Monday, August 5, 2019

Mark Your Calendars: June 18-21, 2020
Garden Bloggers Fling in Madison, Wisconsin

Wisconsin State Capitol
Justjeffaz (Jeff Brunton) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (]

Get ready to Fling in Madison, Wisconsin! The Madison area is a meeting place: It’s roughly where the Eastern hardwood forests meet the prairies; where the edge of the glaciers morphed the land and melted, leaving a series of five lakes; and where garden bloggers will meet in 2020 for the Garden Bloggers Fling!

While the soil in the area varies somewhat, Dane County soil is among the most productive in North America. Many gardeners here are blessed with excellent silt loam soil as a base for their plantings. While Wisconsin is America’s Dairyland, the state also ranks first in the nation for snap peas for processing, cranberries, ginseng, mink pelts, dry whey for humans, milk goats, and corn for silage, among other crops.

So, it’s an excellent place to grow things! And an excellent place to gather and visit gardens together!

The horticultural gardens at the UW-Madison Arboretum
Plan to join us for three full days of garden touring, plus an opening event Thursday, June 18, afternoon/evening. Please check here for eligibility guidelines. More details on the hotel, registration, gardens, special events, sponsors, and more, will be posted here in the weeks ahead. All announcements will be posted on this blog and on the official Fling Facebook page.

Just to tease you with a preliminary itinerary (times and places may change):

Sculptures and gravel garden at Epic Systems
Friday, June 19, we’ll start out visiting private gardens and then we’ll enjoy lunch, a short presentation, and tours at the UW-Madison Arboretum, home to distinct garden collections, including horticultural gardens, prairie and woodland restorations, a native plant garden, and more. In the afternoon, we’ll visit more private gardens, and then head to Epic Systems for a tour of the company’s very unique outdoor gardens, led by Jeff Epping, one of the Epic lead landscape designers.

The Thai Pavilion at Olbrich Botanical Gardens
Saturday, June 20, enjoy a leisurely walk around the Wisconsin State Capitol building at the Dane County Farmers Market, America’s largest producers-only farmers’ market. Then we’ll load the buses for a delicious brunch before visiting the award-winning Olbrich Botanical Gardens, voted one of the top ten most inspiring gardens in North America by Horticulture Magazine. We’ll round out the day with more private garden tours. (Our event banquet and auction likely will occur on Saturday or Sunday. Stay tuned for updates.)

European-style garden at Rotary Botanical Garden
Sunday, June 21, begins with private garden tours and a trip to The Flower Factory, Wisconsin’s premiere hardy plant nursery, featuring a large selection of perennials, hostas, and ornamental grasses. Next, we’ll take a quick drive to Janesville, Wisconsin, to visit Rotary Botanical Gardens, a 20-acre botanical showcase. Private gardens and our final destination—Allen Centennial Garden, in the heart of Madison—will conclude the 2020 Fling. You’ll want to stick around until the very end, because we have a special surprise planned at Allen Centennial.

Allen Centennial Garden
James Steakley [CC BY-SA 3.0 (]

Madison Fling Co-Coordinators
Anneliese Valdes – The CobraHead Blog
Beth Stetenfeld –

Any questions? Feel free to contact us: Hope to see you in Madison next June!

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Thanks for attending Denver Fling!

Bloggers attending Denver Fling. Photo: April Shelhon
A mountain-sized thank you to the Denver Team for untold volunteer hours spent on putting together a fantastic 3-1/2 day tour of Denver-area gardens for us! Kudos to team members Judy Seaborn, Laura O'Connor, April Shelhon, Jennifer Spainhower, and Leigh Pond!

Denver Team: Leigh Pond, April Shelhon, Judy Seaborn, Jennifer Spainhower, Laura O'Connor of Botanical Interests. Photo: Linda Lehmusvirta
We encourage attendees to share your experience at Denver Fling on social media (#gbfling2019) and on your blog. We'll be collecting blog posts here (see below) so your fellow bloggers as well as the garden owners, sponsors, and anyone interested in Colorado gardening can read them. Check back periodically to find the newest links. And do share your Fling-related blog posts on the Fling Facebook page too. Seeing different perspectives about the gardens after the Fling ends keeps the fun going!

