A Dahlia called ‘Esther’

'Esther' Dahlia at Olbrich Botanical Gardens, Madison Wisconsin

A Dahlia Called 'Esther' © 2010 Bo Mackison

What a great morning! Sherpa and I spent several hours this morning at the Olbrich Botanical Gardens on the east side of Madison. The place was really busy: there is a temporary exhibit called Blooming Butterflies in the Bolz Conservatory. We didn’t visit the butterflies this morning – I can do that on a thunderstorm-y day – but if you are in the area, I highly recommend checking out this special show.

We had a great morning in the outdoor gardens. Even though we were out early, these gardens don’t open until 8 a.m., so we brought the giant diffuser along with all the other gear. It folds into a small package when not in use, but fully opened it is 36″ in diameter. I had a very enthusiastic 12 year old ask me if it was a Frisbee! I told him “no, but as light as it is, it would fly a long way.” I’d hate to chase it if it was picked up by a gust of wind, but my new friend would have enjoyed the chase. I did decline when he asked if I’d like to give it a toss.

I think the favorite flower of the morning was this dahlia, properly named ‘Esther’ and really showing off her bright colors. I photographed the dahlias in many poses, but do like this particular dahlia, not quite fully open, but strikingly beautiful in her youth.

About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.


  1. Tom and Kayellen says:

    It was nice talking with you at the gardens this morning, hope to see you next year at the Lakefront Festival of the Arts.

    Tom and Kayellen Hohner

  2. That is really a pretty blossom. Wonderful color and texture.

  3. Oh my goodness. I love this photo. This flower is exquisite and I absolutely adore the rich, warm tones of the petals. So gorgeous. Glad you got the chance to enjoy yourself! And those things do look like big frisbees.. Hehe.

  4. Stunning photo. The textures and lines and colors are top notch.

  5. Love the pose you’ve shown here. Very painterly rendition!! Beautiful!

  6. Gandalf says:

    Beautiful colors and texture.

  7. There’s a lush sensuality to this photo. Stunning, Bo.

  8. AH….love this! Very, very nice!

  9. Very nice. I love photographing Dahlias.

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