Tiny Forest

Tiny Forest

Tiny Forest © 2011 Bo Mackison

 The rational and the serious are empty playgrounds for the muse. ~ David du Chemin

I spend many hours in gardens throughout the year.

Not only do I visit in my backyard gardens, but the botanical gardens, the University’s horticultural garden, a large tract of prairie, and the arboretum are each about a fifteen minute drive from my home. I truly consider myself blessed to have such easy access to such a variety of botanical species.

The last few weeks I have spent most of my time photographing a single area in the Olbrich Botanical Gardens that is only about two feet square.

There are several varieties of elephant ear plants in this space and a few, low growing, flowering plants. Since this area is near the only entrance/exit to the outdoor gardens, I get many curious looks and comments from people walking past. Often they look to see if they can spot whatever it is that holds such fascination for me. A few stop and ask, “What are you taking a picture of?” And a little boy, perhaps five years old, once excitedly asked me, “Are there bugs and spiders in there? Are you taking pictures of snakes?” I even had a docent rush towards me and ask if I had fallen, if I was hurt? Evidently, he startled to see me lying half on the sidewalk, half in the mulch, looking at the underside of the plants.

I usually just smile and say I’m shooting the sunlight patterns on the plants.

That is more than enough information for most people. Even the  docent shook his head and claimed he only takes photographs standing on both feet. Yes, he probably does.

But I don’t.

Half the fun of photography is capturing photos of things that hardly anyone else ever sees.


Bo Mackison is a photographer and the owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC.  Some days are just perfect for lying on your back in a garden and looking at the world through gigantic, swaying leaves.

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. Poor docent–has to make sure you are not a lawsuit waiting to happen. I’m sure very few people see the work of photography. It’s good you let them know it’s not all photoshop and iPhones.

  2. I totally agree. 🙂

  3. I’ve enjoyed the sunlight and shadows. It would have been nice if you had found somee snakes, spiders or other bugs.

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