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Garden communication pros tour Tucson Monastery

Garden communication pros tour Tucson Monastery - (15-10-2012)

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Photo: Members of the international Garden Writers Association tour the grounds of the Tucson Monastery Saturday as part of the group's annual symposium on gardens and horticulture.

People with an eye for a beautiful garden got an inside look Saturday at a unique place - a monastery.

The Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in Tucson, Ariz., opened their doors to members of the Garden Writers Association during its annual symposium held in the city.

The tour showcased spots around Tucson that were selectively chosen to highlight the horticulture industry and public and private gardens.

Program attendees visited sites such as the Tucson Botanical Gardens, the Alan D. Richards Garden, the Native Seed/SEARCH seed bank, the Community Gardens of Tucson (hosted in part by the Benedictine Sisters) and the Sisters' monastery.

"They told us we were the first monastery that has opened its doors to the group, and many expressed how peaceful it was, walking through the landscaped grounds," Tucson Prioress Sister Ramona Varela, OSB said, noting that the grounds have undergone extensive improvements over the past few years due to the efforts of a dedicated core of local volunteers and professionals.

While at the monastery, attendees learned about the Sisters' solar energy array that provides a majority of power for the buildings, date and citrus orchards, a meditation garden, various courtyards and part of the Community Gardens of Tucson.

The Garden Writers Association is a non-for-profit organization for professionals devoted to garden-related content. The group includes professionals from around the world with a wide-range of occupations such as writers, photographers, editors, columnists, lecturers and broadcast personalities.

"The weather was beautiful, and the day could not have been more lovely," Sister Ramona said. "Those who visited us were so appreciative and grateful to experience our corner of the world. It was a joy having them here."