Garden Bloggers Fling 2017

Garden Bloggers Fling 2017 BadgeSince 2014, excluding last year, I’ve been extremely fortunate enough to attend an annual get-together of garden bloggers from across the U.S. and from as far away as the UK and Spain. What started out as a modest gathering of gardeners in Austin during 2008, has grown into an amazing multiple day event known as the Garden Bloggers Fling. This year the Fling took place in the capital region, including all types of gardens from Maryland, Virginia, and of course Washington D.C.

It’s hard for me to describe the excitement and enthusiasm I feel leading up to and during the Fling. Speaking of it afterward to family and friends results in an odd combination of me wildly gesturing while giving myself goosebumps. Their polite nods and eventual glazed eyes only confirms something I’ve suspected since my first Fling. If you are a gardener on a Garden Blogger Fling, you are with your Tribe.

Garden Blog Flingers Group Photo
Photo by Wendy Niemi Kremer

I’m naturally more of an introvert. I enjoy being around people, but it often leaves me completely drained of energy. Also, I can be a bit anxious around those I don’t know. In no other situation have I felt so comfortable and happy in the company of people I may have just met for the first time. Our shared love of gardening links us all together over those days of the Fling.

Having attended a few Flings now, I’m beginning to see familiar faces of garden bloggers I met during previous years. There is often a lot of laughter and silliness, both of which I heartily approve. This year our knowledge of irises and craft beer was tested with a game called Beer, Iris, or Both. Though a craft beer fan, I was terrible at this game!

Flingers playing game at table

We explored many gardens of all shapes and sizes together. Excited chatter and “ooo’s and ahh’s” were quite common. At times all I’d have to do is point at a stunning display and a Flinger next to me would nod, mouthing the words “I know!” I had no fear of judgement when I asked fellow Flingers to identify any plants unknown to me. I was happy to return the favor.

Gardeners in the Woods

We were able to take breaks from the heat and share some delicious meals together. One day even brought a lunch and tasting at a winery.

Gardeners at Buffet

Armed with cameras of all sizes, we’d do our best to capture the garden we were visiting. Viewing the different unique styles and creative approaches to the gardens was inspiring. Everyone knew what it meant to get that one, last photo before getting back to the bus!

Gardener Photographing Plants

By the close of the Fling, everyone is exhausted. We’d spent three spectacular days galavanting about in hort heaven together. I usually am able to sail through on an adrenaline high and then crash on returning home.

Gardener in Hammock

Just as rewarding as the exploration of the gardens was getting to know and learn from all the garden bloggers. Heralding from different USDA growing zones, we have different plant palettes from which to work. Everyone has great stories of her or his adventures in gardening to share. We may have different areas of horticulture that interest us, but goodness we all like to grow plants. And who else but a fellow gardener will completely understand why you’d haul two banana trees onto the bus with you after visiting a nursery?

I hope the stars align and I am able to attend next year’s Fling in Austin! It’s in the planner. I already am excited to reunite with those garden bloggers I just left several days ago. Also, I can’t wait to chat with those I have yet to meet.

Veggies 8.0

Like last year, the cool season crops are going in later than I’d like this season. We had been away on vacation and returned to beautiful Spring weather. After a hectic week catching up on work and a Saturday planting 3 beds for a school veggie garden volunteer project, I was finally able to focus on our own vegetable garden last night. I sketched up a cool season layout with the exciting addition of Edamame!

Then today it rained, and rained, and is still raining. Determined with a mild dash of stubbornness, this gardener put on a rain coat and proceeded to plant. However, when the carrot seeds were sticking to my cold, wet, muddy fingers, I decided to head back indoors for a bit. Instead I thought I’d log what is going in for the cool season crops this year.

2017 Spring Cool Crop Lineup

Planted May 30 despite multiple trips between rain showers to the back garden!

  • Pea Snap Cascadia (Pisum sativum) – supposed to have self-supporting 30″ vine (58 days)
  • Radish Easter Egg Blend (Raphanus sativus) – multiple colors (30 days)
  • Lettuce Gourmet Blend – blend of Prizeleaf, Royal Oak Leaf, Salad Bowl, Red Salad Bowl, and Ashley lettuces (45 days)
  • Carrots Carnival Blend (Daucus carota sativus) – multiple colors of carrots, can also be harvested early for baby carrots (65-75 days)
  • Spinach Baby’s Leaf Hybrid – harvest early for salads or later for cooking (30-40 days)
  • Arugula Rocket Salad Roquette (Eruca sativa) – salad, sandwiches, or pizza (30-45 days)
  • Onion Bunching / Scallion White Lisbon (Allium cepa) – do not thin if narrow scallions desired (60 days)
  • Edamame Butterbean (Glycine max) – edible green soybeans. technically a warm season crop, but our season is so short I’m going to take a chance and sow now. (90 days)