Bloom Night Recap | The Queen’s Monsoon Magic

July 31, 2023

Last Sunday was an eventful one. Chris says that early that morning, the buds were still closed tight, but by afternoon some were already showing the white of their petals! 

Around 6 pm we could see an opaque storm cloaking the northwest from Tucson’s East side. Filled with excitement and cautious optimism we made our way to Tohono Chul. Beautiful cascades of rain fell in front of the sunset. A dramatic backdrop of pink cotton candy clouds and lightning set the stage.

The brief downpours cooled the air and filled it with the scent of creosote leaves. The Queen’s blossoms were timid and we waited expectantly for them to open. Native flute music echoed as we crowded around the blooms. Nature does not hurry for anyone.

The monsoon gifted us with some much-needed rain and brought life and vibrancy to the Desert View Trail. Tarantulas, tarantula hawks, sphynx moths, night hawks, and other critters were out and about. Spadefoot toads sang. Guests poured into the gift shops and took refuge under the ramadas. The exhibit house was a welcome escape from the rain and gave us a moment to experience an artistic interpretation of the Queen and the Sonoran Desert.  

It was a lovely garden party for the Queen, filled with music, untamed beauty, and community. 

At 6 am the next morning the blossoms were still open and the fans of the peniocereus greggii filled the parking lot. A fervor of photographers took a morning stroll to see the ephemeral flowers. 

The very next evening we had the few last remaining buds open. We hope that these uninterrupted inflorescences will show a good pollination rate. The gardeners carefully covered them in mesh bags to protect the developing fruits. We shall see! 

Thank you to everyone who came out and braved the rain. For all the volunteers and staff who made it possible. To those who waited patiently for a glimmer of beauty. Happy Monsoon!

Until next year.

Tracey Till, Propagation Associate