Califonia Bountiful

Pat's Garden Travels: Succulents, cacti and more

July/August 2020 California Bountiful magazine

California offers a wealth of public gardens to discover. Join our gardening expert Pat Rubin as she travels up and down the state, bringing you the best of her travels to inspire yours.



When the weather gets hot in California, it's time to bring out the tough guys. No one does summer like California. And the plants that fare best under the hot California sun are those that belong in the sun: California and Mediterranean natives, succulents and cacti. Here are two of the many gardens where sun worshippers are on display.

Moorten Botanical Garden
1701 S. Palm Canyon Drive
Palm Springs 92264
760-327-6555
Admission charged

The Moorten Botanical Garden is a cozy garden. On the left as you walk in is a small nursery where you can purchase many of the same plants growing in the garden. There's also a selection of pots and things from local artists.

Hard as it is to leave the shopping area, tear yourself away for a walk in the garden. All paths intersect and seem to lead into one another, so you'll likely run into some of the same people again and again. Everyone is friendly. After all, if they weren't plant lovers, they wouldn't be there! Most plants are labeled, and there's always a helpful employee ready to answer any questions.

The Moorten Botanical Garden is a privately owned arboretum and has been a fixture in Palm Springs since 1938. The garden is dedicated to plants that thrive in the desert, and range in size from ground huggers to giants. The owners estimate the garden contains about 3,000 varieties of desert plants.

Arlington Garden
275 Arlington Drive
Pasadena 91105
626-578-5434
Free admission

The Arlington Garden is a 3-acre botanical garden located on a corner lot in the middle of a Pasadena subdivision. Park on the street and walk right in. According to its website, the land is owned by Caltrans and has been a garden since 2005.

The lower portion is filled with California and Mediterranean natives that attract butterflies, bees and birds. Paths meander throughout the garden and always seem to lead to a place to sit down. The top portion of the garden reminds me of European parks, with lots of trees, gravel walkways and places to relax or watch people.

The garden is pet friendly, so bring the dog, but keep it on a leash.


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