Steve & I love Palm Springs. So much that we are building a home there, so we are always looking for garden design ideas every time we visit. If you plan on visiting Palm Springs, there is a desert botanical garden there that is totally spectacular called Moorten Botanical Garden. We’ve been a couple times now and you notice something new every time. And their famous Cactarium can’t be missed (thanks to instagram)!



Moorten Botanical Garden – History

The Moorten Botanical Garden was established in 1939 by Patricia and Chester “Cactus Slim” Moorten. It is run today by their son, Clark Moorten, who is a cactus expert extraordinaire. We hear that back in the day, Slim and Patricia Moorten even designed and installed landscapes for Frank Sinatra and were friends of Walt Disney at his Palm Springs Smoke Tree Ranch! This is a one of kind garden and something that should not be missed if you are visiting the area. The family estate and garden area is so well known and appreciated that is is used for everything from engagements to high fashion shoots. They even have weddings there!


Our Visit

Steve and I visited in the hottest month of the year, which in Palm Springs is supposed to be “Slow Season”.  But it was still packed on an afternoon that was 110 degrees! Here is some highlights of our visit.

As you start down the wonderful pathway, you’re presented right away with some pretty amazing and tall cactus. You can see Kathy here standing in amazement and just taking it all in!


Moorten Botanical Garden boasts around 3,000 examples of desert cacti and other desert plants grouped by geographical regions.


This Blue Agave was almost as tall as me! Guess we should of had one of us stand in the photo so you could really see how large these were. They had several stunning varieties of agave there at Moortens.


Love this pic showing all the contrasting cactus and agave with all their different shapes and textures.


“Wait, let me get a photo of this” became a sentence repeated over and over during our visit!


A wonderful display of barrel cactus!

Grow a Cactus Garden- Barrel Cactus


The Famous Moorten Cactarium

Search #cactarium on Instagram and you will see hundreds and hundreds of pics shot in this beautiful greenhouse botanical cactus garden! This little indoor cactus haven is magical. You get in there and you don’t want to leave! Moorten’s cozy little cactus greenhouse is known nation wide and maybe even worldwide. Definitely a must see when visiting Palm Springs.


Here’s Kathy stepping into the Cactarium.


Depending on how crowded it is, sometimes you have to wait a bit for your turn. If you are lucky enough to be there when nobody else is waiting, take you time. There is so much to see and take in!

We really enjoyed our visit to Moorten Botanical Garden and we know you will too. For more information and hours of operation, go to Moorten Botanical Garden’s website for more details. As of this writing, cost for an adult was a respectable $5.

If you want to read more about the gardening ideas you can learn from Palm Springs from our previous trips, read about our Desert Garden Nursery visit or our Lessons in Desert Gardening! (Fun Fact: Both of these posts have a romantic ending!) Also, we can strongly recommend a book called “Desert Gardens of Steve Martino“. Steve is an outstanding designer who specializes in desert & cactus gardens and his book is full of inspiring photographs of xeriscaping and amazing garden design.

Another desert botanical garden in the Palm Springs area you can’t miss is The Living Desert Zoo & Gardens. Not only do they have amazing and varied gardens, they also have a full zoo with giraffes, wolves, cheetahs… Yep, the real deal, in the desert! A must on your Places to Visit in Palm Springs List!

We hope we inspired you with this post and hope you will get to visit the Moorten Botanical Garden! We think you will also love our posts on 10 Gardens to Visit Before You Die , Alternatives to Grass : Front Yard Landscaping and 10 No Fail Perennials for Low Water Gardens!

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