Whenever I visit Phoenix I simply have to go to the Desert Botanical Garden, which is located in Papago Park. Even if the month is July and the day time high is going to be 110 degrees. It is not surprising that the gardens open their gates at 7am and that is exactly the time that I arrived. Never mind that most of the cactus were no longer in flower just to walk among these giants of the desert is enough for me.
Imagine trying to transplant one of these -and they do.
The desert Botanical Garden lies within the Sonoran desert and although most of the plants growing here have their home in this Southwestern desert, the garden is also committed to conservation of all desert plants of the world.
Cactus and agave also appreciate a little shade, as that provided by this tree. The desert trees include acacia, mimosa, palo verde, mesquite, desert willow. These legumes can fix their own nitrogen and often have roots which extend 100' below the ground.
Or even a little shade cloth
The saguaros are the giants of the desert. Their pleated stem allows them to take up water during the rainy season. Their huge structure is supported by a woody skeleton similar to that of a tree.
They sometimes take on unusual growth
They provide a nesting place for birds
A grouping of barrel cactus
This water feature provides a cool place for birds and other creatures of the desert to visit when we have all gone home.
The Pima Indians, who made their home in the desert hundreds of years ago, learnt to live in harmony with the desert, using desert plants for their needs.
My visit was short because temperatures were already in the 90s. Next time I will make a point of being here in April.