Huntington Desert Garden and a few other goodies (August 2021)

When I was in Southern California for the Inter-City Show a few weeks ago, a couple of friends from Sacramento and I made a quick stop at the Huntington. We only had a few hours, so we focused on the Desert Garden

As part of the Desert Garden Improvement Project, the entrance to the Desert Garden and the upper portion are undergoing major renovations, which, among other things, will upgrade the Desert Garden Conservatory and open up another half acre of garden previously closed to the public. Because of the ongoing construction, most paths through the Old World section are currently blocked off. As a result, we spent most of our time in the lower garden, i.e. the New World section.

Agave applanata, the non-variegated counterpart of the popular 'Cream Spike'. Yes, 'Cream Spike' will eventually get this large!

Huntington Desert Garden tapestry

Aloe erinacea, grown hard. This is what many aloes look like in habitat.

Miniature forest of Aeonium 'Zwartkop'

An unlikely pairing: Parodia magnifica from Brazil and Stapelia hirsuta from South Africa

Echinocereus viereckii

Hechtia huamelulaensis and Astrophytum ornatum

Agave bovicornuta

Entering the land of golden barrels

My Sacramento friend Theresa among the golden barrels

Mammillaria compressa

Mammillaria compressa

Golden barrel cactus (Echinocactus grusonii) and Agave parryi var. truncata

Ferocactus robustus

Echinocactus ingens

Agave impressa

Aloe pluridens hybrid

Aloe and yucca silhouettes

Creeping devil cactus (Stenocereus eruca)

Not a creeping cactus, but its stems still go every which way. I have no idea what it is.

Dudleya sp.

Agave margaritae

Yucca offsets emerging from a horizontal branch

Curious visitor inspecting a bunch of creeping cacti

Opuntia gomei 'Old Mexico'

More Mammillaria compressa elsewhere in the Desert Garden. It makes a nice groundcover!

My favorite Agave potatorum

Echinopsis mamillosa var. flexilis 

And a few bonus images from the Cycad Collection...

Mexican Dioons lining this path

Dioon edule

...and the Jungle Garden:

Some day I'll write a separate post or two about these gardens. After all, the Desert Garden is just one of 16 themed gardens at the Huntington spread out over 130 acres!

Note: Starting September 8, 2021, the Huntington's Plant Sale Nursery will be open on Wednesdays from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm for all visitors with a general admission ticket. This is the first opportunity in almost two years to shop at their nursery. Click here for more info.


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  1. Thanks for the tour. I don’t get there very often from Phoenix. I so love seeing all the plants!

  2. Thanks for sharing your visit. I haven't been there since the pandemic started, a serious omission. The Yuccas springing from the branch are amazing!

  3. Great tour, thank you. I see they limbed up the Bursera that hangs over that bench. They did a nice job.

    The "S" curved path through the golden barrels is one of my favorite scenes in the DG. Hooray for "S" curves!

  4. It's time for a trip down yonder for me , maybe next spring. At the rate my Cream Spike is growing I will be approximately 120 years old before it achieves that size.

  5. Fantastic photos of Golden barrel cactus mixed with Agave parryi, I love it.
    The "Yucca offsets emerging from a horizontal branch"... is amazing. I wish I had seen it in person.

  6. Definitely on the 'bucket list' when cross border travel can once again occur. Lots of great photos. A couple really stuck out: the Echinopsis mammilosa- looks like a sea anemone; the Aloe erinacea- we tend to forget what they look like in situ and the golden barrel/ blue agave combos- stunning.


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