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Seeking Royal Seeds

We take our Peniocereus greggii quite cereusly, but rest assured we are not dressing up The Queen for her coronation! The white organza bags you see covering The Queen’s ripening fruit allow sunlight and […]

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Meet Ethan Cox, Our New Director of Strategic Growth

Starting as a dream by founders Dick and Jean Wilson, Tohono Chul was envisioned as a place to connect with nature, art, and culture. That ardor has once again been […]

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Bloom Watch #5

There’s A First Time For Everything As is her sovereign nature, 20 of the Queen’s blossoms bloomed this past Saturday night with the last two following suit Sunday night. Unfortunately, […]

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Bloom Watch #4

Could It Be This Weekend? Late Monday morning Gardens Supervisor, Chris Kibler along with Gardeners, Shauna, Aaron, and myself went for a drive in the carts to take a look […]

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Bloom Watch #3

Quiet Repose Bach’s Cactus Nursery’s resident Queen bloomed early last week. Tohono Chul volunteer and Bach’s Cactus employee, Astrid Randall, snapped a photo. Chris Kibler, Tohono Chul Gardens Supervisor, says […]

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Bloom Watch #2

Sounds of the Sonoran Desert It’s 4 o’clock in the garden, and the hustle and bustle of early afternoon is over. I relinquish my post at the greenhouse and head […]

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Executive Update For You from Jamie Maslyn Larson

Dear Tohono Chul Family, How time flies! It has been almost four months since you welcomed me as Tohono Chul’s Executive Director. The last time I wrote, I was just […]

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Bloom Watch #1

New Growth Midafternoon on the Desert View Trail there is an enveloping quiet. Only the wind against the ears and the shuffle of sand underfoot at first. Then the birds’ […]

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Butterflies, an interview with Andy Hogan

Stephen Spikes, our Interpretive Programs Manager, sat down with Tohono Chul docent and butterfly enthusiast, Andy Hogan to talk about our butterfly census. Butterfly counts in the summer and fall […]

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A Note from Jamie Maslyn Larson, Tohono Chul’s New Executive Director

Dear Tohono Chul Family, It has been just three short weeks since I started my position as Executive Director of Tohono Chul, and I am buzzing with excitement! There is […]

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Weaving a Tale of Culture

On a crisp morning, a tapestry of color appears as the rugs are lovingly placed one by one on display. Visitors to Tohono Chul stop to admire the beautiful hand-made […]

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Welcome Jamie Maslyn Larson, Our New Executive Director!

Dear Tohono Chul Family, We are excited to announce that Jamie Maslyn Larson will take the lead as our new executive director starting February 1! Selected after a 5-month national […]

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Executive Update For You from Christine Conte

Dear Tohono Chul Family, As we celebrate this holiday season and look forward to welcoming in the New Year, it is a special joy to write to you about so […]

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Monsoon Aftermath

What a phenomenal monsoon season it has been! As of September 1, 2021 Tucson has received 12.08 inches of rain – that’s more than six inches above our average monsoon […]

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Executive Update For You from Christine Conte

Dear Tohono Chul Family, Hasn’t this monsoon season been WONDERFUL?! I cannot think of a more welcome gift, after a refreshing family vacation, than to return to billowing thunderclouds and […]

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How To Process Prickly Pear Fruit

It’s almost that time of year when the prickly pear fruit ripens and it’s time to harvest! Learn how to process the fruit in the video below featuring our Interpretive […]

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Bloom Watch #5 – That’s A Wrap

The preceding rain had cooled the air, turning a hot June day into a welcoming summer’s evening. In the twilight we waited with the anticipation of a child as the […]

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Executive Update For You from Christine Conte

Dear Tohono Chul Family, So much about this past year has been unsettling. Last year at this time I was writing to you during the height of the pandemic. Tohono […]

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The Bees Are On the Move

Honey bees would usually be a boon for any garden. Bees provide an essential environmental service – pollination. They visit flower after flower collecting pollen grains and slurping up nectar. […]