Click here for the Denver Fling Sponsor Directory.

Let's recognize all our 
First-Time Flingers 
We're so glad you joined us and hope you will keep in touch and make our Bloggers Fling community greater. 

Jack Hemingway (CA) -- The Garden Products Review
Amy Bouck-Knight (CA) -- The Lower Left Corner
Cheryl Spencer (CO)-- Simply Smart Gardening
Jim Tolstrup (CO) – High Plains Environmental Center
Laura Flanders (CO)-- Colorado Backyard Gardener
Luan Akin (CO)-- Tagawa Gardens Blog
Jane Shellenberger (CO)-- The Colorado Gardener
Idelle Fisher (CO)-- Good Environmental News
Donna Waters (CO)-- Pine Brook Hills Gardeners
Maureen Farmer (CT)-- The Farmer's Garden
Shari Wilson (D.C.)-- Nuts for Natives
Sarah Cain (KS)-- Garden Tails
Meg Cowden (MN)-- Seed to Fork
Patricia Cunningham (OR)– plant lust
Joellen Meyeres (TX)-- Gardening Among Friends
Holly Salmon (TX)-- Gardening Among Friends
Tamara Risken (TX)-- J. Berry Nursery
Michelle Olivier (WA)-- Sound Gardener
Barb Gorges (WY)-- Cheyenne Garden Gossip

Denver Fling Blog Posts

Queen of the Dirt: In a daze near Denver…sculpture on a grand scale

GardenBook: Mountains and Sky -the Borrowed View in a Niwot Prairie Meadow

Central Texas Gardener: Elevating Perspectives

Central Texas Gardener: Relaxation Tricks: Garden Perches + Water

Digging: Line dancing and Stickwork sculpture at Chatfield Farms

A Growing Obsession: hungry eyes, busy hands; Colorado garden of Dan Johnson & Tony Miles

Queen of the Dirt: In a daze in Denver…I’ll take a seat at this table

Digging: Keith Funk’s front-yard oasis

Digging: An exuberant, upcycled, scrap-art garden

GardenBook: I'll have a Denver on the Rocks Bartender -and Make it a Double!

Digging: Steppe garden evangelist Panayoti Kelaidis’s garden

Central Texas Gardener: Getting Around the Garden: Pathway to Ideas

The Farmer's Garden: Gardens on Spring Creek

Digging: Children’s Garden at Denver Botanic Gardens

Plant Lust: Denver Garden Bloggers’ Fling 2019: reflections

Digging: Crevice garden, Japanese garden, and more sculpture at Denver Botanic Gardens

Digging: Steppe garden, foxtail lilies, and sculpture at Denver Botanic Gardens

Digging: A dryland garden inspired by Mother Nature

Gardening in a Drought: Looking Up in the Garden

Sharing Nature's Garden: Touring the Denver area before the Garden Bloggers Fling 2019

Digging: Containers and color galore in Rob Proctor’s garden

The Paintbox Garden: Visiting Panayoti’s Garden

Digging: Party under the willow tree in Judy Seaborn’s garden

Central Texas Gardener: Hot & Dry Doesn’t Mean Blah Gardens

PlantPostings: Pick a Colorado Plant, Any Plant

Digging: A fusion of nature and art in Scott Deemer’s garden

Gardening Among Friends: Some Favorite Things from the Denver Garden Fling – Part 1

Digging: Unscripted beauty in Scripter meadow garden

Cottage in the Court: Denver…Thoughts on Flinging

Queen of the Dirt: In a daze near Denver…a visit to Botanical Interests

Digging: TatTopia garden embraces stonework and sustainability

GardenBook: Flingtastic Colorado- The Gardens on Spring Creek

Digging: Lunch in the garden at Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse

Cottage in the Court: Denver – Garden Bloggers Fling 2019

Digging: Bowled over by Linda Boley’s garden

Bonney Lassie: Stop The Bus, I Need A Wee Wee...

