Wednesday, August 5, 2020

The Fling expands beyond bloggers, welcomes other platforms

In the 13-year history of Garden Bloggers Fling, we’ve never had to cancel -- until this year, due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Madison Fling planning team had already put a lot of work into the event, and we appreciate their willingness to delay and try again next year. Fingers crossed, we'll be Flinging in Madison next June!

During this forced downtime, the Fling advisory committee has been reflecting on the future of our annual event and our community. We want to ensure that our group better reflects all gardening voices in all their diversity.

From the start we’ve defined ourselves by our shared identity as garden bloggers, people who not only love gardens but love writing about them and being part of an online community. Thirteen years later, while many blogs continue to thrive, for some of us other social media outlets are now our preferred medium for self-publishing about gardening. Our identity as bloggers has become limiting, even a bit antiquated. And we wonder if we’ve unintentionally edged out the participation of those who might not see themselves represented and therefore don’t feel welcome: people of color, younger people, people from all sorts of backgrounds.

We want to change that perception, especially if it’s keeping anyone from thinking the Fling is not for them. And we believe the way to be more inclusive is to be more inclusive.

With that in mind, we’ve decided to open the Fling to gardening Instagrammers, podcasters, and vloggers/YouTubers. Our goal is to make Garden Bloggers Fling more inclusive of diverse voices and more forward-looking in terms of other social media. We have no plans at this time to change our name.

The Fling is still a group for online self-publishers of gardening information, and our guidelines for attending the annual meet-up still apply: your outlet must be public, strongly gardening-focused, and regularly updated. We hope long-time Flingers will join us in welcoming these new voices. And we hope that anyone who is eagerly sharing about gardening via Instagram, vlogging, or podcasting will join our online community. And when in-person meet-ups resume, as they surely will, we look forward to meeting you IRL as well!

Thursday, April 2, 2020

New Dates for the Madison Fling: June 24-27, 2021

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

The Madison Fling is officially postponed to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Seattle/Puget Sound committee has graciously offered to reschedule their Fling to 2022.

So, our new dates are Thursday, June 24, through Sunday, June 27, 2021Many aspects of our itinerary will change, but many will be similar. We'll take a break from planning for the time being. Stay tuned for more updates—here and on our Fling Facebook page.

We have two logo options that you can download to share on your blogs. One started out as an April Fools' joke, but we think it's fun. The other is more traditional. Feel free to use one or the other or switch them out as you please. (You can click on them, and then download the images.)

We hope to see you all in Madison during the summer of 2021. Thank you all for your support, and we wish you all good health!

Thursday, March 12, 2020

FAQs Regarding How the Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Will Affect the Madison Fling

Thank you all for your support and patience during these unprecedented times. As we’ve communicated through Facebook and directly with planned attendees, at this point, we’re still planning to continue with the Madison Fling. We’d like to share our thoughts through a set of questions and answers, regarding what we expect in the weeks to come.

First, we’d direct all questions about the disease, itself, to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Coronavirus Disease web page.

This Fling FAQ page is dedicated to questions Madison Fling attendees may have about our specific event. For Fling-specific questions beyond those listed here, please contact us at

Q. When will you make the decision on whether or not to cancel the Madison Fling?

A. We are working with our hotel and other venues to make the best decision, considering all the variables. We will know more by late March. Even beyond that, circumstances may change through April and May. While it is our hope that the virus will begin to fade across the country by late spring, we just don’t know at this point. We feel it’s too early to call it off today.

Q. What if the virus expands dramatically in the U.S. in the weeks ahead?

A. Most indications are that this will happen. As we present this, the virus is expanding, and there likely will be many more cases in Madison and other communities across the country. We’re hoping the virus will begin to subside long before mid-June, but we just don’t know at this point.

Q. Why does it make sense to continue the Fling while so many other events are cancelling?

A. Again, we may still be forced to discontinue the Fling, for various reasons. But if the outlook is much better by the end of April, we feel there’s no reason we can’t go ahead with our event. Our group is relatively small (50-60), we’re meeting during the summer (when, hopefully, the virus won’t be active), and most of our events will be outdoors.

Q. Has your cancellation/registration refund policy changed in light of our current pandemic situation?

A. No, with the exception that we are prepared to offer 95% ticket refunds ($295 minus transaction processing fees, or $280.25) if we are forced to cancel the Madison Fling. If you choose to stick with us during the weeks ahead, we will follow through with 95% refunds for you, should we end up having to cancel eventually.

