Saguaro trio / Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix
A recent cactus fiend
Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix / Ottosen Entry Garden
The Ottosen Entry Garden, opened in 2009, features four small gardens with a vista of red sandstone formations that make Papago Park one of the highlights of Phoenix.
Opuntia species / Timberline Gardens, Arvada, Colorado
cactusmandan, this is one you’d love, right? Owner Kelly Grummons received this from a friend, and wasn’t exactly sure on the proper ID. He doesn’t have it listed on his site, but I’ll be asking him for a cutting of this one for sure!
Once the Opuntia reach gallon size, they are transported to these long rectangular beds across the street from the main commercial side of the Timberline Gardens greenhouses.
First, just take in the beauty of so many prickly pear and cholla in one place. Ok, now, do you see those plastic pallets in the background? It turns out, those cottonwood trees past the field behind them are a real nuisance (as they are most places), so every fall they must choose the right time as summer temperatures begin to dissipate and the cottonwood leaves begin to fall. They can even cover the plastic pallets with cloth with pallets preserving air flow around the plants. Once the leaves have fallen, they remove the coverings and let winter takes its course. Pretty low tech and effective strategy.
After touring me through his specialty prickly pears, Kelly Grummons took me across the street to view some other growing areas. Here are a few more shots of the Opuntia mother plants from which Timberline Gardens and www.coldhardycactus.com collect their cuttings.
Opuntia Eli’s Purple Cholla / Timberline Gardens
This one is a nice shade of deep green and forms dense clumps. This species was found by Timberline Gardens’ own John Navant. As the name suggests, it has purple blooms.
As I mentioned previously, much of the magic at Timberline Gardens occurs “behind-the-scenes”. This is where you find all of the parent plants for the prickly pear and cholla cuttings sold both on the retail garden center side as well as online. Here are just a few of the gardens that I will be highlighting in more detail this week.
Opuntia selections / Timbeline Gardens in Arvada, Colorado
It is surprisingly fascinating to see such a variety of unique prickly pear hybrids in such a small space - and shocking in retrospect, having seen the parent plants from which these all come (and the amount of space they take up).
Our last stop at the Denver Botanic Gardens was the Green Roof - the first of it’s kind in Denver. Opening in 2007, it is a test due to the fact that most green roofs are installed in climates with much higher humidity. It features a variety of cactus and succulent species, including agave, prickly pear, and Hesperaloes, along with wildflowers (look at all that standing cypress).