The Arid Garden

When our Tropical House poly carbonate material failed, we timidly put a few of the plants outside as they would not have survived the lower light levels inside. And so began another chapter at VBG- the one about pushing the boundaries of half-hardy sub-tropical plants.

By Ventnor Botanic Garden

CactiVentnor Botanic Garden

Arid Garden
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Curator of Ventnor Botanic Garden, Chris Kidd introduces the garden.

To recreate a desert ecology we built rock terraces with scree areas. Much of the planting is experimental and on the limits of what even the Ventnor microclimate will allow.

OpuntiaVentnor Botanic Garden

Factors of hardiness beyond temperature have been reckoned with by planting on sharp, rocky substrates to reduce winter damp. Many plants usually only seen in a dry collection under glass, flower freely out of doors such as prickly pear cacti, Agave spp., Aloe spp. and Puya.

Puya PlantVentnor Botanic Garden

Many of these so-called drought tolerant succulents carry mean spikes instead of leaves or in the case of our famous carnivorous Puya to catch animals in their inward facing spines.

Puya Close UpVentnor Botanic Garden

Arid GardenVentnor Botanic Garden

We then added the Washingtonia palms spaced at decreasing widths apart on either side of the path to create the illusion of depth and scale. When we had finished Prince Charles came to take a look and open the Arid Garden on 17 July 2009.

Aloe PolyVentnor Botanic Garden

Aloe polyphylla has a circular nesting leaf structure, described in mathematics as a Fibonacci sequence or golden spiral. The specialised leaf pattern is the most efficient at holding water and stopping evaporation in the hot desert sun.

Go beyond the garden

See a natural arid landscape for yourself

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