We've been admiring and taking photographs of a lot of cactus and other green stuff in the desert the last few weeks. When Bill & Diane invited us to visit the Boyce Thompson Arboretum in Superior and so we could use their half price tickets, we said why not see more? This full timing couple listens to our RV podcast and our paths first crossed a few years ago when we both were in coastal Texas. They have a 2004 Dutch Star just like we do and travel with a cat. Just perfect!
Boyce Thompson was one of many rich men who made a large fortune purchasing undervalued copper and gold claims in this area and eventually all over the world. Once he was filthy rich, he tried to use his fortune to make the world a better place. The arboretum which is a state park today was founded in 1925 and was one of his less philanthropic projects. He hired experts in botany to study indigenous plants and bring exotics to the area. A volunteer docent took us through an extensive collection of Australian plants and talked about that country and its history as we walked. The park even had a replica Aussie sheep herder's cabin complete with windmill adding to the ambience. Although some of the plants had taken a hit during the recent unusually cold spell, generally the climate here is a good match for many parts of Down Under. The guide called the huge eucalyptus trees widow makers. These thirsty trees really suck up the rain whenever it falls and their branches get so heavy they fall off without warning crushing anyone below who might be seeking shelter from that rain. The park also had many imports from the desert areas of Africa and hopes to build a more extensive collection from the arid parts of China. Man made water features added to the plant diversity and reflected the rough and jagged rock formations around them. And of course, the local cactus collection was mighty fine as well.