Desert Botanical Garden celebrates opening of 2 new exhibits

Desert Botanical Garden recently celebrated the opening of two new, permanent exhibits — the Desert Terrace Garden and the Jan and Tom Lewis Desert Portal.

The two new exhibits are the latest projects in Desert Botanical Garden’s ongoing pursuit to showcase desert plants in unique and inspiring ways. Guests to the Garden will experience new desert perspectives as they move from Ottosen Entry Garden to the Desert Discovery Trail.

The Desert Terrace Garden connects visitors from Ottosen Entry Garden to the Jan and Tom Lewis Desert Portal and beyond to the Garden’s Desert Discovery Trail. The stone material used in Ottosen Entry Garden is carried through into the entrance to the Desert Terrace Garden before transitioning to a new stone material and colorful mosaic glass tiles.

Town of Paradise Valley residents Jan and Tom Lewis have been members of the Garden for nearly 30 years and Jan has spent the past 10 years serving on the Garden’s Board of Trustees.

In 2011, Tom approached the Garden about making a major investment as a surprise for Jan. After many “secret” conversations with Garden staff, Tom revealed the honorary gift to Jan and they participated on the planning committee.

The contribution demonstrated their spirit of philanthropy, and how the special couple honor and inspire each other to do great things for our community.

The Jan and Tom Lewis Desert Portal provides a new location in the heart of the Garden where guests will be able to enjoy elegantly designed plantings and shade from an iconic, architectural trellis.

Plantings feature a cottage-style arrangement of perennials and desert blooming shrubs showcasing sweeps of seasonal color. The Desert Terrace Garden and Jan and Tom Lewis Desert Portal provide a comparison and contrast of desert-adapted plant materials through layered plantings of uncommon and unique species.

Both the Desert Terrace Garden and Jan and Tom Lewis Desert Portal feature unique sculptural forms, including dense plantings of Dyckia, Mexican Cycads and Agaves. Eight new boojum trees are located throughout the Desert Terrace Garden. Ten African trees from the Garden’s collection are now prominent features in both of the exhibit spaces and are on display for the first time. Included among the African trees are several varieties of Acacia, Colophospermum mopane and an Olea africana.

A “Phoenix Point of Pride,” Desert Botanical Garden is one of only a few botanical gardens accredited by the American Association of Museums. It is a privately funded, nonprofit organization and depends on revenues from admissions and gift shop sales, as well as contributions from individuals and businesses to fund itsprograms of environmental education, plant conservation and research.


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