Garden Bloggers Spring Fling 2008 is over, but by all accounts it was a blooming good time. When you get 37 garden bloggers together, you can count on a lot of thoughtful writing and wonderful photographs afterward. We’ve collected links to all the follow-up posts and compiled them for you here. If you blogged about Spring Fling but don’t see your post listed, please let us know so we can include the link. (New posts will be added to the end of the list as we receive them.)
Enjoy reminiscing about the event, seeing what you missed, and/or dreaming about next year.
Pam at Digging (Austin) tells what meeting May Dreams Carol was like, while showing photos from the incredible garden of Wildflower Center-docent Jenny Stocker, who gave the early birds a tour on Friday morning. If you want to know who attended the Spring Fling, Pam posts the group photo from lunch and provides names and links. More people pics—and the Texas martini recipe—can be found along with her observations from the happy hour held at her house. She also gives us “mug shots” of the door-prize winners at the Farewell Dinner.
Bonnie at Kiss of Sun (Austin) talks about meeting bloggers and spouses at the Welcome Dinner and doing a whole lot of yakking.
Diana at Sharing Nature’s Garden (Austin) shows us the sights on the Wildflower Center tour, including that beautiful, blue Texas sky. She follows up with eye candy and some people pics from the Natural Gardener and James David’s garden.
MSS at Zanthan Gardens (Austin) blogs about the Welcome Dinner, noting that “most of our conversations included references to each other’s posts, [and] all that accumulated detail … made us feel like old friends.” A humorous follow-up post shows us pics of Mr. Peeps, her tiny golden-barrel cactus with googly eyes, who made the rounds during Spring Fling.
Frances at Faire Garden (Tennessee) escapes from a birdcage, covets glazed pots, and angers silky chickens on her virtual tour of the day.
Julie at Human Flower Project (Austin) compares the meet-up to cross-pollination and wonders what fruit will grow as a result. Read on for the ideas buzzing in her head, not to mention some fine photos. In her Photos category, she also offers a short profile of fellow blogger Kathy Purdy.
Carol at May Dreams (Indiana) posts about the collection of ideas she gathered from gardens she visited. She also writes about the metaphorical and physical journeys that gardeners make, and proclaims (to our delight) that the Spring Fling has “transformed” the world of garden blogging.
Dawn at Suburban Wildlife Garden (Austin) conveys the excitement of the day’s events and offers her favorite images from the Wildflower Center and James David’s garden.
Susan (Maryland) at Garden Rant shares meaningful quotes from Tom Spencer’s lunch talk, “Gathered Stones: Garden Memories.”
Karen at Savannah Gardener (Georgia) shows us scenes and plants she loves, like Hinckley’s columbine, from the Wildflower Center, plus huge water cisterns from the green-built Starbucks in southwest Austin.
Gail at Clay and Limestone (Tennessee) writes about an idea for an arbor she picked up in James David’s garden. In an earlier post, she talks about Spring Fling events and how her shyness evaporated when meeting other garden bloggers.
Barbara at Mr. McGregor’s Daughter (Chicago) eloquently considers the social nature of garden blogging, and how, like neighbors over a virtual fence, we wanted to meet in person. She also compares her experience of Pam’s actual garden versus her virtual one at Digging.
Lori at The Gardener of Good and Evil (Austin) talks about seeing more of Austin during Spring Fling than she’s seen while living here for four years, and she shows us some sights from Sunday’s holdover sightseeing along South Congress Avenue.
Susan at Lifescapes (central Texas) shares her joy at meeting four of the garden bloggers who have been hosting her book tour on their blogs, Cold Climate Kathy, Annie in Austin, May Dreams Carol, and Zanthan Gardens MSS.
Rachel at In Bloom (Austin) lets her photos (and her explanation of how she took them) give us a sense of the garden delights to be found during the Spring Fling.
Annie in Austin at The Transplantable Rose (Austin), feeling a little “sprung” after four days of socializing (she started early and finished late), writes that she enjoyed the carpooling as a chance to chat with other bloggers. She also posts a photo of herself with author/blogger Susan Albert, who hosted a book-signing for us at the Wildflower Center.
