Monday, May 28, 2018

Souvenir book commemorates 10th anniversary of the Fling

Every blogger who attended Austin Garden Bloggers Fling this year received a 10th anniversary commemorative booklet. Conceived by Diana Kirby as a scrapbook-style souvenir book packed with photos and an evocative summary about each year's Fling, it showcases the bloggers and the gardens we've seen during 11 years of Flinging, from Austin in 2008 to the Capital Region in 2017. We hope you delight as much in the memories as we do!
For those who weren't able to attend this year, we're pleased to be able to share the souvenir booklet online as a pdf, which you're welcome to download for your own keepsake.

Here is the booklet's introduction, commemorating a decade of fun at Garden Bloggers Fling:

Garden Bloggers Fling has been bringing bloggers together since 2008, attracting garden lovers from across North America and Europe. But how is it that we've come to "Fling," meeting up for 3-1/2 days of garden touring, socializing, and networking in a new city every year for 10 years?

It began in April 2008 in Austin, where local bloggers met regularly to get to know each other beyond the anonymity of the internet. One of the bloggers, Pam Penick of Digging, got the crazy idea to invite all garden bloggers to Austin for a "Spring Fling" - a day to visit gardens, socialize, and talk about blogging. She and 3 other Austin bloggers began planning, and the Fling was born.

A sample page from the souvenir booklet
But would anybody come? Flying to a city where you knew someone only through their blog required a leap of faith. Remarkably, people leaped! That first Fling had 37 garden bloggers from 12 U.S. states. It was a hit!

Since then, the Fling has blossomed into a 3-1/2-day annual event that brings 75-100 bloggers together in a different city each year to enjoy private and public gardens, nursery shopping, an opening reception and banquet dinner, swag bags and raffle prizes given by generous sponsors, and, most importantly, the opportunity to meet fellow garden lovers who share that passion through blogging. Although we may hail from vastly different growing zones and have diverse gardening interests, the Fling brings us together.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Garden Bloggers Fling, and so it seems fitting to return to Austin, where it all began, to "Fling" once again. This anniversary souvenir booklet celebrates our one-of-a-kind event and the many fond memories and lasting friendships made across 10 years of the Fling.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

2018 Sponsor Directory is now online

We can't thank our 2018 sponsors enough for their support of Austin Fling! For their financial support and in-kind donations, sponsors received, in addition to other benefits, a listing and/or ad space in our sponsor directory. Each blogger who attended Austin Fling received a printed copy.

And now the 2018 Sponsor Directory is online and viewable as a pdf. You'll find the link in our sidebar, and you can also click on it right here. Please enjoy perusing the gardener-friendly companies whose support helped us to put on our fun-filled event and keep costs low. If you like what you find, we hope you'll support them in return with likes, links, and shout-outs on your blog and other social media. 

Correction: We regret that Proven Winners' ad was inadvertently left out of the directory. We apologize for this oversight. Please know that we greatly appreciate their support as well!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Read all about Austin Fling 2018: Our blog posts

We love reading your posts about Austin Fling, and so do other bloggers, our tour's garden owners and sponsors, and the gardening public. To help us find your posts as you publish over the weeks and months ahead, please tag them on Facebook and Instagram with our hashtag #gbfling2018. Also, please share your blog links on our official Facebook page or by emailing the link to our Austin Fling email address.

Here are the blog posts about Austin Fling, organized by date (May 3-6) and location (or "general," if covering multiple locations), that we've collected for your reading pleasure.




Pre-Fling and May 3 - Day 1



Callicarpa: Austin Public Library and Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail

Rock Rose: A FLINGing good time

It's a Dry Heat: Thursday: Pre-Garden Bloggers Fling ’18

Alyse Lansing Garden Design: Austin Garden Tours: begin

Danger Garden: Who did it first?

Queen of the Dirt: Austin pre-Fling road trips… Antique Rose Emporium

Queen of the Dirt: Austin pre-Fling road trips…Friendly Natives Nursery

Queen of the Dirt: Austin pre-Fling road trips… heading west

Rock-Oak-Deer: Garden Blogger's Fling 2018: Getting There



May 4 - Day 2

Through the Greenhouse Glass: Austin Garden Tours, Day One!

