Friday, August 8, 2008


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.


  1. What a spectacular place! Thanks for the inspiring virtual tour. (I've been considering adding more succulents and other "desert" plants to my front yard garden.) Your photos are great!

  2. I've heard nothing but good things about the Desert Botanical Garden. It should be on my "gardener's life list" of places to visit. Thanks for braving the heat to show it to us!

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  3. Fascinating. Thanks for showing us. Regarding the early morning opening time, I think all botanical gardens should follow their lead, at least one or two mornings a week. It's much nicer to see and photograph a garden in the early morning when the birds are active, the heat is less oppressive, and the light is beautiful.

  4. They also have 2 days a week when garden members can enter at 6am. By the way. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center has a reciprocal with this garden and many more.
    This may be the end of this blog as I seem to be having problems!

  5. Technical problems? I hope it won't be the end of your blog. I love reading your posts.

  6. I visit the garden quite a lot, as many activities I attend to do with the Cactus and Succulent Society are held there, as well as various classes I like to attend. No matter what time of year, the garden is beautiful. All the plants are perfectly placed in my view. Glad you enjoy it too!