touch down, Seahawks!
These last two pictures are of Dale Chihuly Glass sculptures that mark the entrance/exit to the park-just beautiful!
We spent a couple hours hiking around the park and we were good and hungry. We headed over to the Biltmore Resort for Sunday Brunch, which was being served in their Wright’s Restaurant.
This was quite the spread! Included in the price of the brunch was this all you can eat buffet that included the mussels, shrimp, crab claws, smoked salmon and capers that you see above. What you do not see is the rest of the cold buffet and the dessert bar, both of which were extensive! Additionally there were hot items made to order (also included in the cost of the brunch). I chose the chipotle maple glazed pork with farrow, golden raisins, grilled broccolini and sunny side up egg.
As good as this was, it was nothing compared to my second choice! Blue corn pancakes with jalapeño, lime and mexican creme. Beyond delicious!
Another amazing taste was from the cold buffet. I had a smoked salmon bowl, with pickled vegetables, mandarin orange and salmon roe.
Of course I had to leave some room for dessert. There were many great options but I took only two small bites to sample. A salted caramel cheesecake and the raspberry chocolate macaron, and coffee of course!
Both desserts were outstanding! Now that we were replenished from our morning, my husband and I set out to check out the Biltmore Resort grounds.
The resort had an 18 hole putting course that we had fun practicing on. I didn’t too bad that day!
We could have played a game of chess on this giant outdoor chess board, but golf was our first choice.
Then we saw the pool! This is hard to forget-just stunning and so inviting!
We finally wrapped up a very busy and incredibly fun day! If you are in Phoenix you are going to want to hit up the Desert Botanical Gardens and Wright’s Restaurant at the Arizona Biltmore Resort!
A few last beautiful images!