Photography Club includes spring season with photoshoot at Tucson Botanical Gardens

Robert Thoresen

The Photography Club of Quail Creek closed out its spring photo shoot travels at the Tucson Botanical Gardens in mid-May (2150 North Alvernon Way). More travels will commence in the fall. TripAdvisor rates the gardens as number 16 of 58 things to do in Tucson.

The garden originally dates back to the early 1930s and was the home of Rutger (California transplant) and Bernice Porter (Connecticut transplant), who ran a local nursery in Tucson. Bernice wanted the beloved property to become a public garden and donated it to the City of Tucson in 1968 while continuing to live in a small apartment on the grounds. About the gardens, Bernice said, “Today a botanical garden must be much more than pleasurable, interesting and exotic. Now the necessity is a fuller understanding and application of the relationship of plants with all other life on the planet. We must realize, as never before, that plants, which are supported by the earth, support the earth.”

By the early 1970s, the union of Tucson Botanical Gardens with the Porter property became a reality. In 1974, the Tucson City Council passed Resolution 9384 which stated that the property would be used for the development of a botanical garden to serve as a horticultural center, a sanctuary for wild birds and as a center for education. For Bernice, the arrangement meant saving the house and grounds. “We just didn’t want to see this place go down under a bulldozer,” she mused in the 1975 article, “Now it will continue to offer as much pleasure to others as we have enjoyed in the past.” When she passed away in 1983, the city deeded the property to the Tucson Botanical Gardens. The primary focal point is the Butterfly House. For more historical details see

Club members, always in search of a fulfilling lunch, chose the onsite Café Botanica (fresco and inside seating) for lunch. The café has evening hours in the summer; rest of the year morning and lunch only. Not rated nearly as high as Tohono Chul’s Garden Bistro, it still rated a very respectable TripAdvisor rank of 210 out of 1567 Tucson restaurants. An earlier spring visitor, Lisa S, provided the following statement—“Visiting from out of town—this place is lovely! You can sit among the gardens and our waiter Colin was great. The grilled vegetables are delicious and the French toast heavenly. Also, don’t miss the lovely iced teas and scones. This is a little gem among blooming cacti and birds and lizards. A great time to go is in April.”

Want to improve your photography skills? Then join the PCQC. The club sponsors a monthly photo contest for its members and schedules field trips throughout the year. Providing instruction to improve one’s photography is a component of the monthly meetings. Meetings are open to all Quail Creek residents and are held at the Kino Conference Center (Ocotillo Room) on the second Wednesday of the month at 7:00 p.m. Consult the club’s constantly updated website for additional information.