Bonney Lassie: Denver Botanic Garden

Queen of the Dirt: In a daze in Denver…lessons from a cocktail napkin

AZ Plant Lady: Behind the Scenes at Botanical Interests Seed Company

Frau Zinnie: Hanging with my tribe: Why I love to attend the Garden Bloggers Fling

See Jane Dig: The GrowHaus

Central Texas Gardener: Design Philosophy Connects Colorado & Texas

Veg Plotting: The 105th Meridian West

Bonney Lassie: Way Too Much is Just About Right

Digging: Strouse Garden gazes toward the Rockies

Cheyenne Garden Gossip: Rocky gardening

Plant Postings: A Garden Full of Joy and Whimsy

Veg Plotting: Great ideas from the Denver Fling

Digging: Jean Morgan’s garden will make you smile

Bonney Lassie: The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round...

A Growing Obsession: Denver Botanic Gardens #gbfling2019

Queen of the Dirt: In a daze near Denver…tough plants, easy smiles

Digging: Getting seedy at Botanical Interests

A Growing Obsession: that moment with the eremurus and smoke tree in the Shinn garden

Digging: Crevice gardens to crave at the garden of Carol Shinn

Natural Gardening: Recycled paper pots (Botanical Interests)

Garden Rant: Right rock, right place

Queen of the Dirt: In a daze near Denver…art and experimentation
Queen of the Dirt: In a daze near Denver…600 tons and what do you get?

Digging: Jan Devore Garden under the pines

Bonney Lassie: Another One Rides The Bus

Danger Garden: Janice and Richard DeVore’s garden, from the 2019 Garden Bloggers Fling

The Paintbox Garden: A Garden Embroidered with Myriad Threads

Just a Girl with a Hammer: Diary of a wimpy gardener

Digging: Rocking it at Gardens on Spring Creek

A Growing Obsession: Denver Botanic Gardens #gbfling2019

Queen of the Dirt: More postcards from Denver…

Queen of the Dirt: Postcards from Denver…

Queen of the Dirt: In a daze near Denver…High Plains Environmental Center

Queen of the Dirt: In a daze in Denver…GrowHaus

Queen of the Dirt: In a daze in Denver…morning walkabout

Good Environmental News: Bindweed vs. CobraHead

Danger Garden: Opening night for the 2019 Garden Bloggers Fling, at The GrowHaus

Digging: Welcome to Colorado and High Plains Environmental Center

The Queen of Seaford: Why Fling? Reflections from Denver

Southern Meadows: A Look At Colorado's Wide Open Spaces

The Paintbox Garden: Penstemon Envy

Danger Garden: My 2019 Garden Bloggers Fling plant haul...

Natural Gardening: A great Garden Bloggers Fling

Natural Gardening: Botanical Interests

Veg Plotting: Postcard from Colorado

Garden in a City: 2019 Denver Fling: An Overview

Monday, June 3, 2019


Opening Night: Thursday, June 13

3:30pm to 4:30pm: Stop by our table in the Hyatt hotel lobby, located to the left of the reservation desk, to pick up your ID badge and your swag bag. Wear your badge every day; it is your ticket to board the bus. Buses load this night at 5:30 and return to the hotel at 8:20-8:30.
If you miss the pick-up window, contact Laura or Leigh at the reception and we'll find a time after the reception to get you your things.

The swag bag will contain the tour routes and garden portraits; be sure to find them in the bag to take with you on the bus.

Daily departures and arrivals

Buses board at 8AM EACH morning. 
Friday we expect to be back at the Hyatt between 4:35 and 5:15. (The variance is due to not knowing the traffic conditions on the return from Fort Collins.)
Saturday we plan to be back at the Hyatt about 7:15.
Sunday we'll be back at the Hyatt at 8:20.

Weather forecast as of Tuesday 6/11

Attendance: 85

Thank you Hyatt Regency Denver for being a supportive partner to our group. They took into consideration a good number of reservations that were made outside of our block to count as credit to our account, so that we can meet our budget! 


