Last weekend I took a visit to North Carolina's desert.A desert in North Carolina? you might ask and with good reason. There is only one small desert in North Carolina that I know of, and that is the Sonora Desert at the fabulous North Carolina Zoo.
The Sonora Desert is a glass-domed exhibit that creates an arid environment and houses plants and animals that are native to the Sonoran Desert located in Arizona, southeastern California, and Baja California. Outside the dome is a desert garden. There are many desert plants that do well in the North Carolina heat if given good drainage.
|desert garden at the NC zoo|
|A planting of Mexican sage, yucca, and prickly pear cactus at the NC zoo|
A close up on its thorny stalks:
Now there's some texture for your desert garden! With rainfall, the occotillo does leaf out and produce clusters of reddish orange flowers at the ends of its stalks that attract bees and hummingbirds. I sure wouldn't want to have to weed around it, though!
I am impressed with people who are able to design beautiful desert gardens, as such spiky textures are hard for me to work with (and do not go so well with my English cottage look that I am going for.) Yucca is actually one of the most hated weeds in my garden, as it is so very tenacious and very unpleasant to step on! It just goes to show you, in the right setting just about any plant has its beauty.