Garden closes early Dec. 8-10 at 4 p.m. With Last Admission at 3 p.m. Due to Las Noches De Las Luminarias.

Sonoran Quarterly Archive

Past articles for your reference.

June 2014, Volume 68, No. 2

From the Atacama to the Sonoran Desert: An EXTRAORDINARY GIFT from Fred Kattermann

by Raul Puente-Martinez, Curator of Living Collections 

Early this year, Desert Botanical Garden received a donation of what may be the most significant private cactus collection in the United States: the collection of Fred Kattermann. It is remarkable in that all the plants are of known wild origin with full documentation. Most research institutions can only dream of acquiring such an extraordinarily complete collection. Read More.

The Delightful Genus Mammillaria

by: Scott McMahon, Collections Manager, Cactaceae

Among the more than 100 genera in the cactus family (Cactaceae), the genus Mammillaria stands out as one of the most colorful and popular among cactus enthusiasts. Their small size makes them convenient for people just starting a collection, and the characteristic ring of flowers is irresistible to the eye. The spines can be all one color and size or vary greatly in length and color patterns, always neatly arranged. See Photos.

75th Anniversary Highlights

The Garden’s twelve-month celebration of the anniversary year culminated on February 13, 2014, with the Celebrate 75 Luncheon. Our dynamic founder, Gertrude Divine Webster, served as Mistress of Ceremonies (brilliantly brought to life by actress Patti Hannon). Jacquie and Bennett Dorrance, Chair of the Anniversary Cabinet, and Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton welcomed guests. Garden Director Ken Schutz recognized special anniversary honorees. Guest speaker Dr. Lattie Coor delighted guests with his reflections about the Garden. Read Dr. Coor's speech in its entirety here.

December 2012, Volume 66, No. 4

New Living Collections Plan for the Cactus and Agave Families

by Dr. Joe McAuliffe, Director of Research, Conservation and Collections

The Desert Botanical Garden has one of the world’s most impressive living collections of the cactus and agave families (Cactaceae and Agavaceae). The breadth, prominence, and importance of those collections received national and international acclaim in 2010 when the North American Plant Collections Consortium (NAPCC), a group within the American Public Gardens Association (APGA), designated our Cactaceae and Agavaceae collections as the National Collections for these two more

DBG Community Garden

by Kenny Zelov, Assistant Director of Horticulture

From October 2010 through January 2011, in support of the 2012-2017 Desert Botanical Garden Strategic Plan, the Garden convened a task force of board members, staff, volunteers, and local experts to explore the possibility of implementing a community garden on-site. The task force helped identify the challenges that other community gardens have faced and explored the educational programming possibilities and benefits that such a garden could more

March 2012, Volume 66, No. 1

Desert Discovery Trail

by Elaine McGinn, Director of Planning and Exhibits

As the Desert Botanical Garden completes its 2006- 2011 strategic plan, it continues to look forward to the next twenty years and what it will take to remain a relevant and vibrant resource for the conservation and display of desert plants. Focusing on the characteristics that distinguish us from other botanical gardens, we intend to capitalize on our unique desert environment to stimulate sustained interest in and curiosity about desert plants and their more

September 2011, Volume 65, No. 3

Online extras

Interesting Insect Information

Courtesy of Arizona State University


Why does the pallid-winged grasshopper seen in Phoenix have bright yellow wings? Pallid-winged grasshoppers are strong flyers that are attracted to city lights. They are grey and well camouflaged while sitting, but more

June 2011, Volume 65, No. 2

Ciénegas Rare Oases in the Desert

by: Shannon Fehlberg, Ph.D., Dorrance Family Foundation Conservation Biologist
Andrew Salywon, Ph.D., Assistant Herbarium Curator, Research Botanist
Kimberlie McCue, Ph.D., Program Director, Conservation of Threatened Species and Habitats

As we head into the heart of another Phoenix summer, the thought of cool, wet, green spaces may seem like just another wishful daydream. It isn’t an unattainable dream, however. Although it may be hard to believe, the state of Arizona is home to an amazing variety of wetlands. Marshes, ciénegas, bosques, tinajas, more

March 2011, Volume 65, No. 1

Online Extras

Saguaro You Today?

By: Tom Gatz, Garden Docent and Horticulture Aide

That is a bumper sticker greeting you will find in All About Saguaros, the title of an Arizona Highways book by Leo W. Banks, published in 2008 and available in the Desert Botanical Garden gift shop. Here is just a sampling of the information more

How Old Is That Saguaro? 

By: Tom Gatz, Garden Docent and Horticulture Aide

SHORT ANSWER: Unless it was grown from seed, and someone kept tabs on it, no one knows for sure.

The much longer answer to one of the most commonly asked question by visitors to the Desert Botanical Garden is that on average and under the natural conditions existing just west of Tucson with 10 inches of rainfall annually, a more

Decebmer 2010, Volume 64, No. 4

National Recognition of Cactus and Agave Collections

by: Raul Puente, Curator of Living Collections; Chad Davis, Agavaceae Collections Manager; and Scott McMahon, Cactaceae Collections Manager

In May of this year, the Garden once again lived up to its mission “…to advance excellence in education, research, exhibition, and conservation of desert plants…” when its living collections in the cactus and agave families were designated as the country’s National Collections of those two plant families. This prestigious recognition was granted by the North American Plant Collections Consortium (NAPCC), part of the American Public Gardens Association (APGA). Although the Garden’s holdings of these two more

December 2006, Volume 60, No. 4

Ancient Creosote Bush Clones: A Trail of Multidisciplinary Discoveries

Text and Photographs by Dr. Joe McAuliffe, Director of Research

Across the hot deserts of the American Southwest, there is no shrub more widespread than the creosote bush, Larrea tridentata. Yet this common shrub is hardly ordinary. Scientific research has revealed many fascinating stories about its life history and ecological roles. One of the most amazing stories is how in certain places, individual creosote bush plants can live to be very old – thousands of years more