Linda at Herself’s Houston Garden (Texas) gives us albums of lovely photos from the Wildflower Center and James David’s garden. She also summarizes the day’s events and analyzes the differences in climate between Houston and Austin.
Elizabeth (Buffalo, NY) at Garden Rant posted early and often. She dishes about dining on “huge platters of charred flesh” at the farewell dinner and about the happy hour at Pam’s house. Midway through the Spring Fling on Saturday, she finds she can’t rant, only rave, but notes that people’s personalities differ from their online personas. Earlier, after arriving in Austin, she expresses astonishment at the number of BBQ and Tex-Mex restaurants—which she got a taste of that evening at the Welcome Dinner. Luckily her accommodation troubles didn’t spoil her trip. Click here for an album of her photos.
Layanee at Ledge and Gardens (Rhode Island) keeps her chin up while telling about her airline mishaps and missing the Spring Fling. Her tales of other travelers caught in the system along with her brings to mind the old punch line, “You can’t get there from here.”
Nancy at Nancy’s Garden Spot (Houston) enjoyed “good food and good conversation” at the Welcome Dinner; got a little lost while carpooling (but not for long) and was interviewed by a Statesman reporter at the happy hour; shows us beautiful sights from the Wildflower Center; points out that while James David’s garden is built on a grand scale, it is “full of small, cherished areas“; and ponders the food theme of her plant wish-list with photos from the Natural Gardener.
Dee at Red Dirt Ramblings (Guthrie, OK) got in early on Friday and did some garden and foodie sightseeing of her own. She also writes about the Welcome Dinner, noting that garden bloggers are both fun and LOUD. In a follow-up post, she tells us about Lady Bird Johnson and her legacy, the Wildflower Center, which we toured on Saturday.
Carol at Lost Valley Gardens (central Texas) gives her impressions of the garden tours and the lunch talk and includes some lovely photos of blooming plants.
Bill at Prairie Point (north Texas) notes that he’s not even sure how to begin to describe the events of the Spring Fling. First he must sort through 180 photos.
Libby at Aurora Primavera (Austin) touches on the instant affinity that arises between avid gardeners with “noses close to the ground.”
Cindy at From My Corner of Katy (Texas) gives us a good summary of the day, as well as the status of the wildflowers between Houston and Austin and her winning of the long-handled CobraHead tool at the County Line dinner.
Robin at Bumblebee (Maryland) admits to her initial reluctance to attend Spring Fling, though she changed her mind in order to meet Cold Climate Kathy. Now she’s friends with a whole lot of garden bloggers, many of whom are featured in great people pics here.
Anneliese at CobraHead Blog (Wisconsin) likes the sustainable-gardening mission of both the Wildflower Center and the Natural Gardener, though she bemoans her lack of photos from the visits.
Lee at The Grackle (Austin) confesses, with regard to Tom Spencer’s lunch talk, “I certainly never thought I’d get teary-eyed at the Circle C Nuevo Leon with a bunch o’ gardeners, but Tom worked his magic!”
Brianna at Seeds (Austin) follows up with photos of James David’s garden. She writes, “What a privilege, to be full-time stewards of such a lush, vibrant space.”
Dee at Red Dirt Ramblings (Guthrie, OK) gives us a reflective review of Tom Spencer’s talk, reminding us that we’re all trying to find and create, in Tom’s words, “approachable beauty.”
Stuart at Gardening Tips ‘n’ Ideas (western Australia) gives us a nice shout-out, wishes he could have attended, and wonders whether Spring Fling will be an annual event.
Laura at Greenfish Artist and Gardener (Louisiana) shows off her artistic eye with beautiful photos from the Wildflower Center and hopes to have made lifelong friends at Spring Fling.
Bonnie at Kiss of Sun (Austin) tells us what she learned at Spring Fling and concludes, “Bringing together so many creative and passionate gardeners can create an energy that you can carry away with you.”
Tom at Soul of the Garden (Austin) lets his camera do the talking with a series of photos of James David and Gary Peese’s amazing garden. Scroll down to “April 10–morning” to find the post.
