Tohono Chul starts its watch for night queen
Randy Metcalf/The Explorer, Tohono Chul Park has began watching the night-blooming cereus, and plans a special night of viewing between now and July.

It's hot, buds are forming, and the watch for blossoms on the night-blooming cereus has begun at Tohono Chul Park.

On one night between the end of May and late July, the park opens to the public for a once-a-year tour of mass blooms.

In late May, the park plans to begin updates of the progress of bud growth and projections of bloom night. To access updates, visit the Park website, call the bloom hotline at 742-6455, extension 915; try a cell phone tour at 520-226-3022 prompt 3; or sign up for e-mail notification at the park's Web-site,

"We anticipate that this year will be an above-average bloom night, since we had good summer rains last year and fair-good winter rains this winter," a release from the park said. "Time will tell."

When the night arrives, the Paseo del Norte park is open from 6 p.m. until midnight. Curator of plants Russ Buhrow talks about the "queen of the night" at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. in the Performance Garden. Docents and staff will assist people on the trail and answer questions.

The evening is free to park members and children under 12 years old. Non-members are $5. Refreshments will be available, as well as a raffle to win night-blooming cereus plants.

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