Sunday, September 30, 2012

Introducing the Fling advisory committee

Asheville Fling 2012
If you've attended a Garden Bloggers Fling during the past 5 years, you might be surprised to know that these well-organized, 3-to-4 day events -- packed with private and public garden tours, group lunches and dinners, happy hours, bus transportation, and swag bags -- are put together by volunteers, not paid organizers, garden bloggers like yourselves who dedicate many, many hours of their personal time for several months to putting together the best event they can, in order to share the unique  beauty and vibe of their home city with their fellow garden bloggers. They have done all this with no central organizing committee to assist them, with no built-in formula for making it all work aside from their own experience in attending a previous Fling. And yet the event has not only continued, it's grown each year in attendance, publicity, and sponsorships. Think about it: the Fling hasn't missed a year since its inception, someone new has always stepped up to host, and the events have been consistently well-run. And all without any central organization to build on from one year to the next.

Seattle Fling 2011
The downside is that each year's hosts have had to reinvent the wheel with regards to planning, creating a website, getting sponsors, and so on. Also, there's beginning to be a queue of potential hosts wanting to bring the Fling to their city (a good thing!), and until now there haven't been any guidelines for deciding where it should go next.
Buffalo Fling 2010

In short, the Fling has grown to the point that an advisory committee is necessary to help oversee certain elements of the annual event. Last year, the planners of the first four Flings discussed the need for an advisory committee to organize and share Fling planning information, maintain a website that can be used by each year's hosts, help select future Fling locations, and generally facilitate a consistent event. Three former hosts volunteered to serve on that committee: Diana Kirby, Elizabeth Licata, and me (Pam Penick). 
Chicago Fling 2009
Our first goal was to assess what attendees and potential attendees want the Fling to consist of, and we recently surveyed the garden blogging community to that end. (We'll post the results for you soon.) Next we plan to put together guidelines for organizing the event, as well as work with potential hosts to determine future Fling locations. 
Austin Fling 2008
We also plan to use this website to give the Fling a permanent home on the web, compiling the info from all the previous Flings into this site, regularly publicizing the event, and providing contact information.

Fling Advisory Committee

We recently expanded the advisory committee to gain broader representation in the garden blogging community and benefit from fresh perspectives and energy. The new members are veteran attendees of multiple Flings and hail from across the country:
Gail Eichelberger
Nashville, Tennessee
Jean McWeeney
Ruston, Louisiana 

Dee Nash
Red Dirt Ramblings 
Guthrie, Oklahoma

Andrea Fox
Grow Where You're Planted 
College Station, Texas

Kelly Kilpatrick
Oakland, California

Helen Yoest
Gardening with Confidence
Raleigh, North Carolina 
(Joined 10/17/12)

Original members include:

Elizabeth Licata
Garden Rant and Gardening While Intoxicated 
Buffalo, New York

Pam Penick
Austin, Texas

And Diana Kirby of Sharing Nature's Garden, who is retiring from the committee. We thank her for all her work on behalf of the Fling. 
We hope you will join us in welcoming the new advisory committee members.

And here's that contact info I promised:

If you are a garden blogger who is interested in hosting the Fling in the future, please contact me (Pam).

If you are interested in being a sponsor for the next Fling, which will be held in 2013 in San Francisco (dates TBA), please contact Kelly.

And if you are simply interested in reading about past Flings or want to know where the Fling will be held in the future, look for links on the navigation bar at the top of this page.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

We want your opinion!

Are you a garden blogger?

If you’ve ever attended a Garden Bloggers Fling or have an interest in attending, we’d love to get your opinion! We want to know what you enjoy most about the Fling, where you’d like to see a Fling hosted, and what you’d like to see more of at the event. And if you haven’t attended a Fling, we’d like to know why.

Please take a moment to fill out our survey. We promise – it’s short! We need all responses by September 21st, but why not take a few moments to fill it out right now?

Please feel free to share the link with other garden bloggers, including those who have not attended a Fling. You can simply post this link on your blog, Facebook, or Twitter to invite others to participate:

As you know, each Fling is put together and hosted by generous volunteers – bloggers like yourselves – and we have no formal committee to oversee planning. However,  in the interest of passing along planning information from year to year and publicizing the event, a small advisory group made up of former Fling hosts is managing some basic administrative tasks and updating this website from time to time. Currently you'll find a brief update about next year’s Fling, which will be held in San Francisco.  The local planning committee for the San Francisco Fling is still being put together – more information will follow from them soon, including the dates for the 2013 Fling.

Again, thanks for filling out the survey and sharing your opinions with us, and please help us publicize it. Thanks so much!

Pam Penick / Digging

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Coming up next: San Francisco!

Calling all garden bloggers!

Garden Bloggers Fling 2013 will be hosted in San Francisco, California. The dates will be announced soon by the local planning team, which is being headed up by Kelly Kilpatrick of Floradora, so stay tuned and don't miss the 6th annual Fling!

Photo credit: Collage of Flora Grubb Gardens courtesy of Loree Bohl at Danger Garden