Torch Cacti in Bloom at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum

Many Red Torches

Many Red Torches © 2012 Bo Mackison

What a marvelous send-off I had this past week!

I have visited the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum just west of Tucson two or three times a week since mid-January. Each time I visit, I manage to find new wonders. Sometimes I sit on a bench and simply absorb the desert surroundings. Sometimes I visit with the docents who amaze me with the depths of their knowledge on almost any desert topic. Last week I stopped at the Prairie dog exhibit to watch the new babies pop out of their burrows —  only the second day they were out and about exploring the world of the sun.

And on my last visit to the Desert Museum I was treated to an explosion of color as the Torch Cactus Garden had just erupted in a display of red, pink, yellow, orange and white. No wonder the sign in this garden bed proclaims these flowers a “Fireworks of Color!


Yellow Torch

Yellow Torch © 2012 Bo Mackison

Each bloom only lasts one day and they bloomed early this year.  I photographed these flowers over a period of several hours on April 25, a month earlier than is typical. (Last year’s peak bloom was around May 24-25.)

Magenta Torch Flowers

Magenta Torch Flowers © 2012 Bo Mackison

The Torch Cactus (Trichocereus) is not native to Arizona but adapts well to this climate and to landscaped gardens when planted in a filtered sun setting. I imagine these plants would be welcome in any desert garden – what gorgeous, showy flowers they are!


Bo Mackison is a photographer and owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC, living and photographing in southern Arizona from January through April. She returns for the July monsoons.

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. Wonderful colors and such beautiful flowers.

  2. Those cacti must be spectacular in bloom like that. I’d very much like to see them in person. Perhaps some day.

  3. Those are just gorgeous! What color!

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