Q. What about your early bird discount expiring on April 2?

A. We are extending the $295 rate right up to the Fling. We didn’t foresee the coronavirus, and our early bird rate was an attempt to get things moving earlier. However, we now see that this isn’t effective this time, and we want to make registration as easy as possible for people, when they feel ready.

Q. What are the hotel’s cancellation policies?

A. All reservations cancelled after 4 p.m. CST 24 hours prior to arrival and all “no shows” will be charged one night room/tax.


Finally, thank you for your continued enthusiasm and support. We are doing everything we can to continue with the Madison Fling, June 18-21. And we look forward to seeing you all and visiting gardens together!

Saturday, March 7, 2020

CobraHead: Supporting Sponsor of the Madison Fling

Our thanks goes out to CobraHead, another bloom-level sponsor! Since 2002, the CobraHead Weeder & Cultivator has been the ultimate garden tool for weeding and gardening.

The CobraHead is a multipurpose hand tool for use in gardening, horticulture, and agriculture that's superior to all similar tools on the market.

The CobraHead team has designed a line of gardening products to help all landscapers and gardeners weed more efficiently. CobraHead’s goal is to “offer you the best tools in earth.” The complete line of CobraHead Weeder & Cultivators make weeding easier and put the joy back in gardening!

Find them online:

*** The Garden Bloggers Fling is a non-profit organization; we’d be nowhere without our generous sponsors! Please let them know how much they mean to us—big "thank-yous" to each and every one! ***

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Thank You, Fling Sponsors!

We realize the Fling couldn’t happen without the amazing support of our generous sponsors. Thanks to those who’ve agreed, so far, to sponsor the 2020 Madison Garden Bloggers Fling! We’ll update the list and the sidebar as additional sponsors pledge their support.

Bloom Level:
- Proven Winners®

- CobraHead
- J. Berry Wholesale Nursery
- John & Bob’s Smart Soil

- Bailey Nurseries

Bud Level:

Stem Level:
- Botanical Interests
- Bluestone Perennials
- Midwest Groundcovers/
   Natural Garden Natives

Root Level:
- Potted
- St. Lynn’s Press
- Teak Closeouts

Seed Level:
- Paw Paw Everlast Label

In June, two busloads of garden bloggers will descend on Madison, Wisconsin, for three days of inspirational garden touring and networking. As influential garden communicators, Fling participants will blog, Tweet, Instagram, Pin, Facebook, and otherwise spread the word about the gardens on tour and related Fling sponsors to their readerships around the world. Many are leading the discussion of gardening not only online, but also in their communities.

Sponsorships help defray the costs associated with Fling activities, including (but not limited to) garden admissions, catered meals, facility rentals, liability insurance, and transportation. Our sponsors allow more garden bloggers to attend who might not otherwise afford to go.

In appreciation, all sponsor names, logos, and websites are linked to the official Garden Bloggers Fling blog (see sidebar) and acknowledged throughout the Fling event, as appropriate.

Join us as a sponsor of the 2020 Fling! The benefits include:

Sponsor directory listing - Facebook and website sponsor roll.
Sponsor directory ad - full-page. Contributions of goods or promotional material for attendees’ swag bags and/or door prizes are accepted.
Company on signage at one event.
We profile your business on our website – including information about your business, services and products that you’d like to highlight for Fling attendees.

BUD LEVEL $750 - $999
Sponsor directory listing - Facebook and website sponsor roll.
Sponsor directory ad - half-page. Contributions of goods or promotional material for attendees’ swag bags and/or door prizes are accepted.
Company name listed on shared signage at one event.
We profile your business on our website – including information about your business, services and products that you’d like to highlight for Fling attendees.

STEM LEVEL $500 - $749
Sponsor directory listing - Facebook and website sponsor roll.
Sponsor directory ad - 1/4-page. Contributions of goods or promotional material for attendees’ swag bags and/or door prizes are accepted.

ROOT LEVEL $250 - $499
Sponsor directory business listing and sponsor rolls on Facebook and website sponsor roll.

SEED LEVEL - Up to $249
Sponsor directory business listing.
Swag gift bags are given to, and happily received by, each registered blogger in attendance. Individual items will be required (they don’t all have to be the same, or could be one large item for the dinner raffle). Due to storage and sorting costs, a $50 donation is required to include any promotional material or product in the swag bag.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Who's Attending the Madison Fling?

Will you be part of the fun at the Madison Garden Bloggers Fling? If your name is on this list, you will! If it's not, we'd love to have you join us!

