A Plant of Many Colors

Aloe in Bloom

Aloe in Bloom © 2011 Bo Mackison

I’m down to my last week in Arizona.

And, not that I’ve been procrastinating or anything like that, but I finally accomplished the second to the last goal on my list — a trip to an Arizona attraction that required an overnight stay.

Yesterday I headed to Boyce Thompson Arboretum near Superior, Arizona. The arboretum is almost 3 hours north of where I am staying, and if I had wanted to push, I could have driven there and back in one day. But part of any trip’s appeal is being able to stop along the side of the road for that photograph…and that one…and that one. I know from experience that a three hour drive can easily turn into four or more hours, and I didn’t want to be driving unfamiliar roads through a dark desert on my way home. So I booked a motel room nearby.

I found the overnight a bit more stressful than I expected–probably because it is something I have only done once or twice in my life. I tried to figure out ways to make it easier–checking in while it was still daylight and bringing my things in from the car before I went off to explore the area. Those helped. Even so, I didn’t see everything I had on my list because I wanted to get back to the motel to “feel safer”.  I need more practice with this kind of traveling. I’ll have to return to Globe/Superior and finish the tour next time I’m in the area.

I spent several hours at Boyce Thompson Arboretum.

I’ve been to here before and have always enjoyed the many areas to explore, but on this visit I concentrated mostly on the blooming perennials and a few blooming cactus. The central region of Arizona is much greener than Tucson and the areas south of Tucson, so it was a chance for me to see a bit of Arizona in bloom.

The aloes were a big surprise to me. I’ve don’t recall seeing aloe in bloom, nor did I realize that aloe blooms could be so varied. Makes sense–just something I’d never experienced before. I love these multicolored buds of the aloe in the photo. It seems as if almost every color, in some shade, is represented.

Since today is a mostly cloudy day, I’ll be processing the other photos from Boyce Thompson and the rest of my trip this afternoon. Usually I need to wait to do my photo work in the evening because the studio is too bright and the window coverings are minimal. But today I am appreciating the cloud cover!


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. Joanne Keevers says:

    Would your aloe flowers be from the same family of plants as the aloe vera, do you think? I have aloe vera growing in my garden, which flowers, although the flowers are entirely different to your photo. You did say the flowers vary, so perhaps it is the same, or similar plant.

    I’m looking forward to hearing about your final goal you wish to accomplish before heading home, Bo. 🙂

    • Bo Mackison says:

      This aloe is a member of the lily family, originally from South Africa. So says the info on the ID I photographed! 🙂

      Ah, final goal. Give me a day or two to see if I can pull it off.

  2. I have visited that Arboretum in the past. I’m pleased to see that it’s still there!

  3. Aloes are so amazing, but you really bring out their mystery and beauty, Bo!

  4. You are a brave woman. I admire what you’ve done on this trip.

    I never realized aloes bloom.

  5. Gandalf says:

    Allo, allo, how are you? Very interesting post.

  6. This arboretum is also a favorite place of mine – I have been there twice: once in spring and another time in summer.

    • Bo Mackison says:

      I’m not sure I have ever met an arboretum or botanical garden I haven;t liked, but Boyce is one of my favorites, too.

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