Did you know that at approximately one fifth of the Earth's land surface is desert? No me neither, but nearly 10 million square kilometres (or 3.9 million miles) is true desert, where rainfall is extremely low. I learnt this, and more, in the Arid Zone in the Botanical Glasshouse at the Walled Gardens of Cannington.
As we know deserts aren't devoid of plants, but the plants have adapted to their conditions to store and make the most of the water available. While I know very few of the cacti names, that doesn't stop me admiring them, that means in this post there's few, if any, plant names, but there are some great plants.
See what I mean?
The symmetry and patterns from cacti are fascinating. As are the succulents, I couldn't resist shoving my phone almost into the succulent below to capture the texture and colour.
I was pleased - and amused - to spot more Cowboys' Bums, which still has to be the best plant name ever. Perhaps it's a coincidence, but I last spotted them in Cornwall, so are they a South West thing?
I wasn't expecting to be hit with this lime green-yellow flower though, it's as exquisite as any cactus in this biome, it's stunning isn't it?
There were plenty of cacti to follow, the one below doing its best to blend in to the gravel, no doubt another survival ploy.
And don't be fooled, these look fluffy, but are far from fluffy. I tried.
We had the glasshouse to our self and it was great to be able to get up close to the plants, capturing the water drops on the cactus below.
As we were leaving and even I thought I couldn't take any more photos of cacti, I proved myself wrong, as I spotted this snail snoozing quite comfortably in the prickliest of places.
There were six biomes - or areas - in the glasshouse and this post covers just one of them. There is another photo I'm sharing on my Facebook page today which really made me smile. It's not a great photo, but pop over there and maybe it'll make you smile too.