The moment I was out the door of the airport terminal it was clear Arizona flora differs from that of Pennsylvania. This is the median across from the platform where I caught my ride to the hotel.
As a member of the Garden Writers Association, I was fortunate to have attended this year’s annual symposium in Tucson, Arizona. The trip was a terrific break from central Pennsylvania. Being used to lush, green farmland, I was excited to visit a city in the desert.
A day at the symposium includes the option to attend as many as three seminars from a selection of nine, and to tour area gardens. There might also be social events such as dancing or karaoke, and there’s unscheduled time when attendees can get together for meals, drinks, and conversation.
A great perk of attending is that garden industry businesses set up booths on a show floor where attendees can see new garden products and talk with people who are experts about them. Better still: many of those “vendors” pack free samples, and attendees can take home the latest plants, tools, pest repellents, soils, and fertilizers.
Scenes from Tucson
This post is to share scenes from my trip to the Symposium. I’ll try to follow up soon with a roundup of the products I saw on the show floor.
The front desk clerk at the hotel sent me outside to find my room; something I thought only happened at budget hotels. Then again, the hallway to my room at a luxury hotel had never before looked like this one.
I might have exaggerated to call the path in the previous photo the hotel’s “hallway.” I had to cross a bridge over ornamental plantings to reach this balcony that provided access to my room. At certain times of day (and night), the light and shadows begged to be photographed.
From a balcony overlooking the swimming area, I looked across at building D – the one that held my room for the weekend. What we call mountains in Pennsylvania would be foothills to Arizona mountains.
It’s hard to do the hotel’s pool area justice with a single photograph. At night, there were fire rings, poolside service, Jacuzzi activity, and even a swimmer or two. I particularly enjoyed the desert plants distributed along the poolside paths.
Thankfully, cacti in the swimming areas attracted light fixtures so it was unlikely people would skewer toes on cactus spines.
The first stop of the one tour I was able to enjoy was at Native Seeds SEARCH, a seed bank in Tucson. I loved seeing food crops planted among a boulder field, and other plantings on desert land with a simple drip irrigation system. I’d never seen sorghum plants and was impressed at how much they look like corn. Click this link to find more about the Native Seeds SEARCH visit.
Our tour visited a private residence surrounded by the owner’s work of love. This was a garden begging us to settle into lawn chairs and watch the plants grow.
The tour I enjoyed ended at the Benedictine Sisters Monastery, a classic building with a generous garden. My favorite components of the garden were a vegetable patch mulched with carpeting and an orange grove in the shadow of towering palms.
Here’s one of the towering palms at the Benedictine Sisters Monastery. Finches were flitting among the orange fruits which I can only guess might have been dates.
From Tucson to Newark, NJ by plane involved a lengthy stopover in Los Angeles and a flight path over Chicago. This was the view as we passed over the east side of the city.