Here are the people who’ve signed up so far for our event on June 18-21, 2020, which includes three full days of garden touring and an opening reception in the “Mad City.”

We’re happy to announce that many new Flingers will be joining us this year, and they are noted with asterisks (*). If you’re new, you’re part of a great group. If you’re a veteran Flinger, please welcome our new friends.

We’ll continue to update the list until the Fling.

Idelle Fisher – Good Environmental News Blog

Shari Wilson – Nuts for Natives

Karin Hicks – Southern Meadows

Jan Bujan – In the Garden With Grandma
Judy Hertz – Garden in a City
Jason Kay – Garden in a City

Kathy Jentz – Washington Gardener and Cats in Gardens
Teri Speight – Cottage in the Court

Natalie Carmolli – Through the Greenhouse Glass
Stefanie Gilmour – See Jane Dig
Nancy Patterson – Garden337

Angie Baer* – Fieldnotes
Mary Lahr Schier – My Northern Garden

Elizabeth Licata – Garden Rant
Kathy Purdy – Cold Climate Gardening

Lisa Wagner – Natural Gardening and Places of the Spirit (part-time in Quebec)

Kylee Baumle – Our Little Acre

Dee Nash – Red Dirt Ramblings

Jane Finch-Howell – MulchMaid
Kevin Gepford – Fuchsias in the City
Theo Margelony – Fuschias in the City

Amy Fedele* – Pretty Purple Door
Karl Gercens* – Longwood Gardens Blog

Layanee DeMerchant – Ledge & Gardens

Janet Ledebuhr – The Queen of Seaford
Julie Thompson-Adolf – Garden Delights

Gail Eichelberger – Clay and Limestone
Frances Garrison – Fairegarden
Kim Halyak – Cooper-Young Garden Club

Vicki Blachman – Playin’ Outside
Lori Daul – The Gardener of Good and Evil
Caroline Homer – The Shovel-Ready Garden
Cat Jones – The Whimsical Gardener
Diana Kirby – Sharing Nature’s Garden
Jean McWeeney – Dig, Grow, Compost, Blog
Pam Penick – Digging
Cindy Tournier  My Corner of Katy
Laura Wills – Wills Family Acres

Megan Cain – The Creative Vegetable Gardener (Planning Committee)
Mark Dwyer* – Landscape Prescriptions by MD (Planning Committee)
Sheri Kaz* – My Garden Zone
Carla TePaske*  The River
Lucy Saunders* – Beercook (Planning Committee)
Erin Schanen* – The Impatient Gardener
Beth Stetenfeld – PlantPostings  (Planning Committee)
Chan M. Stroman* – Bookish Gardener
Anneliese Valdes – Cobrahead Blog (Planning Committee)
Danniel Ward-Packard* – Botanica

Helen Battersby – Toronto Gardens (Ontario)
Margaret Mishra – The Gardening Me (Ontario)

Michelle Chapman – Veg Plotting

* denotes new attendee

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Sunday's Private Gardens: Colorful, Charming, and Creative

We’ve previewed the Madison gardens we’ll visit on Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, June 21, we’ll head east and southeast to visit a garden on Madison’s isthmus, a garden in the suburb of Monona, and two gardens in the small city of Stoughton.

Jane and Duane Miller have an urban garden within Madison’s isthmus that showcases very creative use of a small lot. During the growing season, they repurpose their driveway as a pathway and patio into the garden. Plants in rolling pots—along with garden furniture, portable fences, planters, and umbrellas—come out to form a wonderful dining and entertaining space. “Since many things are on wheels,” says Jane, “we can rearrange spaces or create a parking spot if needed. A wood pergola on one side and a secret garden nestled between two garages in back form the other garden rooms in our space.” The couple’s colorful bowling ball collection lines the front garden. Arbors and fencing divide the property into gardening “rooms” filled with colorful annuals, dramatic foliage plants, and decorative surprises around every corner.

Ann Munson has planted more than 220 trees and shrubs, and untold numbers of perennials and annuals, since 1980, in her ¾-acre suburban property. Free of traditional grass lawns, the gardens of sun and shade are connected with rock, stone, and wood chip paths. Two ponds and a connecting stream provide water for wildlife and stimulation of the senses. “I recycle as much from the land as possible, and recycle interesting items as I find them,” says Ann. “My gardens allow me to participate in the ongoing cycle of life—seeking beauty, health, and creativity. I want there to be mystery, excitement, interaction, and health in the garden. I want color, design, natural critters, and the flow of the seasons made real. I want to look out my window at a natural world, and step out my door and do a forest bath.”