Diana at Sharing Nature’s Garden (Austin) gives us more photos from the David-Peese garden and summarizes the up-and-down temperatures that characterized Spring Fling weather.
Dee at Red Dirt Ramblings (Guthrie, OK) tells about hanging out at Pam’s house during the happy hour and about meeting author Robin Chotzinoff.
Kathy at Cold Climate Gardening (upstate NY) writes about meeting other bloggers at the Spring Fling, and finding time to talk to some but not enough time to talk to everyone.
MSS at Zanthan Gardens (Austin) points out that many Spring Flingers took a photo of James David’s formal lawn. She wonders what drew so many of us to that elegant, grassy space, even while we didn’t venture into it.
Annie in Austin at The Transplantable Rose (Austin) gives us snapshot memories from the Fling.
Mary Ann at Idaho Gardener (Boise) took excellent notes on the Wildflower Center tour and laments not being able to bring home a copper globe mallow from the Natural Gardener. She shares the joy of discovering the yummy Texas (or Mexican) martini. Lucinda’s colorful garden (visited on Sunday) and James’s elegant one are showcased in her third post.
Pam at Digging (Austin) gives a photo tour of Lucinda Hutson’s enchanting Mexican-themed garden, which the late stayers and some Austin bloggers visited on Sunday after the Fling.
Vive at Something About Blooming and Butterflies (Austin) is thankful for “gardening conversations, our stunning stroll through James David’s garden, those 100 buds waiting on Pam’s Belinda’s Dream, [and hearing poet] Mary Oliver aloud again.”
Kathy at Cold Climate Gardening (upstate NY) walks us through MSS’s cottagey meadow garden, shows us poppies and bird baths at the Natural Gardener, and considers the pathways that made her uncomfortable in James David’s garden.
Pam at Digging (Austin) serves up her cannellini bean dip recipe from the happy hour at the Spring Fling.
Susan (Maryland) at Garden Rant posts about a coffee break at Starbucks, its green roof, and huge rain cisterns.
Robin at People with Dirty Hands (Austin) reprints her article about the Spring Fling that appeared in the Austin American-Statesman, where she’s a garden columnist. She dubs May Dreams Carol “a rock star” and interviews Dee and MSS to learn more about the attractions of garden blogging.
A big thank-you to the following businesses and individuals for sponsoring the Garden Bloggers Spring Fling by donating items for our fun door-prize giveaway. If you’re a garden retailer or author and would like to become a sponsor, please email us. Thank you!
And Spring Flingers, while you’re in Austin, if you have time to visit a garden center or two, please consider patronizing the local businesses listed below, and tell them you’re with the GBSF.
The Great Outdoors (local nursery in south Austin)
Shoal Creek Nursery (local nursery in north-central Austin)
Barton Springs Nursery (local nursery in west Austin)
Red Barn Garden Center (local nursery in north Austin)
Nan Ondra of Gardening Gone Wild
Susan Wittig Albert of Lifescapes
Door prizes, courtesy of our sponsors, will be awarded at the County Line dinner on Saturday, April 5. Click here for information about reserving your seat at dinner. We will update this page as we receive more donations, so check back periodically to see what goodies you might win.
Indoor/outdoor copper-finish thermometer
Star/moon ball (garden accent or candle holder)
Wide-brimmed UPF 50 Sun Hat
Seed sprouter kit with 3 bags of seeds
Garden Walk Buffalo book and DVD
Grime Bar hand-milled soap, a tube of Recovery Rub, & SPF lip balm
Elephant ear bulbs with growing instructions
The Heirloom Tomato Cookbook by Mimi Luebberman
Decorative copper-finish watering can
One-year subscription to Mother Earth News, 3 back issues of the magazine, a trowel, a cultivator, and a “Mother Earth News” tote bag
One-year subscription to The Herb Companion, 3 back issues of the magazine, a trowel, a cultivator, and an “Herb Cultivator” tote bag
Green, wooden “Garden” sign
Two colorful bucket carry-alls, one red and one blue
The top 5 “Green Garden” books from Timber Press: The Truth About Organic Gardening: Benefits, Drawbacks, and the Bottom Line by Jeff Gillman; The Truth About Garden Remedies: What Works, What Doesn’t, and Why by Jeff Gillman; Teaming with Microbes: A Gardener’s Guide to the Soil Food Web by Jeff Lowenfels & Wayne Lewis; Green Roof Plants: A Resource and Planting Guide by Edmund C. Snodgrass and Lucie L. Snodgrass; Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens by Douglas W. Tallamy.
Signed copy of Fallscaping by Nancy Ondra and Stephanie Cohen
Walks, Walls & Patio Floors, by Sunset Books
Sheds & Garages, by Sunset Books
Trellises & Arbors, by Sunset Books
Backyards for Kids, by Sunset Books
When I lunched with the Austin bloggers last September, someone (it might have been me) started passing around a business card with their blog info, and before you know it, people all around the table were digging out and passing around their cards–except one. A wail of “I forgot to bring mine! I didn’t know we’d be trading cards!” was sympathetically acknowledged as we each gave her one of ours.
Don’t let it happen to you! If you’ve never thought about getting some cards to promote your blog, please consider it. Here’s three different options: Continue reading this entry »
After a whirlwind day of garden tours and Tom Spencer’s lunch talk, Spring Fling attendees are invited to kick back at a happy hour from 5 to 7 pm at the home of Digging‘s Pam Penick. A wine and Texas martini bar will be set up in Pam’s garden, weather permitting, with appetizers to tide you over until dinner. This will be an opportunity to get to know the other garden bloggers, share laughs, or just relax for an hour or so.
Naturally, we’ll talk blogging too. In fact, two well-known, talented garden bloggers have agreed to lead informal discussion groups about blogging during the happy hour.
Carol of May Dreams Gardens will start a chat about the social aspects of blogging: attracting visitors to one’s blog and creating a feeling of community. Carol’s innovations like Garden Bloggers Bloom Day and Garden Bloggers Book Club, her engaging, daily posts, and her talent for asking questions that we want to answer prove her skill at bringing bloggers together and attracting visitors. She’s consistently held the top spot on the Most Favourited Blogs page at Blotanical, and she’s the garden blogger we’d most like to have as a neighbor.
Kathy Purdy, pioneer garden blogger at Cold Climate Gardening, will open a conversation about the technical side of blogging. If you don’t know a widget from feedburner, if acronyms like html, css and rss confound you, or if you ever wondered how to monetize your blog, Kathy can make sense of the insensible. In addition to her excellent garden blog, she keeps the website Blogging Art & Practice, where she posts about the technical aspects of blogging and translates jargon into plain English as a blogging coach. She recently gave a presentation at a symposium of the Garden Writers Association, introducing blogging concepts to traditional-media garden writers.
We invite Spring Fling guests to join Kathy and Carol in these conversations. These aren’t lectures but open discussions, so make yourselves comfortable and feel free to ask questions and share your thoughts. If you wish, send discussion topics in advance to Carol or Kathy. Kathy adds that topics not covered at the Spring Fling will be addressed, time permitting, at Blogging Art & Practice.
We’ll end the discussion groups in time for general socializing, and then we’ll head to the County Line on the Lake for a farewell dinner, where some lucky garden bloggers will win fabulous, garden-themed door prizes. Be sure to RSVP and send pre-payment in order to hold your seat at dinner. Reservations required.
See you at the Spring Fling!
Austin is famous for its barbecue and Tex-Mex cuisines. A tasty fajita lunch and a Texas-sized BBQ dinner will keep our army of garden bloggers on its feet as we Spring Fling around town. If you travel on your stomach, here are some details you might be craving.
Lunch with Tom Spencer: “Gathered Stones: Garden Memories”
Saturday, April 5, 11:30 am to 1:00 pm
Nuevo Leon in Circle C
5900 West Slaughter Lane #D550
Beef and Chicken Fajita Buffet
$20 per person (includes tax and tip)
Marinated, grilled beef and chicken with tortillas, served with guacamole, sour cream, cheese, pico de gallo, rice and beans. Includes chips, salsa, and iced tea.
Other beverages or alcoholic drinks are not included and must be paid for separately.
BBQ Dinner and Door Prizes
Saturday, April 5, 7:30 pm
County Line on the Lake
5204 FM 2222
“The Cadillac” All-You-Can-Eat
$31.50 per person (includes tax and tip)
Choose up to 7 meats including: lean brisket, moist brisket, sausage, beef ribs, pork ribs, chicken, and ham. (Turkey may be substituted for brisket, beef ribs, or pork ribs at no charge.) Veggies include potato salad, cole slaw, and beans. Beverages include sodas and iced tea. Homemade bread and ice cream are also included.
Other beverages or alcoholic drinks are not included and must be paid for separately.
They don’t call it a party room for nothing! A few lucky guests will win fabulous, garden-related door prizes.
Friday Welcome Dinner
Matt’s El Rancho, 6:00 pm SHARP
2613 S Lamar Blvd
If you’ll be in town on Friday evening, the Austin garden bloggers would be pleased to join you for a Tex-Mex dinner and welcome you to Austin. We are not renting a party room at Matt’s, and everyone will be ordering off the menu, so we do not require pre-payment for this meal. However, in order to make a reservation for a big-enough table or group of tables, we ask that you let us know as soon as possible whether you’ll be joining us.
How To Make a Seating Reservation
We’ve reserved private dining rooms at both Nuevo Leon and The County Line on the Lake. Seating is limited to 45 and 40 guests, respectively, and a spot will be held in your name with pre-payment. Already nearly half of the seats at lunch are spoken for, so we encourage you to send payment ASAP to hold your spot.
In order to accommodate as many bloggers as possible, seating at both lunch and dinner is currently restricted to garden bloggers only. However, if dinner seating is still available on March 15, the reservation deadline, we may open seating at the County Line to spouses/significant others as well. Seating reservations and payment will be considered final as of March 15. After March 15, we cannot accept cancellations, and no refunds will be given. Space in the private rooms is limited to those purchasing meals.
Please send a check for the total amount for one or both Saturday meals in order to hold your seats. Seats available on a first-come, first-served basis, so don’t delay. Checks should be made out to Pam Penick and mailed to her; email Pam for the address. Please indicate on the check which meal(s) you are paying for. She will send you confirmation of your reservation(s) via email.
Please email us if you have any questions about the meals or the seat-reservation process. We look forward to seeing you on April 5th!
Contact: Make Lunch and Dinner Reservations
James David’s Garden Will Wow at GB Spring Fling
We’re pleased to announce that our afternoon tours will conclude with a visit to the world-class garden of James David and Gary Peese, founders of Gardens, a stylish nursery and home-decor shop here in Austin. An internationally acclaimed landscape architect, principal of David/Peese Design, and a discerning plantsman, David will show us around his magnificent, 2-acre garden, which is a regular stop on the Open Days Austin tours and frequently featured in magazines including House & Garden, Metropolitan Home, Garden Design, and House Beautiful.
Calling all garden bloggers! It’s the Garden Bloggers Spring Fling, Saturday, April 5, 2008.
The Austin garden bloggers invite you to join us for a day of socializing with other garden bloggers, tours of public and private gardens, a talk by Soul of the Garden’s Tom Spencer, and informal discussions about blogging at a happy hour in the garden of Digging’s Pam Penick. This is your chance to meet your favorite garden bloggers in person, put faces to familiar names, and get to know new bloggers!
We’d love to meet you! Details below.
- Transportation in Austin
and How to Find Cheap Air Fares
- Guest List
- Meals & Reserving a Seat
- Happy Hour & Blogging Discussion Groups
- Garden Tour: James David’s Garden
- Sponsors & Door Prizes
- Spring Fling Badge
Garden Bloggers Spring Fling: Saturday, April 5, 2008
- 09:00. Tour, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
- 11:30. Lunch talk with Soul of the Garden‘s Tom Spencer
- 1:30. Tour, Natural Gardener nursery
- 2:30. Tour, the private garden of James David and Gary Peese
- 5:00. Happy Hour/Blogging discussions, Pam Penick‘s home and garden
- 7:30. Dinner and door prizes, County Line on the Lake BBQ
This fun and informative weekend begins at 9 am on Saturday morning with a docent-led tour of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, a unique, native-plant botanic garden and research center, where the famous Texas bluebonnets should be in bloom.
