BEST PLACE TO BUY A DESERT PLANT Phoenix 2005 - Desert Gardens Nursery
Granted, it's tough to top Desert Botanical Garden's annual spring and fall plant sales for snagging rare cactuses and euphorbia, but where do you find 'em the other 50 weeks of the year? We go to Desert Gardens Nursery, on Cave Creek Road just north of the 101. This blooming oasis, lovingly tended by a helpful and personable man named Chris Brecht, carries the sort of scarce succulents that are usually available only to wholesalers and landscape architects. In addition to healthy specimens of Sonoran staples like saguaros, totem poles, and Mexican fence posts, Desert Gardens stocks harder-to-find stuff like cardons (the Mexican cousin of the saguaro), the fat and sassy nasty boy named Trichocereus terscheckii (a.k.a. the Argentine saguaro), Joshua trees, Mexican White Thorns, Argentine Toothpicks, and Aloe vanbelini (which resembles something out of an H.R. Giger nightmare). On a recent visit, we also marveled at an eight-foot-tall Blue Monstrosus, humongous agaves and aloes such as Kalanchoe beharensis, and one of the largest barrel cactuses we've seen in our entire cactus-loving lives. And if Chris doesn't have something on hand -- like, say, a Hildewintera aureispina or a Queen of the Night -- he can probably get you one.