Botanical Garden, Albuquerque

Even on a 100 degree day this garden is a cool place to be.  Only 15 years old this 36 acre botanical garden was built in the site of a city park which had fallen into disrepair.  As a result mature cottonwood and elm trees provide shade all throughout the garden.  The entry courtyard is spacious and decorative. You enter the garden through beautifully ornate bronze gates.

The first space to catch your eye is the children’s fantasy garden with a castle tower and dragon.  The dragon towers up above the trees with fabric wings and a spine with rounded boxwood.  The castle tower floor is a sand pit ready for play.  Walking through the castle courtyard you find yourself in a land of giants. This garden grows huge carrots, radishes, and onions.

 

The tools of the giants are scattered about.  There is a rake, trowel, and watering can, and flower pots, are all fit for the giant.  A motion activated bee begins buzzing overhead as you walk in to the potting area.  You walk into the interior of a monstrous pumpkin with the seeds and stringy center dangling overhead.  The tree trunks open up for play,  you may slide down to another level. This imaginative garden space is a bit of magic for all ages.

This garden has a Dragon/Damsel Fly Sanctuary Pond.  From the garden website I learned, “The exhibit is the first dragonfly sanctuary pond in the United States. The pond features aquatic habitat perfect for attracting and breeding dragonflies and damselflies.

Plants for perching grow around the pond, allowing guests to view and identify several species of dragonflies at once. A stream bubbles into the exhibit from a rocky desert landscape, and a deck overlooks the vibrant scene.”

It is fascinating to stand and watch the activity in this pond.  Both the Dragon and Damselflies will land and stay still for considerable time allowing you to fully examine their translucent colors.  Right next to the pond is the butterfly pavilion open May to October.

 

Many gardens have medicinal or herb garden representing the importance of plants in medicine. Here El Jardin (garden) de la Curandera commemorates  the Curanderos, Spanish folk doctors, who have been practicing for 300 plus years. A bass relief sculpture by Diego Rivera is the centerpiece of this garden.

There is much more to see, an architecturally wonderful conservatory, a perennial garden, a Japanese garden, a spectacular ceremonial garden all done in white flowers.

I was driving through Albuquerque on my way farther east.  Making time to stop and enjoy this garden was a great travel stop.

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