39 Inspired Ideas for Landscaped Garden With Desert Plants
The Huntington Desert Garden is part of The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California. The Desert Garden is one of the world's largest and oldest collections of cacti, succulents and other desert plants, collected from throughout the world. It contains plants from extreme environments, many of which were acquired by Henry E. Huntington and William Hertrich (the first garden curator) in trips taken to several countries in North, Central and South America. One of the Huntington’s most botanically important gardens, the Desert Garden brought together a group of plants largely unknown and unappreciated in the beginning of the 1900s. Containing a broad category of xerophytes (aridity-adapted plants), the Desert Garden grew to preeminence and remains today among the world’s finest, with more than 5,000 species in the 10 acre (4 ha) garden.
Mr. Huntington was not initially interested in establishing a Desert Garden. He did not like cacti at all, due to some unfortunate prickly pear encounters during railroad construction work. But Hertrich was persistent, and, once won over, Mr. Huntington built a railway spur to his garden, to bring in rock, soil and plants by the carload. As Gary Lyons, a later curator, remarked, it's very convenient to have a rail spur, and deep pockets, when you're building a big garden. A trip to Arizona in 1908 filled three railroad cars for the trip back to the garden. So let us take a look at 39 inspired ideas for landscaped garden with desert plants below.
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The Desert Garden agave and yucca collections, along with the cacti, are among the Huntington’s most significant research collections. Huntington boasts the largest Yucca filifera in the world. The Huntington's Beaucarnea, Ponytail "Palms", members of the agave family (not true palms), are some of the oldest specimens in cultivation, and among the earliest plantings in the Desert Garden.
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"Aloes" (Aloae) constitute one of the largest collections outside Africa. Aloe arborescens has an unrivalled winter display of fiery red flower stalks. About 200 of the world’s 300 species of aloes reside in the upper garden. Most are from southern Africa. Aloidendron barberae (syn. Aloe bainesii), which can grow fifty feet high, is the tallest.
Most desert columnar plants belong to the genus Cereus. They form the structure of much of the Desert Garden landscape, producing flowers in late summer and colorful fruit in September and October. Cereus xanthocarpus, at twenty tons, is the garden's most massive plant. This tree-like cactus was already a mature specimen when planted in 1905. It is approximately 125 years old.