The day after we arrived in Phoenix, everybody trekked to the Desert Botanical Garden (DBG).

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This is a 55-acre garden with desert plants from around the world. They also have a current art installation of animal sculptures made out of recycled plastic – hence the prairie dogs. There are also a number of Chihuly glass sculptures, including the representation of a cactus in green glass, above.

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Purple Prickly Pear – that’s something new.

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Those golden thorns are very striking.

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This makes me think of a sack full of prickly snakes, except for all the green fruits.

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The Phoenix area has numerous red sandstone buttes, and some of these can be found on the grounds of the DBG.

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I was told that this is a Saguaro cactus, which grows only in the Sonoran Desert (southwest Arizona, northwest Mexico, and a little piece of California).

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A mass of Prickly Pear balances out a big blue Agave.

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Some unripe fruits, resembling odd canapés, on a Barrel Cactus.

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Those are Organ Pipe Cacti to the right.

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Those snakey-looking Cacti lying about are known as Creeping Devils. I can imagine how they got their name.

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There was almost nothing by way of flowers at the time we visited. Apparently the desert here blooms mostly in February=March. However, these purple fruits added a nice touch of color.

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You can’t see it very well, but there’s a woodpecker perched on the top of that Saguaro. Many Saguaros have holes, excavated by woodpeckers and leading to nests. We also saw other wildlife at DBG: hummingbirds, quail, a possible hawk and some songbirds I couldn’t name. No pictures,though. DSC_0374

Beckee is very excited about this giant snail. Did I mention she used to be a cheerleader?

Visiting DBG is an easy way to learn about desert plants. I hope to visit again on future trips to Phoenix.

32 Comments on “The Desert Botanical Garden”

  1. I love every one of these photos. A few of these are familiar, but there are some I’ve never seen. Do you happen to know if those golden thorns are the result of age, or weather, or something else? I came across a cactus with the same color thorns out in the wild one day. I’d never seen such, and I wondered what caused them. Then, I forgot about it until I saw your photo. Now I’m curious again.

  2. Beautiful! I love cacti and succulents in general. Reminds me of my trip to southwest Texas last year, when I was beginning to be able to identify some of them and now I’ve forgotten it all. This looks like somewhere I should visit. Thanks so much for this post, and Happy New Year. 🙂

  3. Wow, what a beautiful garden! The blue Agave and the Opuntia in front of that perfectly fabulously laid stone wall is just a scrumptious combination. I have so much to learn about succulents and other desert plants, but good grief, some of them really do look reptilian. If I caught one of those snakes out of the corner of my eye, I would jump just like Beckee, except not quite as gracefully – LOL!

  4. the yuccas in the first picture are rad! I used to grow all but one of the 49 or species of known Yucca, and the only one missing may not have been real. Some were extremely rare. Those light green sculptures are like Joshua trees or Yucca valida, but are not cacti.

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