Return to the Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix, AZ

Last year I packed three visits to the Desert Botanical Garden into my stay in Phoenix. This year my schedule only allowed time for one visit so I made it count: I stayed for almost 6 hours! I was exhausted when I got back to the car, not only because of the walking but also because of visual overload. The Desert Botanical Garden truly is one of the most special places I’ve ever visited—bucket list material for those of you who’ve never been there!

Here are just a few photos from today. There’ll be plenty more when I’ve had time to sort through the 500 pictures I took.


Dale Chihuly glass sculptures at the garden entrance


New Jan and Tom Lewis Desert Portal completed earlier this year


New Desert Terrace Garden—like the Desert Portal above, it didn’t exist when I visited last year


Agave guiengola in the Desert Terrace Garden. The luminaria bags add a festive touch (the DBG’s special holiday event, Las Noches de las Luminarias, is continuing until December 31).

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Just like at the Huntington, many aloes were in bloom. Left: Aloidendron dichotomum (formerly Aloe dichotoma), right: Aloe cryptopoda.


Aloidendron (Aloe) ‘Hercules’. In fact, I saw ‘Hercules’ all over the garden, but these were the largest specimens. They even had one for sale at the gift shop: $179.99 for a 15-gallon plant, more than twice of what I paid for mine!


I still love the steel canopies at the Sybil B. Harrington Cactus and Succulent Galleries


If only I could have a smaller version of this in my own garden!


Saguaro silhouette. Do you see the finger gesture?


Whale’s tongue agaves (Agave ovatifolia)


Durango Delight agave (Agave schidigera ‘Durango Delight’)


Potted Aloidendron (Aloe) ‘Hercules’ at the entrance


Prickly pear tapestry


Agave parryi seeming to grow out of the flagstone. If I ever find flagstone pieces for cheap I’ll copy this design!


Massive agave next to a bench. There should be a sign saying “Don’t lean back!”


Potted bougainvillea in front of a colorful wall


Giant cardons (Pachycereus pringlei)


Good buddies


Elevated walkway, Berlin Agave Yucca Forest


Yucca rostrata and Agave ovatifolia, Berlin Agave Yucca Forest

Coincidentally, Loree at Danger Garden blogged about her own visit to the Desert Botanical Garden today. Check it out!


2014 Desert Trip index


  1. I think it's pretty fabulous we both used such similar opening shots for our posts!

    Six hours, I feel your excitement and exhaustion. The day Andrew and I walked into the Huntington at noon and went our separate ways I realized breakfast was at 9:30 that morning and there was no way I was stopping until they kicked us out at 4:30. That meant hours of walking in the sun while ever so slightly hypoglycemic, not ideal but there was no way I was stopping until I had to. Power on fellow warrior!

    1. I know exactly what you mean. I tend to not drink enough and then begin to feel lousy. But one has to do what one has to do.

  2. I think it's great that it is congruent to Loree's current post and one can compare images from then and now. I find it very easy to believe that one can go on and on that stunning, spiky place!

    1. The sheer number of volunteers is amazing. Without them, a place like the Desert Botanical Garden (or the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson) wouldn't be able to function at such a high level.

  3. This makes up for the nurseries a bit.

    1. In fact, after that nursery fiasco I went back to the DBG until they closed to get myself into a better frame of mind :-).


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