LaMar and Rosalee Orton started an experiment by gardening with a few cactus and succulents in 1986, in their backyard in Twin Falls, Idaho. Now, more than 30 years later, those few plants have expanded into five acres and a non-profit organization called, the Orton Botanical Garden.
A visit to the Sonoran desert inspired the Orton’s switch from “the norm” of midwest or east coast plantings to plantings that are more suitable for the climate of Twin Falls.
Precipitation in the area is a mere 10 inches per year, and so, many plants will not thrive without irrigation from late spring through the fall.
The mission of the garden is to educate, demonstrate and conserve. To educate and demonstrate which plants will thrive with little or no added water and then, to emphasize to visitors of the importance of water conservation.
Walking through the garden’s winding paths, you will see many cacti, succulents and perennials as well as quail, killdeer, and a large variety of pollinators; bees, wasps, hummingbirds, bumblebees, butterflies, moths. What you won’t see is the hours of labor necessary to maintain this large garden, the weeding, pruning, planting, and transplanting it done by the Orton’s themselves.
Because of their work throughout three decades, they are a fount of knowledge regarding which plants can tolerate the alkaline soils, high heat, low humidity and little water and which plants will fail under these harsh conditions.
Check out their website for more information:https://OrtonBotanicalGarden.com
Visit the garden and view the over 400 different plant varieties and species.
Annual open house and Plant Sale:
May 16-18 and May 23-25, 2019
9:00 am to 6 pm.
Open other hours by appointment
Trees in the Windbreak include:
A List of the Orton’s favorite xeric plants: