New eyes & ideas at the San Francisco Garden Blogger’s Fling

August 10th, 2013 Posted in Nurseries, destinations, drought, garden bloggers, garden bloggers on tour, garden design, garden designers, garden structure, lawn replace, perennials

I can’t believe I did it, but in June, I shut down three computers and left Greg in charge of bunnies, cats, dog, and garden watering to head to San Francisco for the annual Garden Blogger’s Fling!

san francisco bay

I was way overdue for a recharge.  Bloggers I’ve only met online pumped up my wonder factor when I met them face-to-face.

Kylee Baumlee Our Little Acre blog

Gardeners from around the country, Canada, and the UK swapped perceptions about designs and plants mutual and foreign.

Rebecca Sweet's garden Garden in the Gossip blog
Wave Garden San Francisco Garden Bloggers

Through camaraderie of writers in every sphere of publishing, garden design, social media, and photography, we connected our local perceptions to global ones.

Mary Ann Newcomer, Gardens of the Wild Wild West blog

Scott Weber blogger at Rhone Street Gardens

While maxing out camera cards, we extended online relationships to more personal ones of family, job challenges, and tips on everything from cameras, pillows (!), writing, anchoring squash vines, and the direction of media platforms. The combination of talk matched the eye-stounding plant combos we met, too. And you know what? I STILL don’t have my voice back.

Silver and yellow at the San Francisco Botanical Garden

Silver and magenta at Annie's Annuals
Hmm, I can already tell that I have thing about silver. I know some of you were already saying, “Oh, there she goes again with silver!”

Do these plants work for all of us?  Nope. And rats: I’d love to have this Aeonium.  Oh yeah, I’m into purple, too.

Aeonium arboreum

This hydrangea would have a heart attack the minute I pulled into the driveway.

White hydrangea in Rebecca Sweet's garden
I can’t have Kangaroo paws, but I can have agaves if I grit up my clay soil. And pick the ones that can take freaky winters.

Agave and Kangaroo paws in sculptor Matt Gil's garden

I did see many things we can grow! At Sunset magazine’s gardens, here’s a fun combination of artichokes, herbs, and cosmos.

Sunset magazine garden artichoke and cosmos

I was thrilled to actually see Sunset’s office and gardens, since I have three editions of their Western Garden Book.  And I picked up lots of ideas to try at home. I tend to be scatter-brained-planting.  This will convince me to cluster, by golly!

Sunset magazine gardens

Sunset magazine sedum flagstone ground cover

I’ve often visited Annie’s Annuals online, but meeting her and seeing her famous destination was a highlight for me.

Annie's Annuals

And what do you know, flamingos even “grow” at Annie’s, like for us.

Annie's Annuals flamingos
I’ve grown Verbena bonariensis, but it wasn’t quite like this.

Verbena bonierensis at Annie's Annuals

Check out this eye-popping design with silver ponyfoot (Dichondra argentea), wonderful for us in well-drained spots.

silver pony foot Dichondra argentea at Annie's Annuals

At a private garden, many of us agreed that the purple is Trachelium caeruleum, purple umbrella plant, which I’ve grown (but don’t take that to the bank.) Still, that combination of colors and textures is one I’m going to try with something or other.

purple and green at Wave Garden, San Francisco Fling

Wherever we live, we can create the same pictures, in our own way, with plants that suit our situation.

blue oat grass

I love the picture that designer, author and blogger Rebecca Sweet created at home. Here are just a few shots to inspire your imagination.

Rebecca Sweet edging with Echeveria imbricatas

Rebecca Sweet's garden

Rebecca Sweet garden succulent in seashell

Rebecca Sweet garden office

Sculptor Matt Gil’s home tucked under the highway would fit right in with Austin!

Sculptor Matt Gil's highway house

His tribute to beloved pets is giving me ideas! No no, I promise, no bunny carrots. But I would love to have artwork that embraces the sky.

Sculptor Matt Gil's dog bone

I also really want his kitchen and den.

Sculptor Matt Gil

His wife told me that Matt made the furniture and cabinets. The wood for the coffee table came from a tree that had died on family property.

Sculptor Matt Gil

One evening, we dined in the splendor of the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park.

Conservatory of Flowers Golden Gate Park
Renowned photographer Saxon Holt gives us a cue for our group picture.

Saxon Holt photographer

I first met Saxon by phone when he was scouting locations to photograph for The American Meadow Garden, an award-winning book written by John Greenlee.

The next day, he gave us a photography class at the San Francisco Botanical Garden, using that frame to show us how to fill the frame.

San Franciso Botanical Garden with Saxon Holt

Check out his blog, Mental Seeds, for fabulous photographs and how he does it. You don’t want to miss out on his upcoming photo tips ebook, either! He’s also one of the bloggers on the super collaboration at Gardening Gone Wild.

As you can tell, it was sunny and HOT! Over 90 degrees most of the time. Thank heavens, just as we were as wilted as even my xeric plants are right now, a gardener offered us frosty drinks and cool down in her pool. It was really a fun few minutes, documented by Janet Zargan Ledebuhr, blogger at The Queen of Seaford. It was wonderful getting to know her in person and discover that our paths sort of crossed years ago when she lived in Austin.

The Queen of Seaford pool picture San Francisco Garden Bloggers Fling

I made lifelong friends, who sent me home with a “fling” in my step. You can meet them all, too, though their wonderful blogs that tell their inspiring stories of gardens and life.

