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.)