Pat Hayward Garden Open Tour

Keep in mind that this is an after-Fling option, and those signed up are on their own for transportation arrangements. If you signed up, but have changed your mind, please go back to the event and cancel. 

Posts you may want to review:

May 10 - Full Itinerary

April 18 - Transportation to/from airport AND restaurants near hotel

May 24 - Denver area weather, tips on what to bring

Jan 10 - Hotel Info

Jan 9 - Denver highlights

Jan 23 - Beyond Denver Part I

March 15 - Beyond Denver Part II

Thursday, May 30, 2019

One more sponsor! 
One more big "thank you"!

Wildseed Farms has been growing fields of wildflowers for the production of seed for over 35 years. It is the nation's largest working wildflower farm with over 200 acres in Fredericksburg, Texas alone, with over 450,000 visitors each year.


We've been busy as bees packing swag bags, organizing raffle items, mapping out bus routes, assembling badges, and taking care of the lingering details.
Here are Leigh and John, sorting raffle prizes and getting a bit looney over it...

Itinerary update: On June 15, at our first stop (8:45, Botanical Interests) we will be served a light, grab-and-go breakfast. 

Veteran flingers: If you have any tips for first-timers about what to pack that was not covered in last week's post, that could be a helpful conversation for Facebook. 

Friday, May 24, 2019

Registration is closed

Registration for the 2019 Fling is now closed.

We are happy to say that we have 84 attendees, and 

20 are first-time flingers!

Tips for what to pack and expect:

The average high for Denver in June is 82°F, and the average low is 53°F. June CAN see days up in the 90s, and nights in the 40s. But even on a hot day, as soon as the sun goes down, it cools off fast. A sweater and/or light windbreaker is recommended.

The average rainfall is 2". Typically, June rain occurs after noon. The 5-day meteorological forecasts are usually reliable, so check that out before you travel. It might be good to bring a compact rain poncho.

UV rays are more intense at high altitudes, so it's easier to get sunburned here; don't forget the sunscreen. Hat, cap, or visor is good to have as well.

Comfortable shoes/sandals are a must! You'll be walking quite a bit.

As we are close to the mountains, we sometimes see mountain wildlife venturing down to the front range such as elk, deer, bighorn sheep, 
coyotes, bobcats, and even the occasional bear or moose. Bring binoculars, if you have them.

More typically you will see cottontail rabbits

and prairie dogs

which are in abundance here. 

Red foxes are predators of both, and you would be lucky to see one of these swift and graceful, beautiful animals. Yesterday I spotted one at 11am, in a field just north of here (Broomfield).

Red-tailed hawk
Hawks are very common; there are several species that nest in Colorado, along with a number of other raptors.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Donors of swag/raffle goods for Denver Fling!

We want to acknowledge the companies who donated 
swag and raffle items

Applewood Seed
Bluestone Perennials
Botanical Interests
Bower & Branch
Corona Tools
Esschert Design
Garden Tower Project
Garden Works
High Plains Environmental Center
Live Trends Design
Niche Gardens
Paw Paw Everlast Label Co.
Plant Development Services
Proven Winners Color Choice
St. Lynn's Press
Tagawa Gardens
Teak Closeouts
Timber Press
Tubtrugs (Red Gorilla)
Tula Hats
Your True Nature

Check out some of the great items we will see in our 
raffle and swag bags!

Hats, hats, and more Fair-trade, sun-protecting hats!

Hang your flower pots just about anywhere with these sturdy pot hangers.
Amazing vertical Garden Tower and composting system

                                                   All-leather gauntlet gloves

Lidded coffee/tea mugs

Recyclable, paper seed-starting pots

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

More Denver Fling sponsors

Giving THANKS to more of our sponsors

Applewood Seed Co.  Provider of the best wildflower seeds, garden flower seeds, grass seeds, and herb seeds, to packet seed companies, regional and national distributors, landscapers, highway departments, and conservation programs since 1965.

