Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
Cacti and succulent lovers will find inspiration and beauty during garden tours. There are many kinds of gardens—both public and private—that are worth a visit.
Botanical gardens are an obvious choice when it comes to viewing cacti and succulents and observing their landscape use.
In addition, another place that shouldn’t be missed is the garden and flower shows around the country. Sometimes these showcase cacti and succulents as well. Some flower shows choose a different theme each year. In other cases, the exhibitors have a free rein in selecting the subject for their garden displays.
Another valuable source of information is display and trial gardens, especially ones at nurseries and garden centers. Naturally, these generally focus on the use of hardy and appropriate plants for the local region.
Some nurseries will have separate display gardens for cacti and succulents. Others incorporate these species into the featured landscapes, such as perennial borders and flower beds. Here are some specific highlights on gardens that will be of particular interest to cacti and succulent lovers.
Located in Emsburen, Germany, this is a destination for plant lovers from around the world. There is small admission charge for the botanical garden and park. Visitors should also make time to visit the garden center, nursery, and restaurant. There is even a Desert Oasis located in the conservatory. This is a popular site that receives around 400,000 visitors per year.
Taliesin West-Frank Lloyd Wright’s home
While this celebrated architect was known widely for his landmark buildings, his approach to garden design was also very innovative for the time. He advocated the use of naturalistic landscape styles using native plants, such as cacti and succulents.
For Taliesin, he preferred desert plants, such as agaves, chain-fruit prickly pear, chollas, saguaros, and the Joshua tree. Initially he didn’t allow any exotic or introduced species, but changed his mind when visitors were repeatedly injured after encounters with cactus spines.
Taliesan West served as Wright’s winter home for many years. It included accommodations for his many apprentices.
Westin La Paloma Resort and Spa Light Show
Those visiting Tucson during the Christmas season should make a special point to go see the holiday light show on this property. Saguaros—the signature plant of the Sonoran Desert—are beautifully decorated with Christmas lights.
Other Great Gardens to Visit
Among the best known gardens are several that feature lots and lots of cacti and succulents. These include the Huntington Botanical Garden, the Getty Center, and Lotusland.
In addition, one shouldn’t overlook gardens located at other sites, such as wineries, hotels and spas, and the like. One example is the Cambria Pines Lodge. This has a separate succulent garden as well as a Mediterranean garden. Visit the nearby Cambria Nursery and Florist, which is affiliated with the lodge. The nursery offers gardening workshops and demonstrations year-round.