Friday, December 14, 2018

Boyce Thompson Arboretum Fridays, Part 2

We're back in Arizona for the second installment of our visit to the Boyce Thompson Arboretum last June. Today's coverage starts with this fabulous sign urging visitors to touch, smell, listen, look closely, and be curious. I'm all for touching plants and appreciate that it's not only allowed but encouraged. Still I found the wording rather humorous: "Sometimes you can better appreciate nature's textures by using a soft part of your skin—the underside of your wrist, your cheek, or your upper lip—to feel an interesting object. Be careful—there are a lot of spines and prickles in the desert!" Good lord! Ya, I'm going to feel an Opuntia with my upper lip...

According to the map we briefly wandered into the Australian garden, perhaps this is an Australian palm?
And Australian Cycads?

The Arboretum is some 323 acres; Andrew, and my brother, sister-in-law, and nephew took off to hike a trail around the outer edge, I didn't join them because I wanted to venture onto the trails that took you through the Chihuahuan Desert sections and on to the Cactus and Succulent Garden.

I think they called this Dover's Wool Shed, but I don't know why.

This tree was remarkable for the amount of shade it cast, while appreciating that feature I spotted it's hijacker...

Now I'm obsessed with the idea of growing an Opuntia in one of my trees.

The Smith Building, which I learned was the original visitors center.

Since the garden was practically deserted on the day we visited (the locals know not to visit in the June heat?) I was afraid I wouldn't be able to get inside and check out the plants in the greenhouse.

Thankfully that wasn't a problem.

Ariocarpus retusus

Love the Agave macroacantha and its planter.

Unfortunately I wasn't able to gain entrance to the lath house.

Back outside I wandered around the children's garden for a bit.

But wasn't really sure where it ended and the rest of the garden began.

I wish I would have been able to find a name for this interesting fellow. I thought it was Stetsonia coryne (aka toothpick cactus) but that doesn't look right when I check the photos on Google images.

Lizards move so fast, I always feel victorious when I manage to get one in a photo.

Agave ocahui

That's quite the Saguaro skeleton! Next Friday we'll walk the Chihuahuan Desert trail.

Weather Diary, Dec 13: Hi 56, Low 43/ Precip 0

All material © 2009-2018 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.


  1. Arizona in June in a greenhouse... you are a dedicated blogger. No thorn kissing though, and I'm glad for that. The Australian garden feels like you went on a walkabout, and I half expect a few sheep in the Wool Shed.
    I really loved the striking red-orange blooms on the cacti.

    1. You know I don't recall it being that much hotter in the greenhouse.

  2. I wondered why they need a greenhouse in a desert... it must have been so hot in there... was it for exotic species that can't tolerate freezing?

    1. Yes I think that's it, since I'm sure they do get some cold snaps there.

  3. Don't you like to picture the expressions on pioneer's faces when they encountered this landscape. Of course, we are lucky it's been preserved. I remember at Joshua Tree hearing how the early settlers hated that landscape and wanted to obliterate it. Not an easy thing to do . . .

    1. The desert landscape definitely polarizes people. My parents are not fans, they can't wait to get back to the green of Washington.

  4. There's an Opuntia growing in the crook of a tree at my local botanic garden too. It always makes me smile and the kids get a real kick out of it on our tours (second only to strangler fig and its palm "victim). Unfortunately, the Opuntia isn't readily visible when the tree's leafed out and blooming.

    1. I remember being quite surprised to see an Opuntia growing on a palm in Tucson, they do get around!

  5. (Daisy Debs is sneaking away from the Christmas preprations .....) This is my favourite post of the whole year ! Oh my goodness...that greenhouse !!!
    Have a great Christmas :)


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