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Bloom Watch #4 – On The Move

Please note Bloom Night this year is a MEMBERS ONLY event and has new hours from 6 to 10 p.m. The morning after Bloom Night (TBD) is also available only […]

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Bloom Watch #3 – The Queen’s Subjects

It’s feeling halfway through dry summer. The triangle-leaf bursage covering the ground is crispy and dormant. The light greens and tans of the foliage and earth contrast with the terracotta […]

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Bloom Watch #2 – No Hints of Blooming Yet

Time to Wait This morning we strolled through the North Loop and reflected as we counted the furry white buds sprouting from the dark, slender stems of The Queens. The […]

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Executive Update For You from Christine Conte

Dear Tohono Chul Family, New joy in the gardens today! Your smiling faces! Now as the public health safety allows, and for those fully vaccinated and who are comfortable shedding […]

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Bloom Watch #1 – It’s That Time Again

Resilience, Of All Kinds It’s been nearly a year since my last report. As many of you know, I took over this post just weeks before Bloom Night 2020. If […]

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Executive Update For You from Christine Conte

Dear Tohono Chul Family, What a pleasure to be writing to you from my favorite, sunny bench here at Tohono Chul on this glorious spring morning as the pandemic is […]

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Executive Update For You from Christine Conte

Dear Tohono Chul Family, Some Valentine’s gifts are meant to be shared. This glorious one is shared with you—our family of donors, board members, members, volunteers, and friends—because it truly […]

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Executive Update For You from Christine Conte

Dear Tohono Chul Family, Writing to you on this misty January morning, I’m thinking of the sunny spring days to come when the pandemic may finally ease, wildflowers will burst […]

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Jo Falls, Tohono Chul Director of Education, Retires After Thirty-Four Years of Dedication and Service

You can’t know Tohono Chul without knowing Jo Falls. She has been at Tohono Chul since its very beginning thirty-four years ago, and she is as much an institution as […]

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Executive Update For You from Christine Conte

Dear Tohono Chul Family, As the Winter Solstice and the year’s longest night draws near, I hope you are finding comfort in the promise of a brighter New Year. At […]

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Executive Update For You from Christine Conte

Dear Tohono Chul Family, In case you haven’t guessed, Tohono Chul family, my Mission is to bring you Good News. Not good news dressed in unrealistic optimism. Or good news […]

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Executive Update For You from Christine Conte

Dear Tohono Chul Family, Maybe you know the old maxim, “There is no good news that comes without a challenge attached.” If you don’t know it, that’s probably because I […]

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Executive Update For You from Christine Conte

Dear Tohono Chul Family, Something to look forward to. Something to be thankful for. Both may seem scarce these days. But in these letters to you, written under less-than-ideal circumstances, […]

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Executive Update For You from Christine Conte

Dear Tohono Chul Family, In the few weeks since my last letter, our local and our statewide situation has once again shifted dramatically. Not only have the monsoon rains unfurled […]

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Executive Update For You from Christine Conte

Dear Tohono Chul Family, In the short two weeks since my last letter, our local (and statewide) situation has shifted dramatically… The life-threatening wildfire fire on the mountain has now […]

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Executive Update For You from Christine Conte

Dear Tohono Chul Family, I hope that in these turbulent times you are well and finding comfort with those you love. Since I last wrote, a short two weeks ago, […]

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Bloom Watch #3 – A Night of Firsts

At our last check-in you heard from Lee Mason in his final Bloom Watch about some strange goings-on within our collection. I should have read the writing on the wall. […]

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Executive Update For You from Christine Conte

Dear Tohono Chul Family, I truly hope this finds you well and caring gently for yourself and your family. It has been 12 weeks since Tohono Chul closed to ensure […]

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Bloom Watch #2 – Passing The Torch

Lee Mason’s Last Bloom Watch The Queen and I hope this finds all of you well. She is making her usual confusing moves. I have been checking a couple times […]

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Thank You Lee Mason, For 20 Years of Dedication and Service

