Cactus Rose

Cactus rose

Cactus Rose © 2012 Bo Mackison

I feel truly blessed. I sit on my back patio and look over an arroyo that separates me from other human activity. The arroyo has trees on its edges — mesquites, a few large ironwood, lots of palo verdes. It has many shrubs — some are dwarfed versions of what could be a tree in a more hospitable location. And then there are the desert plants I most love — the agaves, the succulents, and the cacti.

There are many large Prickly Pears in the lower elevations of the arroyo – by large I mean ten or more feet wide, four feet deep, five to eight feet high. And they are coming into the peak of their flowering season. Since each bloom only lasts a day before it begins to wilt and shrivel, the beginning of the blooming is slow going, but certainly builds anticipation.

The first cactus rose that blooms brings great cheer. Then a few days later I see three or four blossoms on the prickly pear nearest my back space. And now — there are at least twenty cactus roses in bloom on the Prickly Pear. A lovely sight.

Today I want to share a macro photograph of the delicate beauty, the gradual shifts in color, of a single Prickly Pear flower. And next, I’ll share a fully in bloom Prickly Pear.


Bo Mackison is a photographer and owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC, living and photographing in southern Arizona for until the end of April. Then it is her turn to migrate to her summer home in the Midwest.

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:

    How beautiful! I’m constantly amazed by the beauty you find in the desert, Bo. 🙂

    • Bo Mackison says:

      It really isn;t ALL beautiful Joanne. I pick and choose, of course, but I do think many have a mistaken notion of deserts, that they are all the same. In the US we have 4 different deserts, each with their own characteristics. And the Sonoran desert in Arizona has the most diversity, so I have a lot to choose from.

  2. Love the wavy lines and soft pastel colors.

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Thanks. I’m trying to bring more pastels into my work. I;ve been using very bright colors from the US Southwest where they are popular, but my eyes are wanting some softness right now…

  3. That’s a very nice macro! I well remember the “pear” in bloom!

    • Bo Mackison says:

      I imagine it is a hard one to forget — so far it is by far the most plentiful cactus in bloom and the one with the most flowers on each plant. I do love a cactus covered with blooms.

  4. Absolutely beautiful.

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Thanks, Sue. Won;t be long though, til I head back to the Midwest. I hear spring is way ahead of schedule, but they are getting frost at night now. In February it was, of course, balmy.

  5. Marvelous.

Leave a Reply