Saturday, September 26, 2015

Desert Botanical Garden - Phoenix, Arizona

Desert Botanical Garden
On a recent trip I had the opportunity of visiting the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona.  The Desert Botanical Garden is a 140 acre botanical garden located in Phoenix, Arizona that was founded by the Arizona Cactus and Native Flora Society in 1937 and established at this site in 1939.  It is the home to more than 21,000 plants, including 139 species of desert plants which are considered rare, threatened or endangered.

Chihuly Glass Art Exhibit Entrance to Gardens
At the entrance to the Botanical Garden is world renowned artist's Dale Chihuly Nature of Glass Exhibit which was originally displayed in 2008. The gardens bought the glass art after the exhibit as a permanent display.

Agave Parrasana (Cabbage Head Agave)

 Fishhook Barrel Cactus (Ferocactus wislizeni)
 The Fishhook Barrel Cactus is a member of the genus Ferocactus, meaning "fierce or wild". These are among the largest barrel cacti of the North American desert and are always cylindrical or barrel shaped.  Prominent ribs armed with heavy spines with one or more central spines curved like a fishhook give the plant its name. The vibrant yellow flowers that appear at the top of the plant develop into fleshy, juicy fruits when mature, but are not usually considered edible. I was thrilled to be able to get a photograph of these in bloom.
 Red Torch Echinopsis huascha

Ferocactus latispinus (DevilsTongue)
Devils Tongue, another member of the genus Ferocactus, grows to approximately 16 inches in height and displays beautiful purple blooms in late autumn to early winter. Its interesting elongated red spines lend towards its name. It is also known as Crow's Claw or Candy cactus.
Aloe Bloom

 Creosote Bush Larrea tridentata
Cresote Bush is a flowering plant of the Sonoran Desert which is extremely drought tolerant once established.  The resinous, waxy coating of the smaller sized leaves are adapted to reduce water loss. 
Agave americana (American Aloe)

Steele Herb Garden
Located along the Desert Living Trail, the Steele Herb Garden highlights a variety of desert-adapted herbs.
Barrell Cacti Sundial

Barbara B. Weisz & Family Plaza
The Barbara B. Weisz & Family Plaza is the home to many Mediterranean herbs.

Herb Garden

 Carnegiea gigantica (Saguaro Cactus)
The giant Saguaro Cactus is one of the defining plants of the Sonoran Desert. These majestic cacti are very slow growing, only reaching a height of one and a half inches tall in ten years, but can grow to an eventual towering height of 40-60 feet.  When fully hydrated Saguaro can weigh between 3200 and 4800 pounds and a healthy cactus can have a lifespan up to 150-200 years! 
 Echinocactus grusonii (Golden Barrel Cactus) Endangered

 Cylindropuntia bigelovii (Teddy Bear Cactus)

Assorted Cacti
Prickly Pear Cactus Fruit
Butterfly Exhibit
Monarch Butterfly
The Mariposa Monarca Monarch Butterfly Exhibit was running during our visit, featuring the life cycle and conservation efforts to save the Monarch Butterfly. The newly planted Monarch Way Station, which was specifically designed to attract butterflies during their migratory journey, is now part of the gardens.
Cholla Cactus

Aloe dichotoma Quiver Tree

Greetings from the Sonoran Desert

Stenocereus thurberi Organ Pipe Cactus
The organ pipe cactus gets its name from the many slender vertical stems that resemble the pipes on an old-fashioned organ.  Stenocereus thrurberi stands at 20-25 feet in height and the stems are only about six inches in diameter. The flower buds that grow from the tips of the stems open at night and are pollinated by nectar feeding bats. The fertilized flowers form into large, spiny red fruit that mature by the end of summer.
 Carnegiea gigantica (Saguaro Cactus)
More of the majestic Saguaro..cannot get enough!
Sonoran Desert Wildlife (Cactus Wren) Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus
The Cactus Wren is the state bird of Arizona and is found in Arizona, southern Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, western Texas, southern California and north-central Mexico.  The cactus wren is the largest North American wren, at 18–23 cm (7.1–9.1 in) long. It feeds off of small insects, fruits and seeds and nests in cacti.
Sonoran Desert Trail
The trail shows a view of the red rock cliffs and cacti of the Sonoran Desert. 
Sonoran Desert Trail

Desert Botanical Garden Phoenix, Arizona

For more information you an visit Desert Botanical Garden.

I hope you enjoyed the visit.

As Always...Happy Gardening!

Sharing at Tuesday Garden Party

  Author: Lee@A Guide To Northeastern Gardening, © Copyright 2015. All rights reserved.


  1. These are incredible photos, I loved each one. This is on my list for a road trip next year, I have always wanted to go to and it's because of fantastic photos like this. Thank you so much for sharing Lee :)

    1. So glad you enjoyed these Denise. You will certainly love these gardens!

  2. I enjoyed the visit enormously, Lee. I have fond memories of visiting these spectacular gardens with my grandchildren -- my son and his family live in Phoenix. I must say your photos are far superior to mine! P. x

    1. Thank you for your kind words Pam. I am glad this visit brought back fond memories for you!

  3. That's really beautiful! Especially the sundial cactus!

    1. I enjoyed the creativity of these gardens Endah. It is amazing what they can do with cacti and succulents.

  4. Hi, Lee!
    I always love visiting Botanic gardens, whatever city I come. I liked Organ Pipe Cactus, is stunning!
    Thanks for sharing this garden!

    1. Hi Nadezda. The variety of cacti they have there is amazing. The Organ Pipe cacti are pretty astonishing and the Saguaros are...well breathtaking!

  5. Oh, that’s something different!
    I must admit desert planting is something I just admire on blogs, can’t grow it outside, haven’t got a greenhouse and have no room inside – but some of the plants look spectacular!
    A Saguaro Cactus would have been amazing, but not really the right look, not in my garden – and possibly not in yours either? :-)
    Thanks for sharing!

    1. The plants of the Desert Botanical Garden were indeed amazing Helene and the part that I enjoyed most is that they are so different from anything we can grow here. We both have such different climates from the hot dry desert climate of Arizona.

  6. Oh thank you for the visit, what an amazing place, I love all these desert plants, so exotic. Fabulous photos.

    1. Thank you Chloris. I am so glad you enjoyed your virtual visit!

  7. I just got back from there. It was amazing. I really wanted to add a desert section to my garden on Long Island after that - do you know which plants if any will grow here...Long Island is a little milder and I can get away with a lot I shouldn't in my yard. I have a pretty mild micro climate for some reason.

    1. I would suggest Prickly Pear Cactus, which is native here on Long Island, combined with assorted succulents like Hens and Chicks, Sedum, etc. You could also add Yucca plants for that desert look. Some parts of Arizona are similar in climate to our zone and will support Barrel Cactus, but I think our winters are too cold. The suggestions I gave you are all hardy in zone 7. Use pea gravel or sand as your base for proper drainage.


Thank you for visiting. I love reading your comments and knowing you have been here, and will try to reciprocate on your blog. If you have any questions I will try my very best to answer them. As always...HAPPY GARDENING!


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