Tucson – January 2023 – Mission Gardens

While Tucson has been home to European descent people for a few hundred years, the Native American’s have been here much longer. The Mission Gardens are at the base of Sentinel Mountain, also known as ‘A’ Mountain with the giant University of Arizona ‘A’ in rocks at the top.

This location is the oldest known canal irrigated agriculture in the United States, having been home to people for 3500 years!

It is known as the birthplace of Tucson.

The gardens celebrate this history with Hohokam, O’Odham, Spanish, Mexican and Chinese cultures, as well as others.

The garden is home to many plants and trees that while might not be native to the area, have been historically important, like one of the ‘C’s of Arizona – Citrus.

Another one of the ‘C’s are represented with a few small cotton plants, which has historically been grown by the Hohokam in the deserts of what is now Arizona for thousands of years.

There is ongoing debate about the future of the cotton industry in Arizona because of the amount of water it takes to grow (although far less that the massive alfalfa fields you see throughout the state).

There are some flowers interspersed throughout the garden, including these Marigolds.

Being in the desert much of the perimeter landscaping are the native plants like the prickly pear and barrel cactus.

Some primitive art is scattered about as well.

The Chinese Cultural Center was having a celebration the day we visited.

While small, the gardens provide a vital service teaching people how to survive in the desert, while celebrating the past.