Started my day early visiting the Mission San Xavier del Bac. This church mission began in 1692, however, the actual church was built in the 1800’s. There are free tours given which are fascinating and stop by to see the PBS documentary narrated by Linda Ronstadt explaining the church renovation.
The church is a masterpiece of Baroque architecture and on the outside there are statutes of Saint Barbara, Lucy, Cecilia, and Catherine above the front door. Inside the Marian church tributes continue to other female saints with statutes of Mary and St. Katherine Tekakwitha, the first native North American Saint. The craftsmanship of the altar will leave you in awe.
From here I journeyed to the Tucson Botanical Gardens. Here was the finest butterfly house I have ever seen. These delicate creatures are on display through the end of May. In the exhibit there was a running stream with cichlids or “rock fish” swimming among the rocks. These fish are a bit larger than goldfish and could be a wonderful way to fulfill one’s koi desire, (mine), yet lack space for a pond. 🙂
Next on the agenda was the Tohono Chul Gardens. This garden held many specialized gardens and trails. Of particular interest to me was the Saguaro Discovery Trail. Here enormous cactus loom with placards explaining how they assist the desert ecosystem. Some fun facts:
- Saguaros at 10 years of age are only 1.5 inches in height.
- They grow 40 to 60 feet.
- Weight several tons.
- Live 150-200 years or more.
- Provide haven for many creatures of the desert.
There is also a gallery and greenhouse at this garden. The greenhouse had a fine selection of desert plants at reasonable prices.
Both gardens are a delightful visit and must see if you are a gardener visiting Tucson.
See you tomorrow when I visit the Wild West. Stay tuned…