Crape Myrtle: Photo Credit, Sharon Falsetto
Crape Myrtle: Photo Credit, Sharon Falsetto

I recently took a trip to Tucson, Arizona – and discovered a hidden gem within the heart of the city. Tucson Botanical Gardens is located just a few blocks away from the University of Arizona campus but, even when you are looking for it, you might still miss the understated entrance to this quiet, plant-filled oasis. Here’s a quick look at some of the things I discovered on my Tucson Botanical Gardens trip.

Tucson Botanical Herb Garden

Cardamom: Photo Credit, Sharon Falsetto
Cardamom: Photo Credit, Sharon Falsetto

To start with, there are many gardens within the main botanical garden: Whatever your gardening interests, you will probably find something to inspire you! Of most interest to aromatherapists is the Herb Garden, which is composed of many familiar, fragrant, medicinal and culinary herbs: these include peppermint, spearmint, cardamom, rosemary, lemongrass and more. There are also various species of eucalyptus located around the property, and trees such as myrtle, olive and orange too.

Other Gardens of Interest at Tucson Botanical Gardens

Depending upon your interests – and the time of year which you visit – Tucson Botanical Gardens also includes:

  • the Iris Garden (in Spring)

  • the Wildflower Garden (in Spring)

  • Butterfly Garden

  • Backyard Bird Garden

  • Zen Garden

  • Cactus and Succulent Garden

  • Native American Crops Garden

  • Children’s Discovery Garden

  • Prehistoric Garden

– plus several other areas too. The gardens also include a café (not open during summer months), gift shop, and a miniature railway.

When to Go

Eucalyptus Species: Photo Credit, Sharon Falsetto
Eucalyptus Species: Photo Credit, Sharon Falsetto

This being Tucson, where desert summers are hotter than the average summer climate, you will probably want to visit in the spring, when the herb garden is at its best. I visited in summer and – although interesting to see the various familiar herbs I knew – most were past flowering, or past their best. On the plus side, admission is half the usual price in summer – but be prepared for a hot walk around the 5 + acres of gardens in the desert sun. The best time of day to visit at this time of year is early morning, when the gardens first open.

An Aromatherapy Garden in the Desert

Arizona is not a place that you traditionally associate with the types of fragrant plants which are familiar to aromatherapists. However, Tucson Botanical Gardens demonstrates what you can do with such plants, given the right care and attention. In addition, I purchased a great guide in the gift shop full of growing tips for growing herbs in the Tucson climate – in addition to recommendations for the most suitable species for the desert. An aromatic garden in the desert is possible – given the right inspiration, advice, and care!

Learn More About Aromatherapy Plants with Sedona Aromatherapie

If you are interested in the botany of various plants used in aromatherapy practice, you might enjoy one of the Sedona Aromatherapie courses such as the Lavender Aromatherapy Short Course or the Sage Aromatherapy Short Course – a great way to get started in aromatherapy!

To learn more, visit the Sedona Aromatherapie Home Study Aromatherapy Course Program home page.


  • Author’s own experience

  • Tucson Botanical Gardens literature

  • Tucson Botanical Gardens website.

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