Above: Opuntia and euphorbia garden, Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix - ANDREW HARPER EDITOR

When staying at a lavish Phoenix resort, it can require an effort of will to venture out. But the city offers numerous attractions, among them the wonderful Desert Botanical Garden. We arose early one morning so that we could explore before the heat of the day set in, arriving shortly after the 7 a.m. opening time. At this hour, we shared the gardens with just a handful of others, and the city, though just 10 minutes away, seemed to have evaporated into the clear desert air.

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