Thoughts From the Desert

Two flights with a layover in between and I was transported from Indianapolis in the Midwest, where Fall is lowering the temps and changing the leaf color, to Tucson in the Southwest, where it felt like Summer was a permanent resident.

On the drive from the airport to the hotel in Tucson where the annual Garden Writers Symposium took place, our shuttle van driver patiently answered our questions about the local life of the desert, including rattlesnakes, tarantulas, and scorpions, oh my.

Fortunately for me, I saw none of those critters, but I did see some other insects and birds out and about as we toured both public and private gardens.

There was the butterfly pictured above, coming in for a landing on what I think is Ageratum sp. at Tohono Chul Park in Tucson.

Eventually, the butterfly did rest and sip some nourishment.
That's something that everyone who attended the symposium had to do at some point. It's go-go-go then rest and drink plenty of water.

At the Tucson Botanical Garden, a grasshopper patiently posed for me.
I would never have noticed this grasshopper if another garden writer hadn't pointed him (her?) out to  me.  I have found that garden writers and gardeners are generally patient like this grasshopper.  They are also helpful.

Later, back at Tohono Chul Park, I saw a hummingbird resting.
I've never seen a hummingbird just sit and rest like that. That could be because when I'm out in my garden, I'm not usually sitting around and watching for resting hummingbirds or it could be that they don't spend their time resting in Indiana.

This one rested long enough for several of us to take many pictures of it.  It's a good reminder that even the busiest of us must rest at some point.

Resting after the symposium seems like a good idea. I can use the resting time to sort out the ideas and inspiration I absorbed from the people I met, the sessions I attended, and the gardens I saw.  In the days ahead, I will do just that -- rest and reflect on all I learned and experienced.

Oh, and I will also plant some bulbs.  Fall made itself quite at home while I was out of town.  There's no turning up the thermostat now and the days are continuing to get shorter. And I have 1,000 crocus corms to plant out in my back lawn and a few hundred other assorted bulbs to plant here and there.

But you can bet while I'm planting those corms and bulbs, I'll be thinking and pondering about my four days in the desert and all that I learned there.


  1. Sounds like a wonderful experience...and you got some beautiful photos to remind you of all you saw.

  2. Desert beauty is subtle but it grows on you!

  3. Next spring you may wonder why you didn't plant 500 additional bulbs, or even more! I have many to plant now as well...when it stops raining. Now I'd enjoy a few of those warm July days. Imagine that!

  4. Beautiful! I want to go!

  5. It does sound like you had a grand time....Love the hummer!

  6. I really love that area of the country. It's like landing on a different planet.

    Fall is well advanced here in southern NH and the colors are glorious right now.

    I can't wait to see pics of your field of crocus in the spring. I need a little of your enthusiasm for planting bulbs. By the time I finish taking in and taking care of all my tropicals I'm out of energy for any more garden projects.

  7. Love the photos. You are now a wildlife photographer.

  8. That pretty much sums it up . . . oh my!~~Dee

  9. I wish I could have joined you. I also spent a wonderful time in the California desert some years ago, right after a soaking rain. It was beautiful.

  10. That is a lot of bulbs! Pretty pictures! Can't wait to hear about the rest!

  11. I'm glad you had a good time. I've been to Tucson once, but mostly I travelled to Phoenix several times while my daughter was there and always visited the Desert Botanic Garden in Phoenix. The plant life in the desert is a far cry from what we're used to in the Midwest, isn't it? But so beautiful in its own way.

    Good luck on your bulb planting. It seems like every time I have a day off and time to plant mine, it's raining. After this summer, I never thought I'd complain about rain:)

  12. I regularly observe a hummingbird (I assume it's always the same one) resting in my birch tree, or sometimes in an ash tree, adjacent to my 2nd floor porch in INdiana. Then I yell, "hummingbird alert to my grandchildren and they coming running to see as well. Perhaps I can see it so well because my gaze is "higher up" in relation to the tree - I'm looking right into the branches. I was amazed the first time I saw it, too. The bird comes swooping in to sip red salvia and blue-and-black salvia, which I had good luck with this year.


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