at the southern end of Palm Canyon Drive, the Moorten Botanical
Gardens and Cactarium is a favorite Palm Springs attraction and
the enduring legacy of Patricia and Chester "Cactus Slim" Moorten.
Both shared a love of the Desert and its beauty, plants and wildlife.
Nicknamed Slim for his tall lanky form and work as a contortionist,
Moorten was one of the original Keystone Cops and became the stand-in
for Howard Hughes. Poor health led him to Palm Springs in the 1930s
with his young wife Patricia, a biologist with a special interest
in botany. Together they explored the surrounding area collecting
desert plants and in 1938 created an arboretum.
The Moorten Botanical Gardens now boasts 3,000 examples of desert
cacti and other desert plants grouped by geographic regions: Arizona,
Baja California, California, Colorado, the Mojave desert, the Sonora
desert, South Africa, arid South America, and Texas. Outdoor collections
include agaves, bombax, crested Cereus, cardon and boojum trees,
arborescent "candelabra" Euphorbia, a two-story Pachypodium, thorned
Caesalpinia and Bursera, and aloes of southern Africa and Madagascar.
In the "Cactarium" greenhouse are cacti and succulents, with caudiciform
species exhibiting thickened root crowns, many species of Asclepiads,
Aztecia, Gymnocalyciums, Alstromeria, Euphorbia, and Ferocactus,
plus two Welwitzia mirabilis from Namibian deserts.
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.
The Moortens were also well traveled and took their only son Clark
for trips down Baja California and into Mexico collecting plants
as far south as Guatemala.
Today, Clark Moorten (right) is the curator of the Moorten Botanical
Gardens and widely acknowledged as an expert on succulent plants
in America. Clark tends the garden and propagates many of its plants
for sale and is there to greet visitors almost every day.
Note: Moorten Botanical Gardens may be rented for weddings
and parties. Please call or e-mail us for price quote and information!