Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
Those planning a visit to the West will find many famous gardens featuring cacti and succulents. Here are some highlights of what to expect.
Huntington Gardens Highlights
William Hertrich worked with the founder to develop the gardens and library/research unit. The Australian Garden will be of particular interest as it has drought tolerant species that are compatible with cacti and succulents. This has what is considered to be ‘the most beautiful collection of cacti in the country. There’s a vast assortment of hedgehog cactus.
The Desert Garden is an ideal xeriscape garden with 25,000 drought tolerant plants. It is considered to be the premier collection of hardy cacti and succulents in the world.
The garden contains several cactus and succulents that are particularly memorable, such as a huge cereus, which is said to weigh over 15 tons, and a Welwitschia, a rare species. There is also the devil cactus, which is native to Baja California.
This is one of the most popular garden destinations in southern California. It has served as a source of inspiration for many gardeners, and its influence has resulted in the creation of personal cacti/succulents gardens.
Other California Gardens
The San Francisco Botanical Garden features over 7500 kinds of plants covering over a thousand acres. Many of the plantings feature cacti and succulents, such as agaves and prickly pears.
In the Bay Area, there are several highly recommended cacti and succulent gardens to visit. These include the Arboretum in San Francisco and the UC Botanical Garden.
The Ruth Bancroft Garden
Located in Walnut Creek, California, this private garden is considered one
of the most widely known and admired. After her initial introduction to succulents, Bancroft became an outspoken advocate for these plants. The 2½ acres was originally a fruit and nut orchard. The gardens include
yuccas, aloes, gasteria, and haworthias.