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Nov 21, 2015 8:52 PM CST
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Name: Carol H. Sandt
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Annuals Roses Peonies Region: Pennsylvania Region: Mid-Atlantic Hostas
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I was born in Phoenix but not been back for many years and had never seen the Desert Botanical Garden (DBG). I was in Phoenix for a conference recently and visited DBG before the meeting began.

One of my hobbies is to learn and use the public transportation system in cities that I visit, so I took the bus from my city center hotel (bus route 3 east along Van Buren Street to the Zoo and bus route 56 north from the zoo to the botanical garden). Phoenix's public transportation system is easy and excellent! A one-day pass costs $2 for folks aged 65 and up or $4 for younger folks.

DBG has an entry fee, and it participates in the American Horticultural Society's reciprocal admissions program. Volunteer tour guides are available, and I explored the garden with Bill Cope as tour leader. Bill's emphasis is on plant adaptations. Each tour is different because the guides emphasize different aspects of the garden.

Bill told us that Parkinsonia microphylla (Palo Verde tree) has very small leaves, which adapts this tree to minimize water loss through transpiration. Photosynthesis takes place not only in the tiny leaves, but also in the green bark of the branches and trunk.

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I have been smitten with Agave, especially the blue Agave (century plant) since seeing one at Chanticleer Garden in Wayne, Pennsylvania, where it spent the summer but not the winter outside in the garden. At DBG multiple species of Agave flourish year-round outside.

Unlabeled blue Agave (Blue Agave is used to make tequila.)
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Agave stricta (Hedgehog Agave)

Agave macroacantha (Black-Spined Agave)

Agave desmettiana (Smooth Agave)
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We saw Giant Cardon Cactus:
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and Saguaro Cactus:
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and Totem Pole Cactus:
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and Santa Rita Prickly Pear:
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and an intriguing but unlabeled cactus-like plant:
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Two mountains adjoin DBG, one with vegetation and one without:
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DBG hosts many student tours and has a special grove for students to meet with their tour leader:

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DBG is a must-see garden if you are in Phoenix.
Last edited by csandt Nov 22, 2015 4:33 PM Icon for preview
Nov 21, 2015 9:11 PM CST
central Illinois
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Plant Identifier Garden Ideas: Level 2
Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Avid Green Pages Reviewer Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Photo Contest Winner: 2017
Your tour brought back some memories...I lived there for a while 25 years ago.
Nothing that's been done can ever be changed.
Jan 18, 2016 10:37 PM CST
Name: Karen
New Mexico (Zone 8a)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Region: Ukraine Cactus and Succulents Plant Identifier Plays in the sandbox
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Thanks for the great article on the Desert Botanical Garden! We love it there, and go often during the cooler months. There is always something new to see, and things change rapidly. They are constantly adding new things and building new areas. Besides the plants, their hardscaping is fantastic. It now includes wonderful benches, fountains, sculptures, mosaics and more.They even have a wonderful Chihuly glass piece near the entrance. They had a months long Chihuly exhibition a few years ago. Here are a few pics from that.

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Handcrafted Coastal Inspired Art SeaMosaics!
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