Lee Mason has retired after more than 20 years leading gardens, plant propagation and facilities maintenance.  In his time at Tohono Chul, Lee has been the moving force behind our millennial master plan […]

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Executive Update For You from Christine Conte

Dear Tohono Chul Family, Every challenge presents an opportunity to learn and grow. And nothing in Tohono Chul’s 35-year history has put that maxim to the test like this current […]

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Bloom Watch #1 – The Queen Is In Charge

It is that time of the year again and although we may not be able to spend it together this year, I am hoping we can still enjoy the trip […]

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Executive Update For You from Christine Conte

Dear Tohono Chul Family, Are you ready for some good news? A glimmer of hope that we will not only endure this tragic pandemic together, but emerge even stronger? Here are […]

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Executive Update For You from Christine Conte

Dear Tohono Chul Family, In this distressing time, I wish I could bring you news about when the COVID-19 crisis will end and when you will all be welcomed back […]

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Executive Update For You from Christine Conte

Dear Tohono Chul Family, Thank you for your understanding, kindness and devotion in these unimaginable times. Your outpouring of love and support has been absolutely overwhelming. You will be hearing […]

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A Letter from the Executive Director

Dear Family, It is heartbreaking to be writing to you about how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting our beloved Tohono Chul. But because you are family, we must be open, honest and supportive […]

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Important, Please Read – updated March 17

Dear Tohono Chul Family and Friends, For your health and safety and for that of staff, volunteers and the general public all of Tohono Chul is closed starting Tuesday, March […]

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Bloom Watch #4 – She Is On The Move

The Queen has decided to push to bloom! This morning the majority of the buds were between 60 and 80 mm. What does this mean? Well, what it means to […]

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Bloom Watch #3 – Waiting Patiently

This week has been interesting, if not unusual. Although most of the buds are still in stall status, the Queen has pulled a few surprises. First of all, as of […]

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Bloom Watch #2 – Slow, but Steady

This week has been overall pretty slow. There have been a few new buds and a few that gave up and went away. This is normal for her and she […]

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Bloom Watch #1 – An Ambitious Queen’s Court

Here we go again. I have been watching the Queen for the past three weeks and two weeks ago I saw the first buds. Since then she has increased the […]

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Jo Falls Receives Roger Lidman Distinguished Service Award

James Schaub, Curator of Exhibitions, nominated Jo Falls for the Roger Lidman Distinguished Service Award at the Museum Association of Arizona’s Annual Conference on March 18, 2019. The esteemed award […]

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Lucy’s Warbler Nestbox Project

We are very lucky to be living in the center of Lucy’s Warblers’ breeding range. These tiny, shy, gray birds are the only cavity-nesting warblers in Arizona and the only […]

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Tohono Chul Wins an Environmental Excellence Award from Arizona Forward

The Arizona Forward Environmental Excellence Awards program recognizes outstanding contributions to the built and natural environment of communities throughout Arizona and just recently Tohono Chul was added to its list […]

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Bloom Watch #4 – Will It Be This Weekend?

It appears that the Queen accepted the rain with exuberance. She broke stall on Sunday and Monday and is on the move toward bloom. Today most of the buds are […]

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Bloom Watch #3 – Will Rain Make Her Bloom?

On June 3, Plant #64 let two of her flowers go. This is the same plant that went first last year with two flowers on May 19. The rest of […]

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Bloom Watch #2 – A Blooming Queen’s Court

Hello Everyone, The Queen is doing her thing, her way, as she always does. This week she has decided to drop some buds that she determined are not supportable. The […]

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Bloom Watch #1 – Her Majesty’s Resilience

Hello Everyone, Hope you all had a good year. It’s that time again for the Queen and she is showing her resilience. Although it has been dry and warmer than […]

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Desert Lavender – A Native Plant Knockout

Some people are always looking for low-water-use native plants that attract hummingbirds or butterflies; others search for plants to help with the declining bee populations. So when a water-thrifty native […]