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

The Patient Gardener: Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Centre 


Tales from Awkward Hill: Wildflowers in Texas (believe it or not)

The Paintbox Garden: Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Chickadee Gardens: Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center: Garden Blogger's Fling, Austin

The Rainy Day Garden: Stormy Skies at The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Queen of the Dirt: Howdy from Austin…Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Dallas Garden Buzz: Garden Bloggers Fling Day 1 and Stop 1

Succulents and More: Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, Austin, TX (#gbfling2018)


Diana Kirby Garden

Garden With Diana: Garden of Diana Kirby 


The Natural Gardener

Chickadee Gardens: The Natural Gardener Nursery: Garden Blogger's Fling, Austin

Queen of the Dirt: Howdy from Austin…The Natural Gardener


Jenny Stocker Garden

Garden with Diana: Garden of Jenny Stocker

The Patient Gardener: A garden of inspiration

Rock Rose: Friday at the Fling

Plant + Shoot: SHOOT: how to use leading lines for better garden photos

A Growing Obsession: friday clippings 5/18/18

Ramblings from a Desert Garden: An English Garden with Texas Flair

Late to the Garden Party: Rock Rose in the Rain (Garden Bloggers' Fling)

Commonweeder: A Texas Garden with Rooms, Blooms – and Art

The Paintbox Garden: A Texas Garden with English Roots

Danger Garden: Visiting Jennifer's garden...during the Austin Fling

Succulents and More: England meets Texas: Jenny Stocker's walled garden (#gbfling2018)


Mirador Garden

A Growing Obsession: multifaceted Mirador house, Austin TX

Succulents and More: Mirador Garden: steel and succulents in Austin, TX (#gbfling2018)

The Paintbox Garden: Mirador – Steel, Limestone & Design Panache in Austin

Chickadee Gardens: Garden Blogger's Fling, Austin: Mirador Garden



May 5 - Day 3


Through the Greenhouse Glass: Austin Garden Tours, Day Two!


Pam Penick Garden 

Danger Garden: The 2018 Austin GB Fling; Pam Penick's garden

My Northern Garden: Garden Your Garage

Garden with Diana: Garden of Pam Penick

Ramblings from a Desert Garden: A Shady, Colorful Garden Personifies The Uniqueness of Austin

Late to the Garden Party: Digging into Pam Penick's Garden (Garden Bloggers' Fling)

GardenBook: C'mon Lets Go Over to Pams' !! Garden Bloggers Fling 2018-Austin

The Paintbox Garden: Texas Rhapsody in Blue

Queen of the Dirt: Howdy from Austin…digging under the Death Star


Colleen Jamison Garden

Sign of the Times: Friday Bench: Along the Median Strip

The Paintbox Garden: Birds, Bling and Beguiling Brown


B. Jane Garden

Ramblings from a Desert Garden: Vacation at Home: A Contemporary, Low-Maintenance Garden

The Paintbox Garden: Chic and Sleek in Austin


Tanglewild Gardens

Late to the Garden Party: Tanglewild Gardens (2018 Garden Bloggers' Fling)


May 6 - Day 4


Gardening Turned Up to Eleven: Wednesday Vignettes - From the 2018 Austin Fling

Through the Greenhouse Glass: Austin Garden Tours - Day Three!

It's a Dry Heat: Sunday: Garden Bloggers Fling ’18


Lucinda Hutson Garden

Garden with Diana: Garden of Lucinda Hutson

Natural Gardening: A wonderful Fling

Red Dirt Ramblings: Lucinda Hutson's Garden

Cottage in the Court: Lucinda’s Garden – Love On Earth

Late to the Garden Party: Immersion in Lucinda Hutson's Joyous Spirit (Garden Bloggers' Fling)

Frau Zinnie: Whimsical elements complement author's paradise

Rock Rose: Lucinda's Garden


Margie McClurg Garden

Danger Garden: The Margie McClurg garden, a stop on the 2018 Garden Bloggers Fling


Ruthie Burrus Garden

My Northern Garden: Gardening for Pollinators in a Big Way

Queen of the Dirt: Howdy from Austin…almost above the clouds


David Salman Lunch Talk

Red Dirt Ramblings: Why Do Gardens Matter?


Kirk Walden Garden

Wills Family Acres: Garden Bloggers Fling Austin – Kirk Walden’s Garden

Digging: Kirk Walden’s Hill Country garden atop Lake Austin


Articulture BBQ Bash

Danger Garden: Articulture, the amazing end of the 2018 Garden Bloggers Fling


General/Multiple Days






Piece of Eden: Flung!







