Sunday, May 3, 2015

Cactus and cocktails

Last week Philip and I visited the Living Desert which is a 1200 acre zoo and botanical garden, established in 1970. Of this some 200 acres are cultivated whilst the rest remains in its natural state. 

The gardens at The Living Desert showcase the diversity of forms adopted by plants found growing in the harsh conditions typical of the world’s deserts. Over 1,400 different species of plants are represented in the various gardens that constitute The Living Desert’s plant collection.  For those of us that are avid and fastidious gardeners, the landscape here may be a little disappointing, as its a bit rough and 'unkempt'  but it is intended as a realistic representation of desert flora and in many cases as the correct setting for various of the zoo's animals.

Oenothera speciosa

Cylindropuntia fulgida - jumping cholla

Carnegiea gigantea - the saguaro cactus

The opuntia garden

Tecoma 'Orange Jubilee' - common but colorful

Russelia equisetiformis - firecracker plant - another easy desert plant

The real thing - not a sculpture!

Thorns on the silk floss tree - Ceiba speciosa

Anyway with the current drought here in California, any demonstration of what can grow with minimal water has got to be good education even if its not the colourful, plant rich gardens that many of us enjoy.

We followed this with lunch and a cocktail  at Wolfgang Puck's restaurant in El Paseo but forgot to take a picture so you'll have to imagine that!

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