Luminarias at the Desert Botanical Garden


The Desert Botanical Garden is one of the popular attractions in Phoenix (see another post about the Desert Botanical Garden). At Christmastime, the Garden is open at night, with luminarias lighting the paths (and some of the trees and cacti and sculptures are lit as well). The handbell choir I belong to at my church has a long-standing Christmas tradition of spending a December evening at the Garden, starting with a tailgate dinner in the parking lot, complete with festive desserts.

This year’s expedition took place last Friday night. We chose the date because one of our favorite area handbell choirs was scheduled to perform. They must have canceled, because when we got there, we were told the only handbells they had were on the first four nights of December. We were bummed.

There were other musical groups performing, though. A quartet of carolers serenaded us at the entrance. Further in was a string trio, Simply Three.

We caught the last song in their set. I apologize for the awkward camera angle. Their style reminds me of the PianoGuys. Actually, one of my former students turned me on to Simply Three ten years ago. They have their own YouTube channel if you want to hear more of them.

We went to Dorrance Hall where HarpSynergy was playing. We caught the last song of their set as well.

We were able to speak to one of the musicians afterward. She said their arrangements sometimes double parts, but in some of their pieces, all members of the quartet play totally different parts.

For most of the two or so hours that we were there, we walked together through the 140-acre gardens. Someone said her FitBit logged about two miles while we were there. Most of the pictures I took outside with my phone were pretty horrible, but I can give you a little idea of what it was like.


8,000 luminarias line the trails through the Garden. They are hand-lit every night, and they are also hand-extinguished (I think the extinguisher is like a turkey baster–you squeeze the bulb and air puffs out).

Liberty Wildlife, a wildlife rescue agency, shared a booth with two owls and a snake.

Owl 1
Owl 2
This guy was brought to the shelter with a broken neck. He can never be released into the wild.

The full moon was gorgeous, but this was the best shot I got of it.

Moon Through the Trees

The best part of the evening was spending time with dear friends. That’s me at the end of the line in the face mask.

Ringing Praise at the Desert Botanical Garden

4 responses »

    • This is the first time since the pandemic began that I’ve been at an event attended by thousands of people. In my county, 2200 people are coming down with Covid every day. Last week 71 people died of Covid just in my county alone. Since my husband and I both have health concerns, it would be foolish of me not to do this one simple thing to lower my chances of contracting Covid.
      Have you had it? Two of my friends lost their husbands from Covid. Greg and I are double-vaccinated and triple-boosted. So far we’ve managed to stay healthy, praise God. I’d like to stay that way.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m sorry the read that you have put all of that toxic stuff in your body…but God is good and I will certainly pray he keeps you and your husband safe. Please research how to remove as much of it as you can.


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