Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Desert Garden at Balboa Park

The Desert Garden at Balboa Park is separated from the rest of the park by a busy street. To get there you cross over the boulevard on a footbridge, which provides a nice overview of the park as you approach.

According to their website: "The Desert Garden contains more than 1,300 plants, including succulents and drought-resistant plants from around the world, within its 2.5 acres." I tried to find out how old the garden is but the best I could do was a brief mention on a sunglass website that said the garden came into being in the 1970's.

I did locate a rather odd map that highlights various plants in the garden and gives you an aerial view, see it for yourself here.

That's the footbridge we were walking over at the beginning of this visit.

And I believe this is Euphorbia ingens, the only other place I've seen a crazy contorted form like this is at Lotusland.

We first visited the garden in the evening, as the sun was getting lower and lower in the sky. The light eventually faded and we left, vowing to return the next morning.

I wonder if Dustin was slapped with a fine?


The Agave attenuata seem to be favored targets, perhaps because they don't defend themselves well?

Agave colorata perhaps?

(close-up photo taken as later as the light got worse)

A small, blooming, aloe Dichotoma.

That bench provided a nice spot to sit and take it all in.

What a nice way to honor a loved one.

This is where the photos from our morning visit start.

It was such a thrill to visit Southern California when the aloes were in bloom.

Perhaps an Aloe bainesii, on the left?

I think that may be a Furcraea macdougallii, in the bend.

Idria columnaris, the boojum tree

Dracaena draco, the dragon tree (and my 6ft-2inch husband, for scale)

Agave pups on a stalk!

Agave vilmoriniana

And finally another, much larger Aloe dichotoma.

It's a wonderful garden, don't you agree?

All material © 2009-2015 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.


  1. I agree. It is also a wonderful post showing lots of colorful blooms and skies. A perfect time of the year to visit.

  2. It definitely is! And looks like you had the place to yourselves :) and that Euphorbia ingens looks crazy cool like that!

    I wonder where the impulse to write ones name on a plant comes free? odd...

  3. That is a very Seuss-worthy euphorbia. Looks like you were in succulent heaven!

  4. This contorted euphorbia is realy amazing. Never seen one of this size

  5. Lovely photos, as always. I really liked this garden. We passed the sign that said something about a fine for cutting or damaging or removing the plants, so every time I got that dreamy look in my eye about a specimen, my husband would tease "Don't do it, honey! It's not worth it!" Then he saw those huge Dracos and got all twitterpated. He understood my appreciation. Such amazing flora there!

  6. Gorgeous! And you got lovely photos in the afternoon and then morning light. I especially like the one of the two barrel cactus, backlit.

  7. Ohhh, I need a dragon tree! I need a contorted euphorbia! My guess is that it can't happen, in either case, but I'm going to look them both up right now. Fabulous photos, thank you!

  8. Well, just as I suspected, I will have to visit these two plants in San Diego. They won't like it up here. Fun to dream for a few minutes though!

  9. A wonderful garden indeed and your pictures of all those mouth-watering plants are fab!

  10. Of course I agree!!! It is beautiful!! I´m amazed with that contorted euphorbia and It is the first time I see Idria columnaris, I really like it!! and those dracaena are impressive.

  11. That last dichotoma is dreamy.

    I just read that A. attenuata is "very uncommon in the wild". I got a kick out of that--it struggling to survive in its native central Mexico, while it thrives (even vandalized) in coastal So Cal.

    Interesting also that apparently with more water Dracena draco begins branching at a much lower height. There's one in the neighborhood with a trunk shorter than Andrew and the branching crown as wide or wider than those in your photos.

  12. Yes, it is wonderful! I'll have to put it on the wish list. Too bad about the graphiti--that is such a shame. I don't think I've ever seen a Euphorbia like that before. Great plants!

  13. I'd say that carving your name into the plants ranks right up their with the mental defect that makes people litter, but at least litter can be picked up and disposed of.

  14. "Pups-on-a-Stalk sounds like something you might pick up at a carnival food court.

  15. Wowwww. That place is absolutely spectacular.


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