Monday, August 13, 2012

Photo Essay: Moorten Botanical Garden, Palm Springs

I've been loving California botanical gardens for their displays of cacti and other succulents, in yet another show of how some living things really do thrive in the desert.



At Moorten Botanical Garden in Palm Springs, rather than a survey of flora from various climates around the world, you get a specialized, curated selection of more than 3000 desert plants separated by their natural habitats (mostly, the Americas - Mojave Desert, Sonoran Desert, Mexico, etc.) - including cacti, agaves, and even ironwood trees.



And thankfully, in 115 degree heat, most of it is shady.



Some of the cactus flowers are in bloom.











Inside the Moorten's "Cactarium" (their greenhouse) you find all sorts of rare plants...



...including cacti with spines short and long...





...as well as the most unusual-looking surfaces...



...like the frizzy "Old Woman Cactus" (Espostoa lanata)...



...the matted "Old Man Cactus"(Cephalocereus senilis) ...



...and the wispy "Feather Cactus" (Mammillaria plumosa).



Walking through the greenhouse, I just wanted to touch everything...



then again, I always want to touch everything...



...feel every spiny prickly poke that those cacti had to offer.




But alas, probably as much for my protection as theirs, touching is forbidden.




A visit to Moorten's doesn't require a lot of time...



... though in addition to the plants, there is a field of lava rock and a pile of pioneer relics to be explored.



But the real attraction is the plants, even if you breeze through like I did.



And if you really fall in love with one of them, they might let you take it home with you.

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