Blue Yucca

Blue Yucca

The Boyce Thompson Arboretum is a world-class botanical garden that was originally a summer home and is now a state park. With more than 3,200 different desert plants, it offers the visitor a mosaic of colors, shapes, and textures. We started our self-guided tour by visiting the colorful 2.5 acre demonstration garden that exhibits practical suggestions for home landscaping in the desert environment. Hummingbirds were actively seeking nectar from many of the blooming flowers. Firewheel, desert mallow, and desert marigold were in bloom. From the main trail, we walked the quarter mile loop Chihuahuan Desert trail where blue yucca and Texas prickly pear were in bloom. The golden-ball lead tree displays intriguing yellow puff balls. Birds were inactive when we passed the man-made Ayer Lake. The Magma Ridge and Thompson’s summer home, Picket Post House, were picturesque during our hike through the Upland Sonoran natural area. Some members of a hiking group were catching butterflies in the Queen Creek riparian area. The herb garden featured plants used in cooking, medicine, and cosmetics. A green house offers cacti from around the world, including blooming archaragma aquirreama, astrophytum capricorne, and golden barrel. We learned that William Boyce Thompson, born in Montana, purchased the Magma Mine in nearby Superior, Arizona in 1907. This successful Wall Street promoter and gambler also built a magnificent home in Yonkers, New York. In the 1920s, in conjunction with the University of Arizona, he established an arboretum on these 400 acres to study plants of desert countries. This unique state park is well worth a visit.

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