Arizona, Musings

Stop and Smell the Roses

red roses
Sun loving roses thrive in the desert.

The brilliant blue skies over the Valley of the Sun are, more often than not, cloudless. Phoenix is tied for #3 on the ranking of sunniest cities in the U.S. 

pink roses
Bloom-filled rose bushes reach for the sky.

It’s no surprise that the Sonoran Desert is home to the giant Saguaro cactus. But, I was surprised to learn that much of the land on the west side of the valley is dedicated to farming. The crops that thrive are those that love heat and almost constant direct sun.

straight row of yellow rose bushes
Orderly rows of blooms line the road.

Amid the white-puffed green of cotton plants and colorful, fruit-laden citrus trees are acres and acres of roses. According to, the Grand Canyon State produces three-quarters of all rose bushes sold in U.S. and Canadian stores. That’s six million rose bushes!

yellow rose bushes in foreground with jet in sky in the background
A jet zooms into the sky above the fields.

While the numbers are eye-opening, the fields are even more awe-inspiring. Under the scream of jets from Luke AFB, rose fields cover the ground.

wide shot of white and light pink roses
Roses stretch for acres across the desert floor.

If you slow down a bit on the roads that pass these fields, you can smell the roses with ease. In fact, as I drove down a local parkway (at the posted 55 mph speed limit) on an unusually puffy-clouded day, I caught a whiff of thousands and thousands of roses in bloom, compelling me to stop and capture the scene to share.

rose on a vine laying in the mud
A lonely bloom fell into the dirt … perhaps in search of a drink.

Up close, rose buds, full blooms and those at the end of their floral lifespan cluster together amid thorns in slightly muddy rows. 

bee in the center of a large pink rose
Hungry bees gather nectar and pollinate the fields.

Standing in the fragrant fields, the jet noise fades and you begin to realize the buzz of bees – everywhere – in search of pollen. 

colorful rose bushes
Colorful roses in dozens of colors.

Yellows, reds, pinks, colors that defy description burst in bloom side-by-side.

car in front of rose field
Just pull off the road and take a whiff.

There is no clear origin of the saying, “stop and smell the roses;” but if you’re passing Phoenix, take ten minutes, follow the screaming jets and make your way to North Alsup Road.

There’s a whole world out there waiting to be explored. Sometimes you really should stop and smell the roses!

© The World A to Z, LLC 2020 — Unless otherwise indicated, no compensation was received for this blog.

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