Best Public Garden

Tucson Botanical Gardens

Tucson Botanical Gardens is truly an oasis in the desert, a lush haven from the arid, busy city. Walk into the shaded entryway, and the cool, serene surroundings seem to envelop you. Gaze at the lovely silver pineapple guava trees--the fruits are as delicious as they sound!--and run your fingers over the healthy, thick bark of trees that are older than you are. Theme gardens are both beautiful and educational, and the "barrio garden" is a tranquil place to sit and contemplate Tucson's horticultural history. Annual plant sales and educational programs are only a few of this local treasure's offerings. Most of all, it's a great, inexpensive way to revive the spirit on a hot summer day.

Runners up:

2. Tohono Chul Park, 7366 N. Paseo Del Norte, 575-8468,

3. Reid Park Rose Garden, Country Club Road, just north of 22nd Street,