Desert Botanical Garden—morning walk (May 2021)

After my evening stroll through the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, AZ on Tuesday, May 18, I was back 12 hours later for a morning walk. With the sun rising quickly in the sky, the golden light and long shadows didn't last long, but I enjoyed the cooler temperatures and the relatively uncrowded paths (capacity controls are still in place). Another advantage to visiting early in the day: It's easy to find a good parking spot.

I hope you'll enjoy looking at these photos as much as I did taking them.

New plantings at the garden entrance

Golden barrels (Echinocactus grusonii) and prostrate yellow emu bush (Eremophila glabra), an unexpected cross-continental combination that works

Speaking of golden barrels, they look great paired with just about anything, but especially Yucca rostrata and Agave parryi

I photographed this vertical aloe planting a year and a half ago, and it's still going strong. Of course it's possible that the plants have been swapped out a time or two since then.

Potted Pachypodium lameri; I'm sure they spend winters indoors

Glorious potted Yucca rostrata with a massive flower pom-pom

Agave weberi, Ferocactus wislizeni and Baileya multiradiata in the bed next to the Garden Shop

Teddy bear cholla (Cylindropuntia bigelovii) flanked by organ pipe cactus (Stenocereus thurberi)

Three Yucca rostrata and two Fouquieria columnaris

Chollas, barrel cactus, and a boojum tree

Palo blanco (Mariosousa willardiana) and teddy bear cholla (Cylindropuntia bigelovii

Agave deserti flower stalk

Agave ocahui flower stalk

Yucca rostrata with enormous flower panicles

I love the way the inflorescence of this Agave attenuata wrapped itself around the tree branch

Potted banana yucca (Yucca baccata)

Mass planting of Stapelia sp. in front of Cleistocactus strausii, with a nice Agave bovicornuta thrown in for good measure

If I lived in the desert, this is the kind of planting I'd have

Trio of potted Aloidendron ramosissimum

Adenium swazicum, one of many adenium species and hybrids currently on display all over the garden

Adenium arabicum

Opuntia gomei 'Old Mexico' and a big clump of Agave deserti

Nice spot to sit in front of a flowering acacia tree

Agave victoriae-reginae mass planting

Cleistocactus sp.

Mammillaria sp. 

Agave albomarginata

Another Aloidendron ramosissimum, this one in the ground

Adenium arabicum × A. obesum 'Arabian Ruby'

Octopus plant (Didierea trollii), a spiny succulent from Madagascar 

Six Aloidendron dichotomum in one place, that's what I'd call a grove!

Aloidendron dichotomum

Another photo of these two euphorbias: Euphorbia resinifera from Morocco and Euphorbia antisyphilitica from Mexico 

Agave zebra

Four agaves

Another Agave zebra?

Another Agave ocahui in flower

These flowers are from the rare Agave × ajoensis, a hybrid between Agave simplex and Agave schottii var. schottii occurring naturally in the Ajo Mountains, about 110 miles southwest of Phoenix

More pretty Yucca rostrata in flower

Hesperaloe parviflora with red and yellow flowers

Potted totem pole cactus (monstrose form of Pachycereus schottii) outside the Webster Auditorium

Guyacan (Guaiacum coulteri), a small tree from western Mexico with striking blue flowers. I saw it in several places in Phoenix and Tucson and developed a bit of a crush on it.

Baja elephant tree (Pachycormus discolor), often gnarled and twisted in its native habitat but growing straight up outside the Webster Auditorium

Cardon (Pachycereus pringlei), the Baja California equivalent of the saguaro, surrounded by Baja fairy duster (Calliandra californica)

Ferocactus pottsii

Agave ocahui (and shadows)

The plant in the tall urn is a banana yucca (Yucca baccata). I'm tempted to replicate this in our garden.

Overheard conversation (different people than in the photo):
Man 1: “Look at that nifty metal thing.”
Man 2: “It's called a sundial.”


Agave desmetiana 'Joe Hoak'

Agave ovatifolia

Duo of opuntias

I don't know what this tall spindly aloe is, but it sure seems to lean on the tree for support

Ferocactus rectispinus

Agave shawii—and a nice place to sit for a minute...

...right next to this quietly burbling water feature

Ho-hum, another Boojum!

A whole colony of Agave ovatifolia

Adenium arabicum

Adenium sp. outside the Garden Shop

In a garden, the work is never done

My favorite photo of the day. This accent wall is everything.

After the Desert Botanical Garden, it was off to the Boyce-Thompson Arboretum in Superior, about 60 miles southeast of Phoenix. Post to come!


May 2021 Arizona trip: index of posts

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  1. Do love those tomato coloured walls. Really makes everything pop. Such incredible photos. The agave inflorescence's are cool. The A. ochahui reminds me of Eremerus. The one hanging over the branch seems to be happy to get help supporting itself. Another awesome post Gerhard.


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