Monday, April 30, 2012

Desert Gardens Nursery, Phoenix, AZ...

Would you be surprised to hear I‘ve still got photos to share from our visit to the Desert Southwest last Fall? I do! Three or four posts worth depending on how I do it. Today we’ll be visiting Desert Gardens Nursery in Phoenix. This was our first stop back in Phoenix as we wrapped up two weeks of traveling a big loop through Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah. The funny thing…returning to Phoenix was like returning home. Everywhere we’d been was so dry. Our skin was cracking, it was painful to breath. Comparatively Phoenix felt like the Pacific Northwest, not the desert. So it was with this return to the lush moist plant oasis (exactly how you would describe the Sonoran Desert right?) that I visited Desert Gardens Nursery.
As I wandered I received a warning that everything good was at “the Woman’s Show” going on downtown. I didn’t know if I should be excited that something called “the Woman’s Show” was hip enough to include cool plants, or bummed that I was missing out on potentially amazing plants.
This section seemed to be a hospital of some sort.
Decapitated Aloes…
Babies…
And a poor Yucca rostrata which had seen much better days.
This mess was just plain sad (and yikes! creepy photographer hands too....).

I do love Oleander…
And big Agaves!

These guys were signed as Agave guiengola ‘whale tongue’…beautiful right? But not the ‘whales tonque’ I know, Agave ovatifolia. Common names can cause confusion…
More large Agaves…
And an Aloe?
Agave americana, simply labeled “Century Plant”...love the powdery blue.

It’s an Agave palm!

Agave sisalana ‘variegated’
Here’s where I’m glad it took me so long to get to these images! This Agave was signed as Agave salmiana ferox ($119 if you're shopping) and to me it looks very much like the Agaves I’ve been wondering about here in Portland…don’t ya think?

Moving on…
Can you imagine buying an Opuntia in a crate, like a tree? Wow…
And I’ll leave you with this…Petunias and Marigolds. It’s not all spiky exotics in the desert…

22 comments:

  1. Sounds like the monsoon season left some lingering moisture...or you were near lawns? Yes, boxed tree and larger plants a common practice in the SW / California...dig them up, box them up, root them in, and sell / plant. Nice place you visited...great selection of plants, and it looks like a worthy stop next trip over there.

    That 7th shot under the fountain is such a nice color gradation, it would be worth exploring which plants would offer a similar effect in the high deserts w/ some winter.

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    1. There was a thundershower one of the nights we were in Phoenix, but not until a few days after our arrival. I thought perhaps it was due to a higher level of moisture in the air from irrigation being more prevalent there?

      Boxed trees are fairly common here too, it just seems so dangerous to move an Opunita of that size. Besides the opportunity to poke an eye out, its segmented growth seems very susceptible to breakage. The photo you like is of Euphorbia tirucalli (Sticks on Fire), I love it too and bought a couple to treat as annuals this year. as it hasn't overwintered well for me in the past..

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  2. That nursery looks so nice on a day like today. (Rain, Rain Go away!)

    I love the hints of blue throughout the pictures too.

    As for the crated Opuntia, I think it's cute and of course I already want to hang things on it.

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    1. Agreed! My desert pictures have provided a much needed blue sky and sun reprieve as I edit them during our gloomy winter.

      Oh that Opuntia would make a fabulous Christmas tree!

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  3. I wonder if gardeners in Phoenix (and the desert SW in general) think a nursery like this one is special? Or are there so many cactus and succulent nurseries that people become blasé? Needless to say *I* think it's a pretty darn special place :-).

    That "whale tongue agave" is indeed Agave guiengola. I had the variegated form once, Creme Brulee, and it didn't make it through its first winter. Not hardy at all. Too bad because it's a unique looking species.

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    1. I've seen 'Creme Brulee' before, very pretty!

      It's a good question, what the locals deem "special" that's part of why I took the photo of the Petunia and Marigolds at the end, in some places plants like that seemed to be better regarded than the ones I was excited about.

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  4. I don't think I could ever get bored of your nursery going adventures. Especially where sun, agaves, aloes, and "agave palms" are concerned. I think I would be weak at the knees if I visited a nursery with that many agaves. It looks like a splendid place. The yucca rostrata massacre is really a tragedy though.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed! And while the Agave salmiana ferox was expensive there were many other sizable ones that were bargains. If we had been driving back our car would have been full.

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  5. Don't know about "The Woman's Show", but the Danger Woman's Show was spectacular.

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    1. Glad I could set you up for that one!

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  6. Nice nursery, Loree. I, too, like oleander. I know it's a "freeway plant" in SoCal, but I still love those gray-green leaves. Your picture of the A. americana nicely shows my favorite aspect of them - the beautifully textured impressions that the outside leaves have made on the inside leaves as they formed. The opuntia in a crate makes sense, but what I'd really like to see is how they'd actually move it without inflicting injury on either the plant or the movers...now that's some danger gardening!

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    1. Exactly!I hope everyone involved is wearing eye protection.

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  7. Some really nice plants here, and beautiful shots as well! How exactly would they deliver and plant an Opuntia of that size? Crazy! The last photo though... blech. Petunias just aren't my thing. At all.

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    1. I think it involves a lot of big machinery and a lot of money. No other way to do it.

      Mine either (Petunias, or Marigolds)...which is why I shot that photo.

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  8. incredible plants! very nice!

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  9. That's so funny...my sister lived in Phoenix for a few years and mentioned that the "dry heat" was almost a thing of the past due to all the irrigated crops in the last few years. It's hard to believe, for sure! I agree, the powdery blue Agaves are my faves...such amazing color...especially with the spine imprints.

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    1. There were a couple of times I saw sprinklers going on lawns in the middle of the day (in full hot sun), and a river flowing down the street from the run-off.

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  10. I'll bet you were tempted to pick up that waif. So, did you. You need to schedule a trip to the Wallace Desert Garden next time you are there. It is a bit pricey but really worth it. My daughter- in -law and I had a wonderful private tour. I did a posting on it a couple of years back.

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    1. Actually the thought didn't even cross my mind (so that would be a no). Thanks for the tip on the Wallace Garden! I hadn't heard of it before...and it's very close to my brother's house. I'll plan to visit next time we're there!

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  11. Hi Loree, not surprised that you still have photos left unshared from your previous trip. Sometimes you get to visit a succession of plant-y destinations that you have loads to share, only sort out a few then the rest gets delayed as you go back to your daily routines at home.

    They have so many tempting xerophytes there! I do like the metal agaves (or are they Yuccas?) and would make a lovely garden accessory. I had to re read your caption on that poor thing, I thought it was a tree fern trunk before only to see it was a Yucca rostrata! Fab photos as always :)

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    1. I'm glad you guys understand!

      Your guess is as good as mine on whether those metal plants are Agaves or Yucca, and I too liked them. I wouldn't have to worry at all about our weather killing them off!

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