Miles of Roses

My visitors and I were driving to hike the White Tank Mountains (in Mirage, AZ) to see the petroglyphs. We saw, in the January-bare fields, plants, about three feet tall. Acres of them. They were blooming.

“Roses,” Eva said. I couldn’t believe it. Fields of roses? Yes. We got out of the car to take photos. As far as the eye could see, fields of roses, mostly red. Some white and a few pink.


They must have been growing for nurseries or florists. There was not a scrap of fragrance in the air. Either way, it was an incredible sight.

A good surprise for my visitors who are flying back to Switzerland tomorrow. And one for me, who never expected to see roses blooming by the acre in the desert.



18 thoughts on “Miles of Roses

  1. In Texas a few miles from Fort Stockton they raise shrimp in the desert. They make 16 acre ponds and pump sea water from an ancient underground sea and raise shrimp all summer and then drain the ponds and do it all again next year,

  2. While they look stunning I can’t help but think of how much water, a precious resource in the desert, is used for this luxury item. My daughter-in-law seems to have converted me, with no resistance at all, to her philosophy of ‘living simply so others might simply live.’

    I almost apologised for my viewpoint . . . and I almost deleted it thinking if I couldn’t be agreeable I should refrain but . . . let it fly, it’s just one woman’s opinion and I’m not actually criticizing anyone.

    And yes, it is truly an amazing sight.

    • I agree with you. When I think of all the water we waste on golf courses, I could weep. You don’t have to apologize for your viewpoint. I was so stunned to see roses growing here, I had to take the photo!

      • The use of water on my own garden is something I struggle with living so close to the beach – my ‘soil’ is sand really. The vegetables get watered, and I grow undemanding plants elsewhere and watch the grass almost die off at the height of summer – fortunately this part of New Zealand gets rain pretty much throughout the year.

        How I wish I liked cacti and succulents more but I don’t. I prefer rampant cottage gardens with a profusion of perennials blooming and comfort myself with the fact that the salt laden winds would decimate them.

        Hmmm, garden or beach – there’s no contest. The sun is shining again today, I can hear the surf and friends are coming to stay for a few days.

        It’s all a matter of choices.

        • What a wise decision! I have no grass–we have xeriscaping. Gravel and sand and nothing but native desert plants. OK, we have three fruit trees, but they have been on the property for 30 years and I’m not pulling them out. I had to develop a completely different eye, because I’ve always had those loose and tumbling cottage gardens, too. But I love our big blue skies, and for all the problems the desert (and living in Arizona) presents, I do love those skies.

  3. They used to be grown here for the Rose Bowl parade. And some went to florists. I’m not sure if that is still the case. Great timing that you were able to see them.
    Did you hike the Waterfall trail to see the petroglyphs? Have you seen it when the water is flowing? The White Tanks park is also a great place to go to see the wild flowers in spring. It’s one of my favorite places to go and take photos or sketch cactus also.

  4. Roses in the desert. Puts me in mind of John Mansfield;

    “I have seen flowers grow in stony places,
    And kind deeds done by men with ugly faces,
    And the gold cup won by the worst horse in the race,
    So I trust too”

  5. I once had a kind of an opposite experience back in 1994 while visiting relatives in Canada. We had spent the day at Niagara Falls and were driving back to Toronto late in the evening. In was already pitch black so we couldn’t really see the landscape except for those buildings right along the highway. Then in one valley the smell of onions filled the car. It was like if you had put your head in a bag full of fresh onions (unpeeled, no tears thankfully). Mom’s cousin explained that decades ago a tornado had moved lengthwise through the valley upturning the earth so that the valley became superbly suited for growing vegetables. Some farmers grew root vegetables like carrots and while others grew onions and garlic, and so you had acres afters acres of the same vegetables.

    It was a funny, weird experience: the blackness that revealed nothing and the smell that told you everything.

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