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Create Butterfly Magic in Your Yard

Traveling east of Tucson on I-10 there are a lot of expansive views of mountains and valleys that make up part of the basin and range district of Southern Arizona, […]

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Coyote Gourd – A Handsome Groundcover

Three weeks after the onset of the summer rains, in a wash southeast of the Huachuca mountains, the coyote gourds grow. Mexico is less than two miles away. The air […]

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Creosote – The Aroma of Rain

Creosote Bush aka Greasewood Larrea tridentata The wonderful experience of a storm in the desert includes the stark beauty of valleys and mountains, diamond raindrops, intense rainbows, wind and an […]

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Bloom Watch #7 – Closer Than Ever!

Finally, most of the flowers are on the move. It appears that something in the storm event on the July 11 woke her up. As I said before, I don’t […]

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August Means Arizona Poppies

One does not normally think of the desert blooming in the summertime, since most of the showy annuals we are familiar with appear in the spring. However, the Arizona Poppy […]

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Bloom Watch #6 – Will Bloom Night Ever Happen?

Well here we go again. The Queen is doing everything she can to aggravate me and doing an excellent job at it. During this last week five plants decided they […]

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Bloom Watch #5 – Keeping Us Captivated

I just got back from talking with the Queen and she is displaying her usual attitude. She has let me know that Bloom Night will happen when she is darn, […]

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Bloom Watch #4 – Almost, But Not Quite

It’s been a good week! The two I mentioned in last week’s Bloom Watch went, one bud on June 8 and other on June 10. The majority are still in […]

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Bloom Watch #3 – A Few Bloomed Too Soon

Sorry for the delay in this update I’ve been busier than a one armed paper hanger. I have however been making daily checks on the Queen and she is up […]

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Devil’s Claw or the Unicorn Plant

During the summer rainy period rather large, succulent, sticky plants are found along the floodplains and channels of arroyos throughout the Sonoran Desert. These plants have a long history of […]

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Bloom Watch #2 – Peniocereus Progress

The Queen has been busy over the last couple of weeks and there are now three buds at stall size. It will be interesting to see if they hang on […]

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The Velvet Mesquite

Consider the mesquite tree. Mesquites are not merely trees; they create a whole ecosystem.  Grubs nibble at their roots. Borers live inside the trunk, and if visible, their pathways would […]

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Bloom Watch #1 – Hope Awakens

Hello everyone. Hope you all had a good fall and winter. Now that spring is giving way to summer the Queen is waking up and preparing for another season of […]

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Another Bloom Watch Comes To A Close

Thank all of you who attended Bloom Night and sent me pictures of your bloomers. Hopefully all of you had a good time. This has been delayed due to the […]

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This Weekend: Bloom Night?

I checked and measured all the buds on Friday and found the majority to be in the 40mm to 45mm range. I figured the weekend would be safe because they […]

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Bloom Watch #6 – To Bud, or Not to Bud

I just got back from communing with The Queen and boy is it hot. Last week it looked like there was one flower breaking stall. It was at 45mm and […]

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Bloom Watch #5 – Six Degrees of Maturation

After the long Memorial Day weekend, the major change I’m seeing is more buds moving into the stall stage of development. It appears that last week’s stalls are going to […]

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Bloom Watch #4 – New Buds Take Shape

It’s been another week and there are some nice changes. I was out of town part of last week and was surprised to see that the Queen has been busy. […]

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Bloom Watch #3 – Hope For The New Growth

Last week I told you that Jessie Byrd, the Pima County Native Plant Manager, contacted me. I just wanted everyone to know that I made another one of my major […]

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Bloom Watch #2 – To Bloom Too Soon

As I had mentioned last week, one of the Queens had a bud in stall status and that I would be watching her closely to see if it would hold […]

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Bloom Watch #1 – She Shall Overcome: Beating The Odds

Hi everyone. I hope you’ve had a good year. The time has come, and the Queen is beginning to wake. I have been watching our Peniocereus greggii plants all winter […]

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