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
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.