Thursday, April 24, 2014
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Mission Garden Project

MISSION GARDEN PROJECT

The Mission Garden is a re-creation of the Spanish Colonial walled garden that was part of Tucson’s historic San Agustin Mission. Rebuilt on its original site and located west of downtown Tucson at the corner of Mission Rd and Mission Ln, the Garden features heirloom plants and living and Timeline Gardens, interpreting 4,000 years of Tucson agriculture.

For the Friends of Tucson’s Birthplace this reconstruction, its completion and operation, is our first project within Tucson Origins Heritage Park.

Over the last decade archaeological excavations at the foot of Sentinel Peak, a site known as Tjuk Shon sacred to the O’odham and more recently called “A” Mountain, revealed a fascinating story:  this special floodplain along the Santa Cruz River represents a 4100-year history of agriculture, the longest known history of cultivation in the United States.  We are immensely proud of this history and believe it deserves to be proclaimed far and wide during Arizona’s Centennial celebration.

Following the orchard plantings, Mission Garden will expand in a series of phases, each interpreting a distinct period of our remarkable agricultural story – starting with the Early Ancestral period and continuing with the Tohono O’odham, Spanish, Mexican, Chinese, and Territorial Anglo-American periods. For medicinal herbs and the native plants semi-cultivated by the O’odham people, we have historically correct plant lists to serve as our guide. The Garden will develop as an authentic, historically-accurate, living, agricultural museum – one of a kind in the entire country. It will provide a unique learning experience for all who enter – students, residents, and tourists from around the world.

Mission Garden will take its place as a jewel in the necklace of historic sites surrounding Tucson’s downtown.  Located within a few hundred yards of the Santa Cruz River, the Garden’s variety of native plants will become a superb and irresistible attraction for birds, butterflies, and pollinators. Economic analyses conducted by cultural and ecological tourism specialists estimate that the Garden, as part of Tucson Origins Heritage Park, will attract between 70,000 and 100,000 visitors annually.  As a truly unique educational and tourism facility, Mission Garden will quickly become a significant local and regional amenity and a major contributor to Tucson’s economic development.

Friends of Tucson’s Birthplace is nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization.