Garden Bloggers Spring Fling 2008

Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the Invitation category.

Let’s trade cards!

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 »


You’re Invited, Garden Bloggers!

Spring FlingCalling 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!

Larkspur Photo Credit M Sinclair StevensWe’d love to meet you! Details below.


Garden Bloggers Spring Fling: Saturday, April 5, 2008

Bluebonnets Photo Credit Pam PenickThis 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.

The Natural Gardener by Pam PenickAustin’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.

James David Gardens by Pam PenickWe’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.


Birdhouse Photo Credit Pam PenickAlternatively, 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

For those of you who have decided to fly in, Kathy Purdy of Cold Climate Gardening, has written up her tips on finding the cheapest fare here in her guest post How to Find Cheap Air Fares.

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

Wildflower Center Photo Credit Pam PenickYour 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.

Guest List

Are you new to garden blogging, or have you been doing it a few years? Do you use Blogger, WordPress, or Movable Type? Do you go with the default template, or do you have a highly customized site? Do you have a large web following or just write for friends and family? Whatever the case, at Garden Bloggers Spring Fling 2008 you’ll find other garden bloggers eager to share their experiences and opinions on a variety of issues: privacy, garden photography, content theft, monetizing your blog, increasing traffic. And that’s just the blog topics. Of course, we’ll talk about gardening, too.

We bet you want to know who is coming to the Spring Fling. . . Continue reading this entry »


We’ve provided some information below to help with your budgeting. There is no charge for the event itself.

Projected costs for Saturday’s group events:

  • Tour of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center — $8 (includes admission and guided tour). Any snacks at the cafe and purchases at the gift shop are extra.
  • Lunch talk with Tom Spencer at Nuevo Leon in Circle C — Fixed-price fajita buffet, $20 per person (includes tax and tip; excludes alcoholic beverages). Pre-payment required to reserve your seat, first-come first-served; email Pam in order to RSVP and get address to send a check. Seating limited to 45 people.
  • Visit to the Natural Gardener‘s display gardens and nursery — Free, but keep in mind that their plants, gifts, tools, and books are very tempting!
  • Private tour of David-Peese garden — Free!
  • Happy hour and informal blogging-discussion groups at the home of Pam Penick of Digging — Free!
  • Dinner at County Line on the Lake BBQ — Fixed-price, all-you-can-eat, 7-meat BBQ plate and dessert, $31.50 per person (includes tax and tip; excludes alcoholic beverages). Pre-payment required to reserve your seat, first-come first-served; email Pam in order to RSVP and get address to send a check. Seating limited to 40 people.


We’re looking forward to seeing you! Please help us out by sending us an email so that we can make arrangements for food and carpooling. Just click on the appropriate link below. Please include your website address in your RSVP.


I want to join the Spring Fling!


If you’re interested but need more information before making a decision, email Pam with your questions by clicking the link below.

Spring Fling Badge

Garden Bloggers Spring Fling 2008We’d appreciate your help in publicizing this event. If you’d like to show your support for the Garden Bloggers Spring Fling, either as a participant or cheerleader, we’d love for you to put our badge on your site.

1. Copy the code below.
2. Paste it into your sidebar, links, or blogroll.

This is just a link, so you should be able to add it wherever you put links. Depending on what blogging software you are using, you may want to put <div> tags around this link.


<a href=""&gt;
<img src=";
alt="Garden Bloggers Spring Fling 2008" />

How to find cheap air fares

Guest Post by Kathy Purdy of Cold Climate Gardening

Last September, I made my first air flight in thirty years. Understandably nervous and not exactly flush with cash, I researched air fares thoroughly before buying my ticket. Here are a few general tips I learned:

  • The fare will be cheaper if either your departure or your arrival date is not a weekend.
  • The earlier you book your flight, the cheaper your flight is likely to be. Given the way oil prices are rising, I’d say this is almost a given.

Websites that will help

If you don’t believe that fares are only going up, you might want to check out Farecast. For the most popular routes, it predicts whether fares are going up or down.

The more difficult problem is picking out the cheapest fare from the plethora of choices. I heartily recommend using for this task. It is a specialized search engine for air fare, incorporating Orbitz and cheaptickets as well as all the major airlines. It lets you try out different scenarios such as different times of the day, different days of the week, and different airports. You can fine tune departure and arrival times. It also lets you save searches and have them emailed to you once a week. That feature enabled me to track the fares to Austin. It started out at $240, went up to $300, went back down to $240, went up to $250, and Sunday night (January 6th) it was back down to $240 and I decided to nab it while I could. With oil prices skyrocketing I really couldn’t imagine fares getting any lower. Since then, the lowest fare has gone back up to $279.

The cheapest kinds of tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable. If you want to cancel or reschedule you’re out of luck. So make sure you’ve got your dates and times right before you hand over your plastic. (Note that you don’t actually buy tickets from Kayak. It provides the link to the actual ticket seller, and you go there to complete the transaction.)

While you’re finalizing your flight, open up Seat Guru in a separate tab or window. Find the make and model of your plane, and pick out your seat from the map provided. Notice that problem seats are identified, as are particularly advantageous ones.

Good luck bargain hunting–I hope it enables you to join us!