The Desert Pavilion houses plants from arid regions in both the Old and New World. The New World cacti, located on the left side of the entrance, are from the American Southwest, Mexico, Peru, Bolivia, and Chile. Old World succulents on the right are from South Africa, Namibia, Madagascar, the Canary Islands, and North Africa. Shrubs, trees, cacti, succulents, and wildflowers from these regions illustrate the diversity of desert plant life as well as the various mechanisms plants have developed to survive a desert climate.
Susan Aument began working at BBG in 1996 as a horticulture intern and was hired as Desert Pavilion curator the following year. She traveled on a botanical expedition to Chile in 2004 and has been to the American Southwest many times, including one amazing El Nino spring. In 2000, she began to also curate the Tropical Entry House and its Trail of Evolution. Her interest in gardening was sparked in Florida, where she took horticulture classes and worked at several nurseries, and tropical plants remain an area of interest and inspiration.
The shrubs, trees, cacti, succulents, and wildflowers of the various regions represented in the Desert House illustrate the diversity of desert plant life as well as the various mechanisms plants have developed to survive a desert climate. Some highlights of the Desert Pavilion include the collection of Madagascan plants, Lithops, Desert ephemerals and wildflowers, Chilean plants, Jojoba, and Pereskia.