Five great public gardens in the Southwest

Fantasy gardens, bison, bobcats, and more

Public gardens

Bougainvillea

Bob Wigand

ALBUQUERQUE
Rio Grande Botanic Garden.
Romp through a fantasy garden filled with silicone earthworms, a fiberglass dragon, and 9-foot-tall plants. Relish the Old World among Moorish walled gardens and fountains. 9-5 daily; $7. 2601 Central Ave. N.W.; www.cabq.gov or 505/764-6200.

CARLSBAD, NM
Living Desert Zoo & Gardens State Park.
Look for bison and bobcats as evening primroses and bougainvillea burst into bloom. 9-5 daily; $5. Off U.S. 285; www.emnrd.state.nm.us/nmparks or 505/887-5516.

PHOENIX
Desert Botanical Garden.
Lupine and poppies light up the desert; butterflies cling to brightly clad guests. Wind down with an evening concert ($16). 8-8 daily; call for concert schedule; $10. 1201 N. Galvin Pkwy.; www.dbg.org or 480/941-1225.

SUPERIOR, AZ
Boyce Thompson Arboretum.
Wander among exotic flora in the 330-acre, picnic-perfect setting. Don't miss the red fairy duster, feathery cassia, or blue germander. 8-5 daily; $7.50. 37615 U.S. 60; arboretum.ag.arizona.edu or 520/689-2811.

TUCSON
Tohono Chul Park.
Owl clover and globe mallow dress to the nines for the prettiest time of the year. Take a Taste of the Desert tour ($30). (For more events, see page 78.) 8-5 daily; $5. 7366 N. Paseo del Norte; www.tohonochulpark.org or 520/742-6455.

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