The Gardening Products Review   Honest, unbiased reviews of a wide range of products used in the home garden. From hand tools to outdoor power equipment, if it's used in the garden, you'll find it reviewed right here!

Paw Paw Everlast Label Co.   The original metal garden label manufacturer. Made in the U.S.A with 99.6% zinc for the longest-lasting nameplates and stakes made of quality galvanized wire; weather resistant to retain legibility and presentation year after year.

Esschert Design:   Specializing in developing collections related to gardening and nature,  creating leading concepts in the industry focused at wild birds and animals, outdoor fireplaces, kids gardening and working in the garden. All products are designed and developed in-house.

Hang-a-Pot  The hidden flower pot hanger! Makes vertical gardening easy. Securely hangs 4 to 10-inch clay, terracotta, and glazed pots with a standard lip and shape. Made of durable polypropylene that is UV protected and won't get brittle. 

Tagawa Gardens  Denver area's garden store and so much more! Since 1982, Tagawa Gardens' vision has been "To provide an enjoyable experience for our community, as well as the highest quality service, products, and education, and respect for our environment".

Garden sneak: Enjoy a few pretty pics from Keith Funk's garden

Friday, May 10, 2019

Full Itinerary

Only 5 weeks 'til the Fling!! 
There's still room for a few more, and there is 
lots of fun to be had!

Thursday, June 13. 

3:30pm to 4:30pm: Stop by our table in the Hyatt hotel lobby to pick up your ID badge and get your swag bag. Wear your badge every day; it is your ticket to board the bus.
If you miss the pick-up window, contact Laura or Leigh at the reception and we'll find a time after the reception to get you your things.

                     Welcome Reception

At 5:30 PM we'll board the buses at the Hyatt hotel and depart promptly at 5:40 
 for a short ride to the GrowHaus, a non-profit, indoor farm, marketplace, and educational center where we'll have dinner, welcome past flingers, and introduce first-time flingers, as well as next year’s hosts. 

We'll also raffle off a few items here that can be used on the tours!

Friday, June 14, 2019, tours in Loveland and Fort Collins

We start off our tour in Loveland at The High Plains Environmental Center (HPEC), a 76-acre living laboratory and urban environmental park. The director, Jim Tolstrup, who is a registered attendee, will be joining us to answer any questions. Their nursery, where they grow native plants from seed, will be well stocked and we'll have some time to shop.

Then we arrive at The Gardens on Spring Creek, an 18-acre world-class botanic garden grounded in community, education, and sustainability. We'll take the group photo upon arrival. Gardens include: A children’s garden, food garden, rock garden, sustainable backyard garden, xeric garden, demonstration garden, an outdoor music venue, an outdoor kitchen, and Lauren Springer Ogden’s “Undaunted Garden”. Lauren will be joining us! 
We’ll tour the gardens and have lunch in their outdoor kitchen.

After lunch we visit two private gardens. Janice deVore’s garden is canopied with tall, mature pines and dotted with several crevice gardens and trough gardens. Jan hand-made the troughs and is also a painter. Her property contains a large collection of plant material and many hidden gems. 

 At Carol and Randy Shinn’s garden we will see several distinct crevice gardens along with a water feature with wildlife in mind, and a vegetable garden. 

The buses will be divided between deVore and Shinn, and both have graciously agreed that we can serve wine and cheese there, before our drive back to the hotel!

Dinner this night is on your own.

Saturday, June 15, 2019, tours in Boulder and Niwot

On our way up to Boulder, we’ll actually start the day in Broomfield, just north of Denver  at Botanical Interests seed company warehouse, where we’ll take a short tour of the facility. You’ll learn how seeds get from the grower to the packet and see the machinery involved in weighing and packing. 

We'll have a grab-n-go breakfast here.

The rest of the day is filled with private gardens! Jean Morgan packs a lot of mostly native plants (no lawn) into her small space which is a pollinator haven. The next house called Red Renaissance features indigenous plants to attract butterflies and create a pollination haven for bees including low water plants specifically selected to provide food, shelter, and interest for local and migrating birds. 

