Monday, April 26, 2010


Michael and I left our friends and our desert retreat behind and drove back to the hot valley of Phoenix from the northern reaches of the Sonoran desert last Monday. Some how we had a brief few hours before our take off in Phoenix. And Phoenix like London coincidentally has their botanical garden near the airport. It was hot with no cool pools to plunge into to. But we had plunged forward in time. The prickly pears that were only in green bud up north were in full bloom here and the early ephemerals were already fading under the heat of the blazing sun.

I, hopefully not erringly, have decided this must be Agave titanota, not a Sonoran native but prevalent in the Phoenix landscape. As you can see with Michael , my 6 foot 2 measuring rod that that is one impressive inflorescence.

On the Desert Wildflower Loop there was an endless number of things in bloom, as colorful as a summer garden here.

These impressively simple shade house were built for cactus. Yes, there are cactus that need shade.

Sorry I did catch the name on this cactus as beautiful in new thorn and bud as any blooming cactus.

This was the prickly pear (Opuntia phaeacantha var. discata) we only saw in bud farther north.

The hot red young thorns of an organ pipe cactus (Cereus thurberi).

The dramatically thorny diamond cholla (Opuntia ramosissima).

Few of my pictures turned out of the dramatically architectural new entry gardens at the Desert Botanical Garden, the only botanical garden in the world to be devoted solely to desert plants. Though this shot of Dale Chihuly’s glass agaves gives you an idea of what I am talking about. If you’re there don’t fail to visit this garden. It has gone through spectacular developments since I was there 15 years ago. I will not fail to visit it each time I go to Phoenix. Even if I only have a few rushed hours like we did this time.