Friday, March 1, 2013

Corks and Cactus

Ed and I have been trying to make the most of our membership to the Botanical Gardens (as I mentioned not that long ago), so when I read about an event that combined wine tasting with the garden, I knew we had to check it out. Enter: Corks and Cactus.

This is a yearly event that showcases 40 different wines on each of its two days, along with live music, cooking demonstrations, and delicious food you can buy to pair with all your wines.

The wine tasting booths were all set up inside, with each booth having about 5 wines to taste. Each guest was given a menu, so you could just go around and request the wine(s) you wanted! It was hard not to want to taste all 40 wines, but we couldn't go too crazy :).

We were starving, so when we got there, we treated ourselves to a cheese plate and a sandwich, both of which were excellent. I think the best part, though, was just sitting outside in the beautiful sunlight. I've definitely been having a lot more moments of feeling very fortunate to live in such a beautiful place. Even, more, I've been able to appreciate that this deserty place does have some beauty :). 

After a few hours of relaxing, we headed to the back patio for a "cooking demonstration" from the chefs of Gertrudes, the wonderful restaurant on site here at the garden. 

While the demonstration wasn't really all that exciting, the food samples we got to have were wonderful. Lamb with a lovely jus, rainbow chard, and barley - perfect with a nice tasting. 

After our final snack, we headed back out to the main space to spend a last few minutes taking in the afternoon. 

And, had one last tasting. 

We couldn't leave without visiting with some of our favorite plants. I've gained such an affinity for agaves, after planting them at our house, so it was fun to walk through. We were amazed by this beautiful stalk. Of course, with my newfound knowledge of agaves, the stalk made me a bit sad, too, because most agaves die after they flower. Pretty impressive, though.

Now our fourth garden visit, I'm starting to understand why people gain such a love of plants and gardening. It's been so fun to see how the plants have changed since we first saw them in October, and it's especially exciting now as we're entering into spring. This tree below was completely bare back in October and now has these great leaves. 

There seem to be more flowers every time we visit, and I think the next month might be pretty amazing.

Much of the cacti haven't changed that much, but are still captivating all the same. 

We weren't the only ones out enjoying the gardens. There was also a wedding going on! We stumbled upon the bride and groom taking pictures. 

I was excited to see one of my Parry's Agave all grown up. Someday ours will look like that! Not sure how long it'll take, though :). 

We decided to take a walk on the wildflower loop, which hasn't quite come into its own for spring, but is heading there. 

It's interesting that a year ago, we came out here the very first time, where I experienced my high and lows picturing desert living. 

But, I do think I'm starting to adjust, at least to some extent. I'm still not super excited about being out on the trails, but I can look out on a scene like this and see the beauty of it all. 

It helps when everything is growing, becoming new, and starting over. 

This really was the perfect way to spend our last weekend in February, and is definitely an event we'll return to in the future. Both the Corks and the Cactus were impressively amazing. 


  1. What a fun event! I love the opportunity to taste wines without the pressure to finish something that I don't like. I'd love to visit your botanical garden, especially when the cacti bloom.

  2. It's one of the best, if you truly want to experience southwestern plants. They really are something else :).