Thanks to Pam Penick, Diana Kirby, Zanthan Gardens and Bonnie Martin for starting the fling connection in its 2008 Austin debut!

And thanks for stopping by to share my adventure!  Linda

  1. 27 Responses to “New eyes & ideas at the San Francisco Garden Blogger’s Fling”

  2. By Ragna on Aug 10, 2013

    Linda, I read that you had gone to the fling and was very excited for you. I looked for you in various blog photos and was happy to spot you a couple of times. Thanks for your pictures and comments, and much appreciation to EVERYONE that blogged about the fling.


    Linda reply on August 10th, 2013 7:57 pm:

    Hi, Ragna! I didn’t write as many posts as others, but for me, this was really a break from it all to just enjoy gardens and meet people as wonderful as you are!


  3. By Kylee from Our Little Acre on Aug 10, 2013

    I just LOVE that you were there, Linda! What fun we had, didn’t we? The Bloggers Fling is THE most fun garden event of the year! S


    Linda reply on August 10th, 2013 7:55 pm:

    It was positively wonderful to meet you in person!


  4. By Jean on Aug 10, 2013

    Linda, I’m so glad you were able to take a break and make it to the Fling. I hope you can make it again next year!


    Linda reply on August 11th, 2013 3:17 pm:

    Yes, indeed! And thank you for taking the picture of us all dressed up!


  5. By Pam/Digging on Aug 10, 2013

    I’m so very glad you were able to attend, Linda! I hope you’ll be able to shut off the computers and go every year. Meeting other bloggers and seeing inspirational gardens is such a treat every year, no matter the location.

    Thanks for letting me know about Saxon’s blog. I’d not seen it yet. Also, thanks for the shout-out to the original Fling committee here in Austin, but please include Bonnie Martin of Kiss of Sun blog. She was our 4th and very helpful planner! :-)


    Linda reply on August 11th, 2013 3:16 pm:

    Will do! I should have asked you about that! It was a great experience and perhaps I’ll get to come again!


  6. By Helen on Aug 11, 2013

    Like you it was my first fling and I had to sum up lots of courage to make the journey but I am so pleased I did. It was wonderful to spend time with like minded people and make new friends. It was also great to listen to other views as it has made me re-evalue how I think about some things


    Linda reply on August 11th, 2013 3:16 pm:

    Helen, I enjoyed meeting you so much! I love your perspectives: that was the most rewarding thing.


  7. By Gail on Aug 11, 2013

    I am sorry to have missed this Fling, meeting you and seeing all the marvelous gardens. I agree with you when you said, “Wherever we live, we can create the same pictures, in our own way, with plants that suit our situation.” That is the best take away when visiting gardens so different from our own. gail


    Linda reply on August 11th, 2013 3:15 pm:

    I look forward to meeting you one of these days, Gail! I love your garden!


    Gail reply on August 12th, 2013 9:26 am:

    Thank you!


  8. By Mitzi on Aug 11, 2013

    Linda…I used to live only 1/4 mile from the Sunset headquarters in Menlo Park. There was the possibility of so many different plant materials there. I miss designing gardens with some of the plants that need more moisture and more winter chill…that urge remains from my growing up in the Pacific Northwest.


    Linda reply on August 11th, 2013 3:14 pm:

    Oh my gosh, I’d forgotten that! How lucky you were! I wish I could have stayed for days.


  9. By Bob Pool on Aug 11, 2013

    Great write up and pictures to help us stroll through the gardens with you. I appreciate it.


    Linda reply on August 11th, 2013 3:14 pm:

    Thank you, Bob! And believe me, I’m still figuring out what wonderful thing to add to our garden from your artistry.


  10. By Rebecca Sweet on Aug 11, 2013

    Linda, I can’t tell you how fun it was to have you in my very own garden (even if it was wicked hot and for a brief period of time)!! Thanks for the great photos and kind words about my own garden, too. Having missed most of the gardens on the tour it’s wonderful to see them posted here. :)


    Linda reply on August 11th, 2013 3:13 pm:

    Rebecca, you are truly a wonderful person! That smile could energize a city. I have lots more pictures for my memories!


  11. By Janet, The Queen of Seaford on Aug 11, 2013

    Great overview of the fling. Super getting to know you over the weekend AND over dinner.


    Linda reply on August 11th, 2013 3:12 pm:

    Same here! Plus, I love reading your blog about your beautiful garden and ideas. Am so sorry about picture mishap.


  12. By Helen at Toronto Gardens on Aug 11, 2013

    It was a great experience, wasn’t it, Linda? I’m glad you decided to come. Now, are you hooked on Fling?


    Linda reply on August 11th, 2013 3:12 pm:

    Yes, indeed, Helen! And it was so cool to meet you!


  13. By Molly on Aug 13, 2013

    What a wonderful escape, Linda! Thanks for this beautiful and inspiring report.


    Linda reply on August 13th, 2013 5:14 pm:

    Hi, Molly! Too bad it wasn’t cool (weather wise). Hope you all and your plants and chickens are okay with this crazy heat.


  14. By andrea @grwhryrpltd on Aug 14, 2013

    We were so glad that you were able to join us Linda! Hopefully we’ve convinced you to attend future flings as well. Just think of all the new ideas you’ll come back with…!


    Linda reply on August 14th, 2013 4:30 pm:

    Thanks for all your work, Andrea! And it was really great to see you again, too.


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