Jim Ottney and Jay Hatheway have gardened at their Stoughton home since the mid-1990s. When they bought the house, the “yard” was an untended field of weeds, an oil change sand pit, piles of old tires, clotheslines, volunteer trees at random locations, and various invasive plants. They turned over the entire lot by hand, and beginning with several small beds along the fringes and foundation yews, they transformed the lot. The entire garden is laced with pathways and seating areas, incorporating a newer central pergola over the original patio, a metal gazebo in the back, a deck overlooking the entire garden, garden art distributed throughout, and a flagstone open space in one section. “Gardens can be whatever you imagine,” notes Jim. “We wanted a private escape and a space where we could entertain small groups of friends. We worked within the limits we were given and discovered ways to use foliage variety to create interest.”

Janet Aaberg’s property had just one tree in the back and one in the front when she moved to her home in 1992. “I added a few shrubs and flowers, but it wasn’t until 2000 after a life-changing event that I really started digging,” she says. “Each year, I either enlarged an existing bed or dug up a new one, and I now tend to 18 large perennial beds.” Janet has a diverse selection of perennials including 32 varieties of Clematis, most of which should be blooming when we visit. “You’ll also see garden art mixed into each garden,” she adds. “I have a very sunny, hot location, and with years of planning, I have something blooming from April through November. My slice of paradise is not only good food for the soul, but also for the critters, pollinators, and insects.”

Our private gardeners are looking forward to your visit! Stay tuned for more planned highlights of the 2020 Fling. (Note: This schedule may change; we will keep you updated here and on the Fling Facebook page.)

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Madison and Beyond: Destinations Before and After the Fling

Lower Yahara River Trail

There are many places to explore in and near Madison if you have extra time before or after the Fling. Madison is centrally located in the south of the state, so many of these destinations are short drives away or easy day trips.

We’ve mentioned the numerous bike paths that loop in and around the city and the county. There are more than 100 miles of shared-use trails throughout Dane County. Some are great for other purposes, too. For example, the Capital City State Trail is a 20-mile, paved trail accessible for bicycles, skaters, strollers, walkers, joggers, and wheelchairs.

The Capital City Trail meets the Lower Yahara River Trail southeast of the city, on the western side of Lake Waubesa, and traverses across the northern edge of the lake. The core of this trail is a mile-long boardwalk/bridge that’s the longest boardwalk in Wisconsin and one of the longest elevated bike/pedestrian structures in the U.S.

Old World Wisconsin Clausing Octagonal Barn

A little further to the east, about an hour’s drive from downtown Madison, you’ll find Old World Wisconsin, an open-air, living history museum, depicting the lives of 19th Century Wisconsin settlers. The 600-acre property features more than 50 immersive spaces that bring the stories of Wisconsin immigrant families to life.

Local residents play the parts of historical figures in period costumes, describing and demonstrating daily life for typical settlers of the time. They demonstrate cooking, cleaning, crafts, chores, and gardening in and around the historical homes, businesses, and farms. A 45-minute tram tour provides an overview of the entire property, or you can hop on and off as often as you like at the tram stops.

Lake Geneva Gardens

Another easy destination to the east of Madison is Lake Geneva, named USA Today’s 2019 #1 Best Small Town for Adventure. From water sports to ziplining to mountain biking and hot-air balloon rides, Lake Geneva is a bustling place.

The town of about 8,000 residents has been a popular resort destination since the American Civil War, when it became known as the “Newport of the West,” a popular year-round resort for wealthy Chicago residents who built homes and estates on the lake and in the hills around the town. Tourism now dominates, and Lake Geneva is known for its scenic beauty, luxurious resorts, and historic mansions. A 23-mile path—open to the public—circles Geneva Lake, passing through the backyards of extravagant mansions once owned by the Wrigleys, Rockefellers, and other famous families. The colorful, well-maintained gardens along this path are impressive.
Mitchell Park Desert Dome

About 45 miles from Lake Geneva, or 75 miles from Madison, lies downtown Milwaukee. Where do we start to cover all the things you can do in this bustling big city along the shores of Lake Michigan? Some of the more famous Milwaukee attractions include Miller Park, home to the Milwaukee Brewers; the Milwaukee Art Museum, one of the largest in the U.S.; the Harley-Davidson Museum; the Pabst Mansion, home of the famed beer family; and many more.

The Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory is a great destination for plant-lovers. The three domes, designed by a Milwaukee architect in the 1950s, include the Show Dome, which transforms with each season; the Desert Dome, featuring plants from the deserts of the American Southwest, Africa, Madagascar, South America, and Mexico; and the Tropical Dome, which includes more than 1,200 species of tropical plants.

Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin
Photo by Edward Stojakovic

A completely different day trip includes a one-hour jaunt to Spring Green, Wisconsin, to experience Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wright’s estate and museum. The 600-acre property was developed on land that originally belonged to Wright’s mother’s family. The design of the original building was consistent with the design principles of the Prairie School, emulating the flatness of the plains and the natural limestone outcroppings of Wisconsin’s Driftless Region.

Spend a day or more in Spring Green and you’ll have enough time to visit The House on the Rock, a complex of architecturally distinct rooms, streets, gardens, and shops designed by eccentric architect Alex Jordan Jr. It’s hard to describe this place; suffice it to say the attraction’s description, “An experience you will never forget,” is appropriate. Allow several hours to tour it.

Devil's Lake State Park
A drive to Devil’s Lake State Park, also about an hour from Madison, takes you northwest, through the stunning scenery of the Baraboo Hills. Devil’s Lake, itself, draws 3 million visitors each year to see its 500-foot quartzite cliffs, clear blue lake, and rare plants. The park is home to around 1,500 plant species, including 71 species on the Wisconsin rare vascular plant working list, 7 endangered species, 17 threatened species, and 47 species of special concern.

The bluffs at the state park show evidence of the collision of continents that crumpled the land 1.6 billion years ago into the bluffs we see today. Volcanoes, tropical oceans, and glaciers all left visible mementos of their stays. Devil’s Lake, itself, is spring-fed, and ranges from 40 to 50 feet deep.

Wisconsin Dells Ducks
self [CC BY-SA (]

Just a half-hour drive north from Devil’s Lake, you’ll find Wisconsin Dells, which claims the title of the “Waterpark Capital of the World.” There are at least six waterparks in the area, including those at area resorts, but there’s much more to do in Wisconsin Dells. Wineries, golf courses, museums, live entertainment, ziplining, lumberjack shows, and many more activities can be found in this Midwestern tourist mecca.

A must-do activity while in the Dells is to take a scenic “duck” tour. Originally developed to ferry troops and supplies from ship to shore during World War II, the duck is an amphibious truck. It’s the perfect way to explore the Dells—easily maneuvering with ease through steep trails, deep ravines, and rugged rock formations, and then splashing into the water for a smooth boat ride.

Yellow Lady's Slipper Orchids
The Ridges Sanctuary

If you have more time, a trip to Door County is worth your while. The trip is about three hours from Madison. Often described as the “Cape Cod of the Midwest,” Door County is the “thumb” of the hand that forms Wisconsin. It’s a peninsula surrounded by Green Bay on its western edge and Lake Michigan along the eastern edge.

Door County offers 300 miles of shoreline, thousands of acres of fruit orchards, plentiful art galleries, endless shopping opportunities, wineries and breweries, five state parks, and 11 historic lighthouses. For plant-lovers, The Ridges Sanctuary is a botanical wonderland. Wisconsin’s most biologically diverse ecosystem, its ridge-swale complex is home to rare plants like trailing arbutus (Epigaea repens), dwarf lake iris (Iris lacustris), and the yellow lady’s-slipper orchid (Cypripedium parviflorum).

There’s much more to see, of course, but this gives you a start to exploring highlights of the Badger State. Visit for more suggestions. Stay tuned for more information on attractions in and around Madison, itself.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Brunch at the Goodman Community Center

Following our morning exploring the Dane County Farmers’ Market on Saturday, June 20, we’ll head to a catered brunch at the Goodman Community Center. Located on the near East side of Madison, the Goodman Center is a private nonprofit that serves the entire community through programs such as early childhood education, its TEENworks high school program, older adult activities, and many others.

Our group will be served through the center’s Working Class Catering participants—a “classroom” of teens who work and learn alongside food service professionals. The students are integrated into all parts of the business, learning all aspects of running a full-service catering company.

Meals are made from scratch, with high-quality, organic ingredients—locally sourced, when available. The program is a win-win: providing delicious meals and empowering local teens in education and employment.

