The cactus might be one of the most under celebrated plants. But a visit to the Moorten Botanical Garden and Cactarium in Palm Springs, California will give you a new appreciation for this desert succulent. First established in 1938, this cactus paradise is a favorite among locals and visitors alike – for anyone who values the variety of plant life found only in the desert.
What exactly is a Cactarium? Even if it is a made-up word, it brings to mind a protected habitat where cacti can thrive.
When Chester “Cactus Slim” Moorten retired from playing in the silent films of the Keystone Kops, he and his wife Patricia moved out west to make a home in Palm Springs. Patricia was a biologist, and together they found beauty and collected plants in the harsh deserts throughout the southwestern United States, Mexico, and even as far south as Guatemala.
The Moortens eventually designed this desert botanical garden and invited others to come and enjoy it with them. Their celebrity friends recognized their expertise, too.
“Slim and Patricia Moorten designed and installed landscapes for Frank Sinatra and were friends of Walt Disney at his Palm Springs Smoke Tree Ranch. They consulted Disney to help design the western theme of Frontierland at his new amusement park which later became Disneyland.”
Today, the Moortens’ son Clark preserves the garden as the curator. He and the other garden docents keep the cacti and tortoise happy, while giving free tours and sharing expert knowledge.
The garden design is intimate and secluded, making it an ideal location for a beautiful desert wedding (they’ve hosted over 1,200 weddings). The garden today has desert plants from different regions of the world: North America, South America, and South Africa. While you’re in Palm Springs, you’ll want to make some time to see the cacti, aloes, agaves, bombax, and mirabilis. Come and discover the beauty of the desert!
Where to Stay
Gorgeous mountain views and nearly year-round sunny weather make Palm Springs, California, a veritable golfing paradise. Stay at Cimarron Golf Resort and you’ll be just steps away from two of the best courses in Palm Springs. Spend a few hours on the golf course and return to the resort, where you can relax in the on-site swimming pool and hot tub or unwind in your comfortable home away from home.