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Discovering a Desert Oasis: Exploring the Wonders of Moorten Botanical Garden in Palm Springs
Social media and many local/state news networks have been gravitating towards a magical, family-owned garden in Palm Springs, California for years.
Moorten Botanical Garden is a charming, hidden gem in the Mesa neighborhood of south Palm Springs, reminiscent of the past, where time moved slowly, and little birds would flit among the thorns.
The garden is a mature, artfully arranged space with cacti and desert plants. Visitors can walk along the shady dirt paths with hand-lettered signs and decaying desert artifacts.
There's also a famous "cactarium," a small weathered Quonset hut stuffed with weird and rare cactuses. Clark Moorten, the garden's founder's 80-year-old son, greets visitors at the gate and regales them with stories of the garden's creation.
Moorten is a modest garden, but it's one of the ten best places to visit in Palm Springs.
@visit.palmsprings We went out and rounded up some Instagram worthy spots for your next Instagram post! What locations are we missing? Let us know in the comments. 🧡 #visitpalmsprings ♬ Strawberry - Prod. By Rose
The garden is closed Wednesdays, so keep that in mind when planning a visit. Besides Wednesday, that's when you can expect the 10-4 operation.
It's worth noting, however, that during the summer, the hours for this famed garden may be decreased based on the weather.
This botanical garden also offers weddings, photoshoots, and special events, so keep an eye on their website for updates!
Moorten Botanical Garden recently made headlines
Moorten Botanical Garden has always been reported on by local papers and spread around social media. However, more recently, the LA Times ran an article interviewing the current owner, highlighting the very magic of this location.
The garden's creators, Patricia and Chester "Cactus Slim" Moorten were a team with a vision for this garden.
They started landscaping with desert plants in the 1940s and '50s, which was unheard of then. The couple was passionate about all things of nature, which shows in the garden's design.
Slim was born in western Washington and started working for the railroad after he was orphaned at 16. He was a smart man who could quote Greek scholars and work day and night.
Chester Moorten worked in Hollywood and was a friend to the stars
Slim was a character actor who worked in Hollywood movies but had to quit due to tuberculosis. Doctors urged him to enter a sanitarium for treatment, but Slim refused and headed for the desert.
Instead, he moved to Joshua Tree, where he worked at gold mining and started collecting interesting rocks and cactuses. He kept a journal and wrote, "Mining gold and growing cactus is...hard work. Cactus pays better."
Slim eventually went full-time into growing cactuses and opened a small rock and cactus shop in downtown Palm Springs. He met Patricia at a nursery wholesaler's office in Los Angeles.
Patricia was an amateur botanist passionate about the natural world, especially desert plants and rocks. Slim began landscaping jobs for Palm Springs residents, including celebrities like Bob Hope.
This is just a glimpse into Slim's amazing life.
TikTok user @thrivingwithalissa gives us a POV of the garden
@thrivingwithalissa A day at the Moorten Botanical Garden 🪴 🧡 📍Palm Springs, CA #fyp #moortenbotanicalgarden #moortensbotanicalgarden #palmsprings #palmspringscalifornia #thingstodo #thingstodoinpalmsprings #desert #desertplants #desertcactus #agave #cactus #greenhouse #beauty #natural #fun #november #november2022 #family #allages #tortoise #deserttortoise #desertlife #desertlifestyle ♬ Roxanne - Instrumental - Califa Azul
Visiting Moorten Garden is worth the drive
Moorten Botanical Garden is a beautiful and endearing place worth visiting. The garden is a reminder of old Palm Springs and Patricia and Chester "Cactus Slim" Moorten's passion for nature.
The garden is a throwback to when things moved slower and people connected more deeply to the earth. It's a beautiful, peaceful place perfect for a relaxing afternoon.
If someone's in the Palm Springs area, this can be a fun place to get out into the wild, experience one-of-a-kind desert plants, and even step into some history.
It's even more special because the family and their dedicated staff have cared for and managed this garden for decades, making it a great way to support local businesses.
We're sure that Patricia and Chester Moorten would have loved to have you.
Take inspiration from the Moorten family!
Have you been to this garden in Palm Springs? What was it like?
Leave us a comment below!