After brunch, we’ll walk past the Atwood Community Gardens to Olbrich Botanical Gardens, just a short distance from the community center. Saturday will be a day to fully explore and appreciate all types of gardening—from edibles to ornamentals.

***Note: If you missed it, registration is now open!***

Friday, January 24, 2020

Register for the Madison Fling!

Registration is now open!

To register, fill out this APPLICATION, and we'll send you the link to the registration portal.

The 2020 Madison Garden Bloggers Fling aims to showcase diverse gardens and gardening styles found in the Madison area, and leave you with great memories and new inspirations. We’ve included tours of exceptional private gardens and some of the best public gardens in our area. Our preliminary itinerary, also shared on the 2020 Madison tab above, includes many, but not all, of the gardens that we will visit:

Madison Garden Bloggers Fling

June 18 - 21, 2020

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

Any questions? Feel free to contact us:

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!

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):

The horticultural gardens at the UW-Madison Arboretum

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 gardens 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 10 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. Stay tuned for updates.)

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.

When Does Registration Open?

When Should I Arrive?

We recommend arriving on Wednesday, June 17, or, at the latest, by mid-afternoon on Thursday, June 18, so you can attend the Fling welcome event, pick up your name tag and swag bag, and settle in. The Fling ends on Sunday, June 21, with a special surprise that you won't want to miss! We'll have you back to the hotel by early evening. We recommend departing on Monday, June 22. (To be safe, hold off on making any noncancellable reservations until after you're registered.)

Of course we hope many of you will come early or stay later to see more of Madison's attractions. Stay tuned: We’ll highlight many of them in the weeks ahead!


When you arrive in Madison—a vibrant cultural hub of art, music, food, and more—you’ll be staying at the Concourse Hotel and Governor’s Club, located at 1 West Dayton Street, Madison, WI, 53703. This is where we'll board our buses every morning and drop off at the end of the day.

Downtown Madison is known for easy walk-ability, bike paths for miles, delightful festivals, an awe-inspiring farmers’ market, dozens of live music venues, world-class restaurants, and art museums—all nestled on an isthmus between two sapphire lakes and steps from the Concourse Hotel.

The hotel is also located just a short walking distance from the pedestrian-only State Street, the State Capitol, and the waterfront summer hangout Memorial Union Terrace.

The entire isthmus is a busy, vibrant area full of opportunities to explore and enjoy!

Each room at the Concourse has complimentary wifi access, making it easy to check in on social media and connect with friends and family. An indoor pool and fitness center are also available if you’re so inclined.

You’ll find contemporary American dining at the CIRC restaurant, which crafts seasonal dishes featuring ingredients from local farmers and producers.

The Bar, located on the first floor near the lobby, offers an extensive wine list, an impressive craft beer selection, and artisan cocktails. In addition, a full-service Starbucks is adjacent to the lobby.

The Concourse offers gathering spaces throughout the lobby—perfect for relaxing and catching up with other Flingers.

State Street is just around the corner from the hotel, and you’ll want to explore this seven-block, bustling pedestrian thoroughfare for shopping, dining, or simply people-watching. We're also planning some time on Saturday morning to explore the Dane County Farmers' Marketconveniently located on the tree-lined grounds surrounding the Wisconsin State Capitol building, near the hotel.

We'll be blogging ab
out all of this in much more detail as we get closer to the Fling. If you're planning on an extended stay, we'll also provide information about additional plant shopping, garden visiting, sightseeing, and entertainment opportunities in Madison and the surrounding area. Consider adding a day or two on the front or the end of the Fling dates.

Our reserved (limited number of rooms) room rate is $189/night for single and double; $199 for triple; and $209 for quad. At registration time, you'll have access to the special rates.

Getting to the Hotel

Driving: If you'll be driving to Madison, hotel parking is available for a special rate for our group of $10 USD daily; valet parking $20 USD daily. Max height 6'. Our official Fling hotel is the Madison Concourse Hotel.

Flying: If you'll be flying to Madison, The Concourse provides complimentary airport shuttle service between the airport and the hotel; simply call the hotel when you’re ready for pick-up. We do not recommend renting a car during the Fling tour days (June 19-21) because we'll be busing you everywhere. A rental car will be useful, however, if you'll be staying in the Madison area longer and exploring beyond the downtown area.

Other options for getting from the airport to the hotel:
    >Rideshare options include Carmel, Uber, and Lyft.
    >Taxis can be hailed outside baggage claim, on the lower level. Estimated fare is $25 USD one way.

    >More options can be found on the airport’s ground transportation page.