Desert Botanical Garden foray – part 1

It was decided that we would all meet at the garden and go and explore.  I am not sure if the inlaws had been there already or not (they all had been to the zoo) but I was itching madly to go for several reasons:  1. It was outside in the sun 2. I had never been to a desert garden before 3. Photo opportunities galore 4. Walking around in the sun 5. They had a butterfly display 6. Did I say it was outside in the sun?  7. And we had reciprocal benefits from being members at our local conservatory so we could get in free!  We got there first and I was just in awe of the surroundings.  The park has over 20,000 specimens on 147 acres.  They are also saving certain specimens – that is way cool!  Across from the park were the Papago Buttes and I could see people climbing and hiking up them – “We have GOT to do that!” I told DH.  As we were closer to the garden than the relatives we were there first which allowed me to wander around the parking lot looking at the area.  And that is when I saw this little critter trying to break into someone’s car.

Once we all were together the 5 adults and the 5 year old all ambled in; six people with four cameras.  The 5 year old had her little kiddie camera but I’ll cut her some slack and let hers be counted.  My father in law and I both had the DSLR’s and I just knew it was going to be a ‘shoot-off’ between us.  We weren’t the only ones in the park with serious equipment.  As the day went on I saw photographers with tripods, monopods, and one guy who had on this jacket of many pockets which held all of his equipment.  Captain Kangaroo of the photo set.  Anyway, tickets acquired and maps in hand we went in and were greeted by all of the prickly denizens of the garden and this family of quail.


I have never seen so many cacti of so many varieties ever.  What was extra nice was that they were all pretty much labeled.  Some of the names were funny like a Teddy Bear chola – trust me you do NOT want to cuddle this guy – and some like the mighty saguaro were well known.  We were told that most of the species were in their dormant phase and would not have their beautiful blooms.  We just happened to come right between blooms, but a few strays had one or two flowers left on them.  I didn’t care I was delighted to be there!

Teddy Bear Chola – cuddly, right?

The garden didn’t have just cacti, oh no! They had desert flowers (one of which still makes me chuckle when I say the name, will show you later), they had other succulent plants, they had an herb garden – seriously? an herb garden in the desert? – desert grasses,  different types of trees, and wild life.  Besides plenty of birds they had cottontail bunnies, jackrabbits, hummingbirds, antelope squirrels, the aforementioned quails, and desert tortoises.  I wanted to see a tortoise so badly but alas, they were on holiday some place else apparently..darn!

The park has winding trails through it and not all of it was flat; we did some hoofing uphill a few times.  It was great and I am very thankful that sister in law had the foresight enough to bring water bottles because after a couple of hours in the park the sun was overhead and we all peeled out of our light jackets and let the sun warm us up.  Funny thing though, I know it has to be done but it was odd seeing them watering plants and leaving puddles in some of the paths.  One just doesn’t think of “watering” your desert.  More to tell about this amazing garden tomorrow.

About imagesbytdashfield

Fine art photographer who loves to see and capture the amazing things in this world. Owner of Images by TDashfield photography.
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15 Responses to Desert Botanical Garden foray – part 1

  1. ceciliag says:

    I likes that round cacti with the little purple flowers, there must have been some serious walking with acres of gardens! That would have been grand. nothing like subjects that stay still for a photograph! c

  2. ChgoJohn says:

    I love walking through our botanical gardens and conservatories, year-round. Going to a cactus garden would be really special and I’d love to do it. Thanks for taking us along!

    • You are most welcome, if you are ever out there do go! There will be more and I’m hoping I can feel the warmth from the memories and pictures since none of it is around here unless you are in front of the furnace or fireplace.

  3. tedgriffith says:

    What a great place!

  4. dhphotosite says:

    Way cool, so many varieties!!!
    Cacti are great for the home gardener too. Just be really really careful transplanting! If you ever get to eastern Pa you have to go to Longwood Gardens to see the indoor cacti display at night. It is amazing!

    • Ok I’m curious. What makes it cool to see it at night? I have an aloe plant that has grown out of it’s pot a couple of times that is as far as I get with cacti like thingies.

      • dhphotosite says:

        Well the cactus room is about 50 feet long and about 25 feet wide with winding paths that weave in and out of various plantings. At night it is lit as if by moonlight. They have miniature spotlights hidden amongst the plants that cast way cool shafts of light on the plants and they all take on a mysterious other worldly look. It really is pretty neat!

  5. Steve says:

    These are great images, Teri! I like your writing style too; it’s an easy read with just the right amount of humour. Cheers!

  6. Wow, what a fabulous place! I’ve only ever seen desert gardens indoors in conservatories thus far and will love to see something like this one day. Meanwhile, thank you for letting me see it through *your* lens! What charming quail. What gorgeous specimen cacti. What fun!

    • Considering it was late November and it was upper 70’s low 80’s and sunny on top of all of this I was past happy happy! It is amazing to see and it has to be even more so during the blooming periods for the cacti.

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