Moorten Botanical Garden Junky

This morning I was at Clark’s garden at six thirty to work amidst the monumental cactus and succulents.  It’s his family’s garden started in the 1930s by his parents, pioneers of early Palm Springs.  Now this dense garden is Clark’s alone and my job is to help him propagate, pot and tend the 3000 different species collected there from desert climates around the world. 

Moorten Botanical Garden is a strange place that looks like a Victorian nature museum, a Route 66 road stop and a world class botanical collection all mixed together  It’s this odd combination that feeds my need for a regular dirt fix since moving into town here.  It’s Clark’s extraordinary friendship and my firm dedication to preserving the garden that keeps me going back there.  I will always be a part of this little bit of heaven tucked into the Mesa just south of town, and as a private garden that makes little profit, Clark needs all the help he can get.  This creation of his parents is their legacy which he values above all else.


World’s First Cactarium

Today I spent my hours in “The World’s First Cactarium” where the most unusual specimens are housed.  Among these are living fossils from the Namibian desert, Welwitchia, that have but one or two long leaves that never stops growing.  There are rare pachycauls from Madagascar with trunks that look like naked women. 

Namibian Welwitchia


I water everything and weed out the pernicious kalanchoes that infest the pots and beds.  I knew there was an active humminbird nest in the vine cacti that climb into the roof, and while I water a fledgling rises out of the foliage further down to avoid getting wet.  It is tiny and sits peacefully waiting for me to move on.  Soon it will find its way out to join the whole flock of hummers that are always buzzing the front desk where visitors enter.

Back in the office today I feel renewed by the heat and the dirt and all the plants. I can turn to my computer and spend the day indoors feeling fulfilled.  I frankly can’t imagine my life without these dawn soljourns to the garden that refresh my mind and body.  I am addicted. I’ve become a Moorten Botanical Garden junky.   

Click here to see more pictures and information on the garden: