The Sonoran Desert is a gorgeous, diverse landscape. As many outsiders move into the base of the Santa Catalina mountains, the Tohono Chul Park and Gardens offer visitors a look at the natural flora and fauna of the area. What began as a series of land plots, began to come together in the late 1960s to create the park. They installed pathways and a book store as the site began to take on local significance.
These days, Tohono Chul acts as a nature preserve in the heart of the growing Oro Valley and Tucson lines. There are migration trails, native birds and other animal species, and indigenous garden crops all housed within the border of the park. One of the great yearly events that take place in the park is the blooming of the "Queen of the Night".
The Peniocereus greggii, or the night-blooming cereus, is a large flowering cactus that has a short-lived flower bloom. This gorgeous flower only blooms at night and for only one night. If you want to be one of the lucky few to see this flower in action, you must be a member of the Tohono Chul Park. Once the flower blooms, the viewing is available from 6 pm to 10 pm at the park grounds. Right now, they don't have a date as Mother Nature will determine when the right timing is.
If you are interested in this event, you can keep tabs on the flowering process by following the Bloom Watch blog. The latest update is from June 25th, and it seems the flower may be working on a bloom date. As we are slated to get some much-needed rain in the next week or so, it's possible the blooming will occur sooner than expected.
Instead of missing this rare opportunity to view a mass blooming event, follow the park's Facebook page to keep up to date on the happenings. Sign up for the annual membership to take part in this and other great events happening on the park grounds. You get access to the park grounds and gardens, and discounts in the park shop and Bistro. The park also has rotating art exhibits, so there's always something exciting and new to see.
While you're visiting the gardens, pop into the Bistro for brunch on Wednesday through Sunday. Enjoy prickly pear mimosas and cuisine based on local organic fruits and vegetables. Brunch is served from 8 am to 3 pm. They offer happy hour from 3 pm to 7 pm and a plethora of fun cocktails with local flavors.
Find this wonderful garden gem in Oro Valley located on Ina and Paseo Del Norte. Enjoy the hummingbird gardens, desert palm oasis, or streamside gardens as you spend a nice day enjoying the lush and varied plants of the Sonoran Desert.
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