Flagstaff Arboretum Is Much More


flagstaff arboretum


Flagstaff Arboretum is a great entertainment and educational experience. Unlike the Grand Canyon, I think most Flagstaff area residents have visited the lush gardens just southwest of town. It's also popular with Flagstaff visitors.

Flagstaff Arboretum is officially known as The Arboretum At Flagstaff, but of course locals simply call it The Arboretum. I'll continue to refer to it as the Flagstaff Arboretum... because that's what I named this page.


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My wife and I recently visited the Flagstaff Arboretum to take the photos for this article and we thoroughly enjoyed the visit.

The Flagstaff Arboretum is located a few miles down Woody Mountain Road, which is off West Route 66. There is no exit off Interstate 40 at Woody Mountain Road.

We paid our very reasonable (cheap) five dollar entrance fee in the Gift Shop and were informed that a guided tour would start at 11:00 a.m. We had timed our visit for that purpose, so we went out and watched the numerous hummingbirds until the tour started.

Our guide was Rollie, a friendly and knowledgeable gentleman who told us of the history behind the grounds and gardens, as well as the plants themselves.

He told us of Mrs. McAllister, her summer home turned working ranch... turned tourist attraction / education center / conservation facility.

But the trees, shrubs, and flowering native plants are the real attractions here. Rollie led us through the various themed gardens, informing us about the many interesting plants, and how local insects andflagstaff arboretum animals may interact with them.

He also touched on the 9 foot tall fence that surrounds the gardens to keep the local elk herds from eating all the plants.

Rollie can give you the entire tour, his prepared remarks, answer questions, and keep you going with offhand comments, when you take the tour.

He'll give you answers to questions like:

  • What's a squirrel brush... or a squirrel pencil?

  • Is that really a giant, bright red sunflower?

  • What's a penstemon?

While we were there we met a few flagstaff arboretum tourist groups, a summer class of grammar school age students, a couple of university student interns, and three of the gardeners. The gardeners keep it all looking great for the rest of us to enjoy.

The Flagstaff Arboretum serves many purposes, as I hinted at before. They serve as a DNA bank for native plants.

Flagstaff Arboretum is a working scientific laboratory, where research is conducted as the  plants areflagstaff plants propagated. New educators and scientists are grown here, as well as plants.

Flagstaff Arboretum is a rich source of seeds. Seeds to be collected and shared with the Forest Service, National Parks, and other federal and state government agencies.

Flagstaff Arboretum has more than 2500 high altitude plants growing and reproducing here. It's one of a very few places in the world where these unique plants are nurtured and protected.

flagstaff plantsSome plants are raised and sold at an annual plant sale held in June. This is a revenue source needed to pay the substantial expenses a world-class facility such as this incurs. Memberships are another source of badly needed funds.

Flagstaff Arboretum is worth visiting... at least once each year. The different plants take turns showing off during the season.

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