Plants Specially Adapted to Survive in Some of the Driest Environments
Earl & Donnalee Holton Arid Garden
The Arid Garden brings together cacti, agave, succulents and other desert plants from around the world. The stone arch divides the plant collection: One side holds arid plants from the Americas and Australia, while the other features those found in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. From the golden barrel cactus to the cow-horn Euphorbia, discover flora that can survive in the most barren climates on the planet.
Succulents and living stones are arranged on an adobe-style display in the Arid Garden.
Irvin Burkee studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and later taught at the University of Colorado. He experimented with many different media, among them marble, sculpture, metal work, printmaking with unique techniques and jewelry-making. Burkee received many awards and grants for his work. Trotting Javelina is one of the artist’s bronze sculptures; this one was cast in 2000.
Irvin Burkee. Trotting Javelina, 1972, cast 2000. Bronze, 16.5 x 12.5 x 19 inches. Gift of Fred and Lena Meijer. ©Irvin Burkee
Five Meerkats is located in the Arid Garden. Meerkats, native to South Africa, live in extended family groups. These five, the work of artist Tom Hillis, are standing tall and alert. This is one of the earliest pieces Fred Meijer acquired.
Tom Hillis. Five Meerkats, 1996. Bronze, 15 x 22 x 31 inches. Gift of Fred and Lena Meijer.
Found in the southwest deserts of North America, barrel cacti produce dry, bitter pineapple-shaped fruits. Barrel cacti can grow up to 10 feet tall in their native habitat. The spines on a barrel cactus are extremely sharp and hazardous; if one punctures human skin, antibiotics may be needed and the wound may heal extremely slowly.