A Walk in a Desert Garden

Desert Garden Path

Desert Garden Path © 2013 Bo Mackison

The desert, when the sun comes up…I couldn’t tell where heaven stopped and the Earth began.”
~ Tom Hanks

A walk at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum was the place to see a profusion of desert flowers. The museum isn’t a “desert in a building” – it’s a botanical garden, zoo, and natural history museum. I visit several times a week and there is always something new to see or explore.

A few days ago I spent the day in the desert – I hiked in the Sonoran Desert at Saguaro National Park in the early morning, then came to the Desert Museum for several glasses of prickly pear tea and a walk through the blossoming gardens.


Penstemon © 2013 Bo Mackison

Penstomen is the snapdragon family’s desert representative. Its bright pink blossoms on four foot tall stems are easy to find — in gardens and along roadsides, too.

Orange Blossoms on Hedgehog Cactus

Orange Blossoms on Hedgehog Cactus © 2013 Bo Mackison

This is one of the first cactus to bloom in the Sonoran Desert near Tucson. This was the first cactus I saw bloom when I first visited the desert four years ago. Then, I was thrilled to see a showy orange flower at the end of each stubby cactus arm. The thrill has never diminished. I smile every time I see one of these beauties.

Aloe in Bloom

Aloe in Bloom © 2013 Bo Mackison

The aloe always put on a colorful show. I love how the colors blend from brilliant orange to the cooler greens, blues, and whites.

Evening Primrose

Evening Primrose © 2013 Bo Mackison

The fragrant tufted evening primrose has soft white blossoms that turn a light magenta as they age. The blossoms don’t last long, so it is typical to see buds, white blossoms and aged flowers on the same plant.

Spring Flowers

Desert Spring Flowers © 2013 Bo Mackison

Yellow desert marigolds, a yucca with a flower shoot just starting to grow, and a patch of pink penstemon combine for textures and color in the desert garden.


Bo Mackison is a photographer and owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC.  She continues to discover beauty and inspiration while exploring the Sonoran Desert

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. What a spectacular place to be this time of year! I remember visiting there many, many years ago. Beautiful photos!

    • Bo Mackison says:

      It is my good fortune to visit the Desert Museum frequently. Always a place of interest, big enough to still find a quiet space, and filled with something new each time I am there. It’s especially great paired with a hike in the nearby desert which can feel quite isolated.

  2. Joanna Paterson says:

    Wow! How astonishingly beautiful the earth is!

  3. WOW! I’ve heard all about how beautiful the desert is when in full bloom…and your images certainly do it justice. WOW!

    • Bo Mackison says:

      The desert in bloom is rather ephemeral, but so lovely. These flowers are nearly finished now, but the cacti (my favorites) are just coming into their blooming season.

  4. Gandalf says:

    That must be a wonderful place. Beautiful images.

    • Bo Mackison says:

      It’s a lovely place to get a feel for the diversity of the Sonoran Desert, and a friendly place as well.

  5. Gracious, such beauty! The desert in Spring is truly an incredible sight. The scent of a desert in Spring cannot be described. Not by me, anyway. But you, Bo. You, the Wordsmith, has described it masterfully. Lovely. Simply lovely.

    • Bo Mackison says:

      I can capture some of the beauty, Debi, but sure can;t capture the scent of the early morning desert – brief, but rapturous. 🙂

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