Don't be fooled. Inside this thin coating of sweetness is a fiery core of total insanity.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A Trip to the Desert

For our 25th wedding anniversary, in October 2006, Nigel and I went to Las Vegas -- or "Lost Wages" as my father used to call it. I spent several days sitting around, reading, drinking lattes and other frozen drinks, or sitting by the pool while Nigel played blackjack or poker. In the evening we ate or went to a show.

A few days into the vacation, we rented a car and went to the Ethel M Chocolates Botanical Cactus Garden, where I encountered something that, at the time, I barely considered a garden. It was full of Cacti and Agaves (tagged as Century Plant), which I had never heard of before. I probably thought they were some strange variant of Yuccas. We were living in Massachusetts then, and no one grew Agaves there. You either had a vegetable garden, or a cottage garden, or a mixed perennial garden. I wish now that I'd had a better appreciation for what I was seeing. I might have taken better, and more, pictures.

Now that I'm starting to get a handle on Agaves, I'm really looking forward to buying and seeing more of them in others' gardens, like the Ruth Bancroft Garden in San Francisco, which we'll be visiting on the Garden Bloggers Fling (check out the preliminary Fling itinerary here). I haven't given up on them, but they are a challenge. Actually, I think I haven't given up on them BECAUSE they area  challenge. But I fear when I cut back those mushy arms on mine that they will look like crap. I do still have two that have minimal damage -- a large J.C. Raulston and a Whale's Tongue.

Anyway, I thought I'd share with you the pictures that I took on our Vegas vacation.

The little tag says "Desert Milkweed."

These kind of look like an alien mother and child, dancing.

Rabbit Ears

Afterward, we drove out to Red Rock Canyon, to see what the desert really looks like. I know my own words can't convey the austere beauty of the place, so I'll be silent.

 I hope you enjoyed going back in time with me!


  1. I did enjoy the time travel. It reminded me of my first encounter with a cactus and succulent garden. It was at the Huntington, and it was a revelation. It never occurred to me to try growing any of that stuff here until I started blogging. Bloggers are such great teachers (and teases.

  2. Thanks for this fun trip to the desert! Some beautiful plants and that BLUE sky is amazing. I didn't really appreciate these plants much before I started reading blogs. I've also tried a few agaves and cacti outside for the first time this winter. Usually I've hauled them in during the winter but thought it would be worth trying.

  3. Fun to look back and see the beginnings of your love for desert plants, you got some great photos! And I'm glad to read you call the desert beautiful!


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  5. Thank you for sharing this with us. I didn't realize that the desert could be so beautiful until we took a road trip to Indiana and went through many differnt areas like this. I have never seen gardens like this before though..they do have their own kind of beauty also. xo

  6. We went to Vegas for our 25th too! We also went to Ethel M's ... what a cool place. Wonderful photos Alison, very nice.


Gardening is a solitary activity. But blogging about it is a social phenomenon! I don't make money from my blog by advertising, or use it to drive customers to a business. If you liked my post, or my writing or photography, or even just one picture or turn of phrase, I'd love to hear from you. That's how I get paid.