May 26, 2010 | Panayoti Kelaidis, Senior Curator & Director of Outreach
Dryland Mesa RIGHT NOW!
You may think you don't like cactus, but it would take a hard-hearted soul to deny that Dryland Mesa at Denver Botanic Gardens wasn't a work of towering garden art. Where else can you find those brilliant reds, blues, oranges and pinks combined so whimsically and well? Right NOW is when the hedgehog cacti in all their variety and glory are glowing, glowing, glowing...
Echinocereus reichenbachii var. albispinus

Sorry: you'll miss this one. It only blooms like that ONE DAY a year, and that day was this past Monday. But it has cousins around the garden that will wait for your visit...provided you come quickly! 

Echinocactus texensis

Where else in Denver will you find a horse crippler like this one blooming? There are idiots around the West who uproot these gorgeous plants, fearing their horses will be crippled by them. They obviously don't have much regard for the intelligence or perspicacity of horses...these cacti once grew abundantly in much of Texas and New Mexico. The microclimate of Dryland Mesa is such that we can succeed with many Chihuahuan and Sonoran treasures here...saving you lots of gas money.

Echinocereus polyacanthus (back), Escobaria orcuttii (front)

The claret cup with red flowers is not our local species, but one from Chihuahua, in Mexico. It grows much taller and has a larger flower as well. I don't know another garden that has this in Colorado (there are several of these on Dryland Mesa, by the way) and the Escobaria in the foreground is a very rare one restricted to the Florida Mountains of southern New Mexico in nature, but thriving here in Denver...

Have you taken your desert vacation yet this year? Saddle that old pony and blaze on down to the ol' botanic garden here. We got a fine new corral (OK,  parking lot) where you can park 'er, and mosey on over to these here prickly poseys for a fine time. At least as good as your last poker game in Deadwood or maybe Tombstone, Arizona. Yeeeeeehaw.


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