Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Weekend Travels: Las Vegas and Palm Springs

The husband had a work conference in Las Vegas at the end of last week and I tagged along, and after he was done on Friday, we drove down to Palm Springs for the weekend. In Las Vegas, I escaped the usual tourist attractions for a bit to visit the small botanical garden at the Springs Preserve. The landscaping is very much geared towards children and education - and there were exuberant Halloween decorations everywhere - but there were many beautiful plants, some common and some rare, or at least rare enough where I have been that I had never seen them before.

A detail of a massive chaste tree (Vitex agnus-castus)

 Fruiting nopal prickly pear (Opuntia ficus-indica)

Ripening pistachios (Pistacia vera) on the tree

An unseasonal bloom on Bignonia capreolata 'Tangerine Beauty'

 A bright orange Tecoma

In Palm Springs, the plant- and garden-related sights were altogether more abundant, beginning with the charming grounds of our hotel, The Parker Palm Springs:
Palms, bougainvilleas, and bright blue sky

White roses in the desert

The hotel's distinctive entrance

Outside of the town proper, we also saw some beautiful natural - and surprisingly lush - vegetation at Andreas Canyon in the Indian Canyons.

California fan palms (Washingtonia filifera) against the rocks

Oasis canopy

A stream in the desert

Back in town, we visited the Sunnylands Center and Gardens, which offer some impressive and very elegant examples of landscaping with desert plants:

The entrance to the Sunnylands Center

Rows and rows of Aloe vera set against minimalist architecture

An army of golden barrel cacti (Echinocactus grusonii) in a grove of palo verde (Parkinsonia florida)

Fields of agave

A baby monarch caterpillar (Danaus plexippus) munching on the flowers of a rush or desert milkweed (Asclepias subulata)

Unfortunately we were not able to tour the actual estate at Sunnylands, as that would have required ordering tickets well in advance when we did not even know yet that we were going to go to Palm Springs. Perhaps we will have a chance to see it on a future visit.


  1. What a fun trip! My husband and I occasionally talk about visiting Las Vegas for a short trip. I had never heard of the Springs Preserve, but now I'll be keeping it in mind.

    1. The State Museum is also part of the complex, I just did not have enough time to explore it. Seeing that as well probably also makes the rather steep entrance fee more worth it.


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