Exotic Gardening with Rare and Strange Plants

The days are getting shorter, the weather wetter and like it or not, winter – IS – coming. Nothing makes you miss a summer vacation to a hot cactus wonderland like a couple weeks of good old fashioned British Columbia rain and gray. Let’s take a moment to forget the wet boots and mud puddles and reminisce of warmer days.

Add this one to your bucket list if you have a fascination in exotic plants, The Huntington Botanical Gardens is truly a national landmark. Famous for it’s large amassment of established rare flora, the garden has one of the finest collections of outdoor cacti in the world. Beyond succulents, the property also has many other incredible plant collections organized into over a dozen specialized gardens. Wander through a lush bamboo forest into a dry Australian prairie, up through a Camellia forest and across a bridge to the Japanese Gardens. Whether you’d like to visit a cloud forest in a glasshouse, indoor bog or art museum, anyone with good taste will find satisfaction in a trip to this awe inspiring location.

To start off I’ll share some of the photos I took in the succulent gardens. I’ve never seen anything quite like it in my entire life.


Upon entering you’re greeted by agaves and aloe trees.


Large Agave attenuata in a sea of Aeoniums


In Canada we grow our aloes in terracotta pots, here they grow as big as trees.


This euphorbia was well over 15 feet tall.


A large Pachypodium (madagascar palm) in flower.


While my Cyphostemma juttae grows painfully slow, this one looks better than ever. I love fat plants.


Speaking of fat plants, Tylecodon paniculatus.


More aloes that rival small trees.


Large euphorbia.


A favorite of many caudiciform collectors, one of the largest Dioscorea elephantipes in cultivation.


Gnarly caudex.


A twisted labyrinth of cacti and succulents.


The geometric shapes of euphorbia never cease to amaze.


I was happy to have encountered this clump of Haworthia forming these incredible emerald hills.


It looks as though these notocactus leninghausii are looking at someone. Is it something I said?


I’ve never seen so many specimen worthy succulents all packed into on location. This shot reminds of me a Richard Scarry picture.


A rather charming clump of a personal favorite, Parodia magnifica.


Oreocereus celsianus.


Mammillaria geminispina


Impressive clumps of Echinocereus grusonii were abundant throughout the garden.


Although not exactly rare in cultivation, the size of these clumps is certainly impressive.


Need I say more?


Mammillaria compressa looks good on it’s own.


..but looks better in mass.


This one looks well defended.


Don’t touch.


There were also abundant large specimen agave in all shapes and sizes.


Lovely spiky rosettes.


An oldgrowth Queen Victoria Agave.


Please note the large agave bloom spike center stage.


They just grow bigger down here.


Field of echeveria


Aeonium cristate


Aeoniums


A towering yucca tree in bloom under the hot Californian sun.


Knobby Cactus. (ID PLEASE)


Fresh from Mars, they’ve landed.


Speaking of knobby cacti check out this impressive Lophocereus schottii var. monstrose.

…And now for some flowers


Stapelia gigantea in bloom, mind the odor and take it from me, do not get down on your knees and take a big whiff. You might want to eject your lunch, they don’t call it a carrion flower for nothing.


Aloe blooms.

Whew. Are you’re legs sore? Hearts warmed? Heat Stroked and Sun Burnt? No… Oh wait, we’re still in Canada aren’t we.

Theres no place like good old wet home.

Thanks for joining me on this tour, and thank you Huntington Gardens for preserving such an incredible destination. Stay tuned for more photos of other parts of the Huntington Gardens.

 

5 Responses to The Huntington Botanical Gardens: Cactus collection

  • ben says:

    the knobby one might be a cereus peruvianus cv monstrose …. i might be wrong not sure great pics …..be safe

  • I don’t know where to start with this one. So many wonders that look utterly foreign to the flora that grow in my part of the world.

    I’ve been meaning to restrict the colours in my raised beds to the glaucous and coral shades of those aloes in your final picture. Maybe next year i’ll finally be strict about that. For the rest, I can just watch and wonder.

    Oh and i’ve never seen tylecodon before. Who’d have known there was something in the world that looked exactly like a tree made of potatoes?

  • Hoov says:

    Were you there in summer? We never go in summer because it’s super hot there! Great photos–it is always wonderful to see the Huntington’s Desert Garden. Amazing place.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Mr Nat. Gardener, Plant Nerd
Tips and tales about gardening in one of the most mild climates in Canada. Specializing in rare and strange plants from far out destinations, this is the story of an obsessed young gardener in Victoria B.C. Let's create more tropical gardens in the garden city on the southern tip of Vancouver Island.
Social Media:

Be My Fan On Facebook



Follow Me On
Twitter




Subscribe to My
RSS Feed


Enjoy what you've read? Proceeds go to raising seedlings
Tip Jar