After the tour, we’ll enjoy a fajita lunch at Nuevo Leon and a talk by Tom Spencer called “Gathered Stones: Garden Memories.” Tom is a KLRU-TV host, producer, writer, photographer, and winner of the 2007 Mouse & Trowel Award for Gardening Website of the Year at Soul of the Garden.
Austin’s best-known organic nursery, the Natural Gardener, will be our next stop, where we’ll stroll through inspirational display gardens that include a butterfly garden, herb garden, orchard, and labyrinth and tepee garden. If you want to do any shopping, the nursery has a great selection of plants, pots, tools, books, and gifts.
We’ll conclude our garden tours with a visit to the world-class personal garden of James David and Gary Peese, founders of Gardens. An internationally acclaimed landscape architect, principal of David/Peese Design, and a discerning plantsman, David will show us around his magnificent garden, which is a regular stop on the Open Days Austin tours.
Later that afternoon, Digging‘s Pam Penick will host a casual happy hour at her home and garden, with blogging discussions led by Carol of May Dreams Gardens and Kathy of Cold Climate Gardening. For dinner we’ll dig into some famous Texas BBQ at County Line on the Lake, and some lucky winners will take home garden-related door prizes.
Pre-Event Dinner: Friday, April 4, 2008
For those arriving on Friday, April 4th, the Austin bloggers would be delighted to meet for a group dinner at Matt’s El Rancho. When you RSVP (below), please let Pam know if you would like to join us for dinner on Friday.
Sunday, April 6, 2008
No events are planned for Sunday, leaving it open for sightseeing or departure. Check out our pages on Austin Sightseeing and Garden-Related Day Trips for fun things to do around town and in central Texas. When you RSVP, feel free to use the comment fields as a bulletin board to find other bloggers willing to meet up for a day trip or sightseeing.
Holiday Inn Express–Sunset Valley
4892 US Hwy. 290 West
We have reserved 10 rooms at a special group rate at the Holiday Inn Express–Sunset Valley, conveniently located just 9 miles southwest of downtown. Amenities include free Wi-Fi, a continental breakfast, fitness center, and outdoor pool.
Group rates for April 4 & 5:
One king bed—$100/night + 13% tax
Two queen beds—$115/night + 13% tax
To reserve your room at the group rate, click here to proceed directly to the reservation desk. (When you make your reservation online, the tax rate may show up as 15%, but the hotel assures us it is 13%.) If you wish to extend your stay outside of these dates, you will need to book a separate reservation on the hotel’s website or contact them directly at Holiday Inn Express-SW (512) 891-9500.
The deadline to reserve a room at the group rate is March 21 at 11:59 pm. The rate will be valid as long as the hotel has rooms available, up to and including March 21.
Click here for a map and directions to the hotel.
Alternatively, several Austin bloggers are offering guest space in their homes. These spaces are very limited in number.
If you are interested in requesting one of these rooms or sleeper sofas, email Pam ASAP.
Getting to Austin
From the Airport
From the Austin-Bergstrom airport (ABIA) cab and shuttle service to and from your hotel is available via Super Shuttle and other providers. For sightseeing convenience (there’s a lot to do in Austin!), you will probably want to rent a car. If you are staying with a local blogger, she or he will try to arrange a personal pick-up and drop-off at the airport.
While in Austin
Your Austin hosts will provide carpooling to Saturday’s events to those without transportation. Or, if you prefer the convenience and flexibility of your own transportation, you may wish to rent a car.
If you are driving to Austin on Saturday, we encourage you to meet us at the Wildflower Center (click here for map) that morning and then caravan with us for the rest of the day. Plan to arrive at the Wildflower Center by 8:45 a.m. to give yourself ample time to park and walk the short trail into the Main Courtyard, where we will gather at 9 a.m. for our tour.