Courtyard Garden

Visitor Center Garden
Tumacácori visitor center garden

NPS Photo

The courtyard garden at Tumacácori was built in 1939 as part of the visitor center construction. In the garden are many plants that were imported from Europe and brought to their missions by the padres. Once established, it took time, often years, before a mission had all its components. However, given the necessary time and money, it was certain that its missionary would see to the construction of a church, with workshops and classrooms surrounding a courtyard. Universally located in the courtyard, was a fountain, surrounded by a fruit and herb garden. In the mid-1700's when the first church was constructed at Tumacácori, there was undoubtedly a garden similar to the one located at the visitor center today.

Other than the section of native plants of the Sonoran Desert, the vegetation growing in the garden represents plants introduced to this area by the Padres. There are herb specimens, such as rosemary, thyme, and myrtle. Trees include apricot, olive, pomegranate, and monk's pepper.

Download the latest Courtyard Garden Ethnobotanical Guide (.pdf, 1.5M)

Ornamental Pomegranite Flower

The Tumacácori garden and grounds have both ornamental pomegranate trees, with carnation – like flowers and fruit – bearing pomegranates.

The pomegranate is a small tree native to the Middle East. It has been cultivated in the Mediterranean region since ancient times. Spanish settlers brought it to the new world, and the priests carried it north with the missions.

Pomegranite fruits
Pomegranite fruits

As befits a fruit with many seeds, the pomegranate is a traditional symbol of fertility.


Last updated: February 20, 2016

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Tumacacori, AZ 85640


(520) 377-5060

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