Tucson, Arizona 2012

October 12th through 15th I was in Tucson, Arizona for the Garden Writer’s Conference. It was hot and dry there. Nearly 50 years ago I was in White Sands New Mexico while in the Army. The bedding they gave us included two blankets. I thought “Are they crazy? it’s 90 degrees during the day yet the next morning as I walked outside to go to the mess hall for breakfast I saw patches of snow on the ground. I saw several stream beds in Tucson but they were dry. Speaking of dry, you’ve heard of raised beds I am sure. In AZ they have sunken beds where when and if it rains the bed will hold the water.

Tucson is located in the Sonora desert and has mostly scrawny plants compared to the southeast and they have various cacti that are attractive. At two homes on our tour of gardens we were served a drink made from the tuna (reddish fruit) of the prickly pear cactus blended with lemonade. It tasted great and had a beautiful color. At a Monastery we saw citrus plants, date palms, nut trees and more.I think we were told they had their own well. I didn’t see any rain barrels. The hotel we stayed at was extremely nice: the Westin La Paloma. their backdrop was a beautiful mountain range. Seems there was about seven swimming areas with two being reserved for adults only. In one pool you could swim right up to the bar and order food or drink. One of the events was contra dancing. Pat Stone and a local blonde haired beautiful young lady drug me out on the floor and I danced till I was out of breath and my vision was blurry. It was great fun and I would do it again. At the Trade Show we were give plant samples of new introductions, mostly roses but also a couple of salvias, raspberries and blueberries plus a few tools like pruners and sprinklers. It is always a source of anxiety to me of how I will get this stuff home. I mentioned it at the front desk and to my surprise they had a department that handled that. They came to my room and picked up the plants, packaged them and shipped them UPS to my home where they arrived a day after I did. Took me two days to plant them all. Though I enjoyed every minute of the conference it was good to get home where I could sprawl and help myself to food in the refrigerator plus it was great to have thick, soft toilet paper for a change. I think I will start carrying a roll with me on trips.

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