In downtown Boulder we visit Linda Boley and her “botanical zoo” with flowering rock gardens and a sanctuary for wildlife. In her garden, you’ll see some colorful ornamentals and lots of little crevices and homes for birds and bees.

Lunch will be at the very special,    Dushanbe Teahouse in Boulder,        which was built by hand in Dushanbe, Tajikistan as a gift to their sister city, Boulder. Colorful and cultural d├ęcor includes lots of indoor greenery, and beautifully sculpted pillars throughout.  

Tatiana Maxwell’s garden is an "urban oasis" with 600-ton stone walls, a pond and waterfall, flowers, vegetables, fruit trees, and grape arbor.

Then we’ll head over to Niwot outside of Boulder to visit Scott Deemer’s home, where he has cultivated a garden that is the epitome of Colorado – very Alpine-inspired with lots of evergreen trees and rock gardens.

River willow stump carving of Chief Niwot

Side note: In case you are wondering about the unusual name, Niwot. It is an Arapahoe word meaning “left hand(ed)”. Chief Niwot and his tribe lived in the area over 100 years ago.  

Next, over to Mary and Larry Scripter’s garden, designed by Lauren Springer Ogden. The garden mimics the surrounding landscape and backs up to a huge open space, blending into a prairie meadow, including many various species of native grasses.

Seaborn back yard

We’ll end the day at Judy Seaborn’s home garden for appetizers and wine under her giant willow tree, while touring her 1-acre garden of perennials and dozens of vegetable garden beds. 

There will also be a raffle drawing at her house! 

Dinner (if you didn’t fill up on the apps!) will be on your own this night.

Sunday, June 16, 2019, Denver

The Denver day of the Fling is jam-packed with high-profile, who’s who of Colorado gardeners that we are so excited to share with you.

Rob Proctor is a gardening expert and author with a weekly gardening segment, Proctor's Garden, on Denver’s local channel 9 news. His expansive backyard is filled to the brim with gorgeous ornamentals, both annuals and perennials, in a beautiful, English-garden style.

The Hamling garden, designed by 
Ivy Street Design Landscape and Architecture, combines formal architecture with billowing plantings including a significant number of natives, a pond, and an outdoor dining area. 

We’ll be touring both gardens of Jim Borland and Keith Funk, the co-hosts of local radio show Ask the Garden Pros for 25 years. Jim Borland’s garden is an impressive Colorado native xeriscape, which he proudly states he “hasn’t watered in years”. The Funk garden will be in the afternoon.

Sculpture at DBG

We’ll have lunch at the Denver Botanic Gardens 
in their Annuals Garden and Pavilion surrounded by an abundance of stunning flowers of North America. 
We'll have plenty of time to tour the wide range of gardens and collections on 24 acres that illustrate a diversity of plants from all corners of the world. 

After lunch, it’s off to Panayoti Kelaidis’ home garden in north Denver, which is a mix of cottage, alpine, desert, and veggie! Panayoti is the Director of Outreach for the Denver Botanic Gardens, and a traveled lecturer and a spokesman for the regional Green Industry.

Dan Johnson is the Curator of Native Plants and Associate Director of Horticulture at the Denver Botanic Gardens since 1996. His garden delights with xeric and native plants, cacti and succulents, conifers, annuals, perennials, temperate trees and shrubs, tropicals from the traditional to the rare, and up-cycled artifacts “just for fun”.   

On to Keith Funk's home; Keith is also a horticulture specialist whose garden is full of gorgeous ornamentals and evergreens.

Historic home at Chatfield

The Denver Garden Blogger’s Fling wraps up in style with a 
bar-b-que dinner with music and dancing at Chatfield Farms, an extension of Denver Botanic Gardens. Chatfield is a 700-acre plant refuge and working farm. There will be plenty of time to walk the gardens of Chatfield.

If you plan to stay for a couple of extra days, check out the private tour of Pat Hayward's garden AM tour in Fort Collins on Monday, June 17.