The Stanford Gardens Part 2: The Cactus Garden

On the Stanford campus, near the medical center is something called the Arizona Garden, commonly known as “the cactus garden.”

It’s a small circle of land that has been planted up exclusively with cacti.

I hate cacti. They’re ugly. They will hurt you if you touch them. Looking at them makes me thirsty and tired. But now that I live in California, I have to learn to like them. So, I took a stroll through the garden the other day, and took some photos for you to enjoy!

This is a giant agave plant that is taller then me. People have etched their names into it’s leaves.
Cute little cacti with pretty flowers. And deadly thorns!
Funky looking cacti – I have no idea what these are called. They remind me of a dried up coral reef.
The shade makes the cacti look slightly better, I think. Perhaps cacti gardens are best enjoyed at dusk when the sun has mostly gone down.

The Fruit Trees of Stanford

Did you know that prior to becoming “Silicon Valley” the Bay Area used to be called “The Valley of Heart’s Delight?” Apparently, it got this name because of all of the fruit orchards in the area. In the 1930s, San Jose, which is just south of Palo Alto, was the world’s largest cannery and dried fruit packing center. El Camino Real (a major highway through Palo Alto that connects San Diego with San Francisco) used to a a dirt road line with orchard trees between Palo Alto and San Jose.

Although there aren’t many orchards left in the immediate area, fruit trees are not infrequently seen. The plum and peach season seems to have just ended, and we’re starting to get into pears and apples. Fall is coming! But some citrus (like lemons) are also ripe, which confuses me.

There’s a map of Stanford’s campus that identifies all of the fruit trees in the area. When Nate visited me, we tried to find as many as we could.

At firs we weren’t having much luck…the campus was pretty, but the first few fruit trees we tried to find weren’t where the map said they would be.

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