Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
Cacti and succulent fans can see their favorite plants at botanical gardens and other locations around the country. To help you plan your garden tours, here are details on a few.
The Desert Botanical Garden
Located in Phoenix, Arizona, this is a great place to see cacti, succulents, and natives that are drought tolerant. Visitors can see the plants within beautiful landscape setting. This features both introduced and indigenous plant species that will be of interest to cacti and succulent lovers. There are also demonstrations of traditional uses for some of the plants, such as extracting fiber from the agaves. The Desert Botanical Garden covers over 140 acres. This is widely known as having the largest collection of hardy succulents. It is sometimes called the Phoenix Botanical Garden.
The Boyce Thompson Southwestern Arboretum
In the Sonoran Desert, this is a great place to see drought resistant species, such as desert cacti and succulents. In addition to native species, this also has species from around the world. All in all, you can see over 2400 different species.
Budget enough time when visiting this site. The arboretum covers some 320 or so acres. It is named for Boyce Thompson, the founder. The garden is in peak bloom during late spring. But there is a lot to see any time of the year.
Though some gardens are private, they may be open to the public on a limited basis, often on certain days of the year. Others are open by invitation only. There are a number of outstanding private gardens that specialize in cacti and succulents.
One of the most widely publicized succulent gardens is that of Dr Herman Schwartz, a retired physician who was also a botanist. His garden is known for its vast array of euphorbias from all over the world. Though this is a private garden, he does give tours to groups, mainly schoolchildren, garden clubs, plant societies, and the like in what he calls his living museum garden.