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Exploring the Moorten Botanical Garden – Palm Springs

Re-post from 2015

Jonathan and I spent a cold & rainy New Year’s in Palm Springs this year. Instead of hanging out by the pool, we bundled up and headed out to look at desert plants.

I had heard about the Moorten Botanical Garden for years, but it wasn’t until our last trip out to Palm Springs in October that we found it when we were doing an architectural driving tour with my grandparents. It is only a few blocks west of the Ace Hotel and Pool Club, where we have been hanging out for years.

IMG_1519Started in 1938, many of the 3000 desert plant varieties are large and mature. I think of the Moorten as kind of a scrappy desert cousin to the Huntington rare cactus and succulent garden in Pasadena.

There is a $4 donation requested for entry. They have a nursery when you can buy small cacti and succulents. And they rent out the garden for special events like weddings.

IMG_1484It is staffed by a group of plant loving senior volunteers. I laughingly told Jonathan that I was seeing my future. I predict we retire to Palm Springs someday and that I spend my golden years volunteering at the botanical garden.



Upside down hanging cacti in the cactarium!


Next time you in Palm Springs, save an hour or two to visit the Moorten. And bring home a little cacti to remember your visit!


April 16, 2017
See more: in California, landscape & garden, on the road, plant stars

Hungry for Plants at Flora Grubb Gardens, San Francisco


 The often Instagrammed chair wall at Flora Grubb.

Jonathan & I popped into Flora Grubb Gardens last week when we were in San Francisco. If you are into plants/gardens this is a place of lust & pilgrimage. I’ve been wanting to go there forever. It’s in a light industrial section in Bay View, which is east of the Mission district. They have a beautifully curated nursery and all the coolest outdoor accessories: pots, chairs, arbors, green walls, heated outdoor couches, fire pits, etc. It’s like Epcot and Sunset Magazine had a baby.


I loved the unapologetic shaggy-ness of this Woolly Pocket green wall. Many of you know that I use to be the in-house designer for Woolly Pocket, so I have designed my fair share of green walls. I didn’t do this one, but I really liked the palette. They did a great job of hiding the pockets, so you don’t see the structure.

Pro tip: You can recreate this look with bromeliads, phormium, pothos, philodendrons, grasses and fish hook senecio. This sized wall can be made with (2) 4 – packs of pockets, I recommend using the Chocolate colored pockets since they disappear best and looks like soil.



We have one of these aloe trees in my side yard. Ours is only about 4′ tall so far. This one was more like 8-9′ so it was like looking in to the future.


Flora Grubb really gets color.  They stock all their outdoor accessories in a rainbow of colors.


Love these stunning burnt orange pots.P1030921A giant Furcraea macdouglii – I was excited to see this big guy. We have one growing in our front yard in Echo Park. It’s still pretty small but it will eventually turn into a tree like this. Hopefully it takes 50 years to get this big.


Japanese maple saplings and a baby sago palm.

P1030948They had lots of experiments with succulents on display. I like this large green wall made up of a mosaic of tiny cuttings. I can imagine something like it hanging on the side of  our shed. They also had hearts and wreath sized alphabet letters that you can plant with succulents that looked like great gifts for Mother’s Day.


April 13, 2015
See more: BREAKurban, in California, landscape & garden, on the road, plant stars, test garden, week in pictures

Photos from my Visit to Roberto Burle Marx’s Estate in Brazil



Back in fall 2009 Jonathan and I went to South America for a month. While we were in Brazil we went to visit the Sitio Roberto Burle Marx about an hour outside of Rio de Janeiro. Roberto Burle Marx is one of the greats of landscape architecture, known for creating bold, colorful landscapes using the native plants of South America. He is one of my favorite designers and I always find inspiration looking at his work. The large estate served as his home, studio, test garden and plant nursery. The tours of the estate were only in Portuguese so we couldn’t really understand anything they said, but the place really speaks for itself. Here are a few of the 500+ photos I took:


















If you’re ever in Rio, go visit!



November 11, 2013 0
See more: BREAKurban, buildings & places, diary, landscape & garden, on the road, plant stars, South America, textiles & patterns, time travel

Hot Links: 7.4.13

In Miami Beach this week and there are Bromiliads everywhere

I’m still on the road in Florida (you can follow along on Instagram). We had an amazing time in Miami Beach last weekend (more photos soon!) and now we are out in the Keys soaking up the sun. Hope everyone is having a great 4th of July! Drive safe!

July 4, 2013 0
See more: hot links, plant stars

Hot Links: 6.27.13

popular in Florida, Hibiscus
a tropical shrub/small tree that come in many colors
hibiscus is great in cold beverages – like hibiscus lemon-aid

I’m on the road in Florida this week, hanging out with nerds, reading about the future and looking at plants. Next stop: Miami! More photos soon…

What topics do you want me to write more about? Tweet me @pattyhume

June 27, 2013 0
See more: hot links, plant stars