National Public Gardens Day

Friday, May 10 | 10 a.m.–3 p.m.


Carefree Desert Gardens join communities throughout the United States in a celebration of National Public Gardens Day! This day of public garden awareness traditionally occurs on the Friday preceding Mother’s Day weekend, inviting communities nationwide to explore the diverse beauty of their local green spaces and to take advantage of local conservation, education and environmental preservation resources.

Sanderson Lincoln Pavilion
10 a.m. – Desert Medicinal Plants presentation by community herbalist JoAnn Sanchez
12:30 p.m. – Carefree Desert Gardens Photo Contest Awards Ceremony hosted by Vice-Mayor John Crane

In the Gardens
Ongoing – Docent-led garden tours with Lee Brownson, plein-air artists and live music.

National Public Gardens Day was established in 2009 as a day to promote awareness about North America's arboreta, zoos, and historic, botanic and public gardens. Members of the American Public Gardens Association, a Pennsylvania non-profit organization that supports, resources and promotes public gardens in North America, created the event as a way to increase knowledge about the educational resources public gardens provide within local communities.

Carefree Public Gardens, photo by Mike Burns, 2012
Thomas Baker - 1st Place 2013 Photo Contest
Lee Brownson

Desert Medicinal Plants Presentation

The plant palette of the Sonoran Desert provides a particularly unique opportunity to become aware of the wonder of botanicals. The desert serves as a source of medicinal gifts for us to use as nature’s remedies. This program is an interactive presentation for identifying key medicinals in our environment and for learning about remedies that can be utilized from our desert offerings. Samplings and tastings will be provided along with recipes and procedures to try at home.

Presented by JoAnn Sanchez, a community herbalist since 1979. She is now in her 22nd year as an educator of botanical medicine and is adjunct faculty at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine where she teaches, consults and supervises the largest plant medicine garden in the Valley. Sanchez is owner, creator and director of a 700-hour accredited Western Herbalism program, Botanica, at the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts.

Docent-led Garden Tours

Lee Brownson moved to Scottsdale 35 years ago.  It took him a while to realize the beauty of the desert and appreciate the amazing characteristics of the fauna and flora that live there, but once he did, he went all in.     

Brownson joined the Central Arizona Cactus and Succulent Society in 1998; served two years as its President; and was awarded a life-time membership for his contributions to the Society.  He is formerly the Executive Director of Wallace Desert Gardens, where in 2014, he orchestrated the 75-mile move of its entire collection (over 6,000+ plants, from huge saguaros to tiny mammillaria) to the Boyce Thompson Southwestern Arboretum in Superior, AZ.