Just a Girl with a Hammer: Bugs, booze, and brisket


Veg Plotting: Postcard from Texas




Succulents and More: Austin, TX gardens from M to Z






Dig, Grow, Compost, Blog: What Is It About Austin Gardens?

Piece of Eden: Fling 2018: People in Garden Pictures

The Patient Gardener: Austin – Tchotchke

Gardening in a Drought: Plant and Repeat

Ramblings from a Desert Garden: Garden Inspiration: Southwest Style




Sponsor Giveaways and Visits










 
 



 






Monday, May 7, 2018

Thank You






















From the Garden Bloggers Fling Austin team - we thank you for coming to Austin to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Fling.  We loved showing you around Austin and our gardens, and we can't wait to see all your posts.

Our group photo includes more bloggers than ever before at 92 participants, and we are delighted that so many of you joined us for this event.

We also thank our many generous sponsors who made this great event possible.  

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.

Diana Kirby
Pam Penick
Laura Wills
Sheryl Williams
Jennifer Brown


Friday, April 27, 2018

Austin Fling FAQ

You've got questions? We've got answers! Austin Fling kicks off next Thursday, and as you put together your packing list we're here to answer your frequently asked questions plus offer a few tips you might not have thought to ask about.


Itinerary and Scheduling


What is the first thing to do for the Fling?
We encourage you to come pick up your swag bag and nametag in the hotel lobby (Courtyard Austin Downtown) on Thursday between 3 and 5 pm. The swag bags will contain the itinerary, so you'll have the daily schedule. Then from 5:15 to 5:30 pm, meet us in the lobby, and at 5:30 pm we'll walk together to the Welcome Party at Central Library

What if I arrive too late to get my swag bag?
If you miss the swag-bag pickup at 3-5 pm on Thursday, you can get it after the Welcome Party ends by picking it up from organizer Pam Penick from 8:30-9 pm Thursday evening. Text her to let her know you'd like to pick it up -- and please provide your name so she knows who's texting. Her phone number will be provided in an email sent to all registered attendees later today. Please save that email for your reference.

I'm arriving on Thursday after the Welcome Party begins. Is it OK to come late? 
Yes! Come anytime between 6 and 8 pm. We'll be at the Central Public Library in the Special Event Center on the 1st Floor. Parking at the library is limited, so we recommend a ride-share, cab, or pedicab. Info about public transportation is here, under Getting Around Downtown.

I won't arrive until Friday. How do I get my itinerary/nametag/swag bag? And what time do I catch the bus?
Check your email later today to see if you're signed up for Friday's early bus for the photography workshop (this was a limited-seat sign-up option when you registered) or if you're on the later bus. The early bus departs at 7:30 am on Friday (boards at 7:20 am). The later bus departs at 8:30 am (boards at 8:20 am). Pam will bring the unclaimed bags/nametags to the lobby from 7 to 8 am, so find her then.

I will be commuting to the hotel. Where and what time do I meet the tour bus?
Meet in the hotel lobby at least 15 minutes before the bus departure time. If you don't see a crowd in the lobby, check outside to see if the buses are loading. If you're a local and will be driving to the hotel each day, plan for Austin's traffic and allot plenty of time to get downtown and find parking. The hotel offers parking, but it's expensive and could perhaps be full. The bus departure times are:
Friday: 7:30 am for photo workshop (check your email to see if you're on the list); 8:30 am for everyone else
Saturday: 8:15 am
Sunday: 8:15 am
Boarding begins 10-15 minutes before departure. 

I want to do the photography workshop on Friday. Can I?
We're sending an email with the names of bloggers who signed up for the workshop. If you're not on it (spots are limited), we're sorry, but we can't add you. Don't worry though -- you'll see the Wildflower Center gardens too. The second bus will just arrive a little later. 

When is the group photo? I don't want to miss it!
We'll be taking our group photo on Friday morning at 9:10 am at the Wildflower Center. The photo workshop ends at 9 am, and the 2nd bus will be arriving around then, so we'll all meet in the main courtyard of the garden (between the gift shop and the tower) and take our group shot before we explore the gardens.



Social Media


Do we have a hashtag?
#gbfling2018. We encourage you to use it for your Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter posts about the Fling.

Do you want my blog links about Austin Fling? 
Definitely! Please share your Fling-related blog links on our Facebook group or email them to us at our Fling email address. We will compile all the Austin Fling posts and publish them on our blog after the Fling.


Airport 


How far is the airport from our hotel?
10.5 miles. Please read our Getting to Austin post for more info about the airport and getting to the hotel.

How much time should I allow for picking up checked baggage when planning for Super Shuttle pick-up time?
We guesstimate it takes about 20 minutes from deplaning to getting your bag. Plan on 30 minutes to be safe.


What to Pack and Wear


What kind of clothes should I bring? 
Austin is a very casual city. Bring comfortable shoes for walking and whatever style of clothes you like to visit gardens in. For downtown dining, casual is still the norm, but some restaurants are a little dressier than others (call to find out). Even at these, a blouse and capris/pants/skirt or casual dress will be fine. We do like our air conditioning in the South, so if you get cold with the A/C blowing on you, bring layers.

What will the weather be like?
Pretty nice, we hope! We're still a week away, so forecasts are subject to change, but it's looking like highs in the mid- to low 80s F (29.4 to 26.6 C), with a cool north breeze, and with surprisingly cool nighttime temps in the 50s and 60s F (13.3 to 19.4 C). There are chances of rain every day, so bring an umbrella or lightweight poncho, just in case. We tend to get brief rain showers rather than steady rain that lasts all day, so don't fret over rain chances. Cloudy skies will yield better light for photos anyway.

How much suitcase space do I need for swag, raffle winnings, or other items?
We recommend bringing an extra collapsible duffle in your suitcase. When you're packing to go home, you can put some of your clothes in the duffle to make room in your suitcase for the swag or raffle items. (Check in advance if you're allowed to bring an extra bag on the airplane.) Or, if you have time to find a shipping store, you can box up some items (or your clothes, if they're lighter) and ship them home.

Will we have a chance to shop for plants? 
Yes, we'll be visiting two nurseries. If you like to buy plants when you travel, we suggest you pack a handful of Ziplock bags, newspaper and rubber bands, and plastic garbage bags for wrapping plants and packing them in your carry-on or suitcase. Read this post for more plant-packing tips.

What else should I bring?
Sunscreen and a hat, for sure. A portable phone charger is smart. Our buses should have regular outlets, so you might want to bring an adapter along. Camera supplies: extra battery, battery charger, plenty of SD memory cards, etc. A roomy camera bag, backpack, or crossbody for carrying your camera, a water bottle, snacks (we'll have snacks on the bus), and any other essentials. Bug repellent if you're sensitive to mosquitoes, although we don't expect this to be an issue for most. We've had a couple questions about ticks. They are not as common here as in other parts of the country, and in the manicured gardens we'll be touring, they are unlikely to be encountered.

Don't forget your old Fling souvenir buttons, if you've attended past Flings and want to show off your collection on your nametag wallet. Also, this is a great opportunity to network with other garden writers, so bring business cards with your contact info, if you like.


Eating and Drinking

  
What are our breakfast options? 
There's a Starbucks located in the hotel, which opens at 6 am every day. Check our restaurant listing for other breakfast options within walking distance of the hotel.

Do I need to make any dinner plans on my own?
Yes, Friday night is dinner-on-your-own. We return to the hotel at 5:15 pm that day. Check our restaurant listing for dinner options within walking distance of the hotel. Feel free to post on our Facebook group if you're looking for dining partners; there will be others who don't have plans, so just ask!

Do I need to bring snacks?
We'll have packaged snacks on the buses each day.

Will there be toilets on the bus?
Yes. There will also be restrooms available at the public gardens and nurseries and, for emergencies, a few of the private gardens.

Are alcoholic beverages being served anywhere?
Yes, we'll have a cash bar at the banquet dinner on Saturday and an open bar at the BBQ Bash on Sunday with two signature tequila cocktails and white wine available.


Photo: Peter17 via Wikimedia Commons

I want to go batty!


How can I see the famous bat colony in downtown Austin?
By land, bridge, or water! Austin's urban bat colony lives in the cracks under the Congress Avenue Bridge. They emerge nightly to hunt for moths and other bugs, but some nights are better than others. If it's cool or rainy, they may hunker down and emerge late or sporadically. If it's warm and clear, they may emerge just before sunset in a crowd-pleasing swarm. You can watch them from the west-side sidewalk on Congress Avenue Bridge, or on the Hike and Bike Trail below the bridge, or from a bat-watching cruise on Lady Bird Lake. Find more info here.


What else have I forgotten to ask?


We hope we've answered most of your questions already with our earlier post, Everything You Need to Know for Austin Fling. But if not, just email us and ask. 

We can't wait to see you all next week!