Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Meet Our Community: Angie Baer, rose lover and happy gardener

 


Let's get to know each other!


Since we're not able to meet up in person this year, let's meet online. Today we're introducing a member of our Fling community* here and on Instagram, in their own words. We're excited to see what everyone's talking about and sharing with their followers!

(*Any garden blogger, vlogger, podcaster, or Instagrammer who follows our Instagram or is a member of our Facebook group. If you'd like to be considered or recommend someone for a Meet Our Community profile, email us.)


Angie Baer


My name is Maria, but everyone calls me Angie. I’m originally from Puerto Rico but now call Minnesota my home. I love sharing the ups and downs of gardening, especially lessons learned from a rookie perspective, on my blog, The Happy Gardener. When I started gardening and reading garden blogs, some of the information seemed complicated and overwhelming. So I decided to learn from trial and error. A lot of what I share on my blog is from that perspective. But now that I have more knowledge I’ve updated some of my posts to reflect that.

I am obsessed with English roses. I love watching the buds open into the most gorgeous blooms. But here in zone 4 I have to be imaginative in order to overwinter them. In my garden, roses are my spoiled babies. I have a love/hate relationship with dahlias. When I lived in North Carolina, they were easy to grow. But in Minnesota it’s a completely different game. For the past 3 years I’ve had the worst luck with them! First they got hit with the dahlia mosaic virus. The next year constant rain rotted the tubers. Last year burrowers took hold of them. It can be heartbreaking, but I love a challenge.

I use herbs as companion plants to deter pests. But on a more personal level, growing herbs reminds me of summers in Alsace-Lorraine in France. When I was in the U.S. Army, stationed in Germany, I visited often because it was so close. I remember pots of herbs everywhere and at the farmers’ market. The scent of herbs brings back those memories.

Lavender is one of my favorite plants. I associate its scent with my mom, who wears lavender perfume. I’ve been told the 'Munstead' variety, while officially hardy only to zone 5, does well here in zone 4, and I’m growing it this year. Fingers crossed.

The pandemic turned me into the quintessential crazy plant lady. I love the variety of houseplants available today, and the challenge of keeping them healthy. And any garden with a palm house immediately gets a piece of my heart. I love the Victorian quality of conservatories. The care that goes into growing tropical species in those environments always impresses me.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The American Rose Society, in partnership with the Tomb of the Unknown Society, is encouraging members to grow a Never Forget Garden to commemorate the occasion. I’m partnering with my hometown community center to create a rose garden there, selecting cold-hardy white roses (the official flower of the Centennial of the Unknown Soldier) like ‘Long John Silver’ and ‘Polar Express’ and others with theme-appropriate names, like 'Hope for Humanity' and 'Bordeaux'.

I am also starting to create gardening content in Spanish. That is my first language, and I have not found many Spanish-language gardening blogs for my area, so that is potentially a project for later this year.


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Thanks for sharing your work and gardening passions with us, Angie! Visit Angie at The Happy Gardener and follow her on Instagram and Vimeo.

Photographs courtesy of Angie Baer.

Friday, June 25, 2021

The Madison Fling: Third Time's the Charm


The Isthmus: Downtown Madison, surrounded by lakes.
Photo courtesy the Madison Concourse Hotel

Hey All! We're moving forward with plans for the Fling in Madison, Wisconsin, Thursday, June 23 – Sunday, June 26, 2022. The good news is, all the venues have agreed to recommit with us! We hope you’re all healthy and ready for a fun gathering with garden writers and bloggers.

(Please note that any links here to previous posts about our venues will be correct, except for the dates, which are moved to 6/23 - 6/26, 2022.)

 

Here's the schedule overview, which is still subject to change:

 

Thursday, June 23:


On Thursday, expect to arrive early if you want to scout out the town before the events begin. Our headquarters hotel is The Madison Concourse Hotel. Registration is scheduled for 4:30-5:30 p.m., with a special gathering opener event at the Madison Children’s Museum, starting at 6 p.m.



The gravel gardens at Epic Systems.
Friday, June 24:

Friday events begin early, as we plan to load buses promptly at 8-8:15 a.m. We’ll first head to private gardens in the Middleton and Fitchburg communities. Our midday events and lunch will occur at the UW-Madison Arboretum, which was recently designated a National Historic Landmark, and includes the world’s oldest restored prairie.

 

The afternoon includes more visits to private gardens in Middleton and Fitchburg, followed by a visit to Epic Systems’ gardens late in the day. Epic employs more than 10,000 people, and its campus covers 1,100 acres. Horticulturist Jeff Epping, who is also director of horticulture at Olbrich Botanical Gardens, will lead our tour at Epic.




Thai Pavilion at Olbrich Botanical Gardens.


Saturday, June 25:


We’re planning a slightly more casual beginning on Saturday. Attendees are encouraged to check out the Dane County Farmers’ Market on the Capitol Square, just a short walk from our official hotel, the Madison Concourse. The market opens at 6 a.m., and we’ll load buses for the day from 9:30-9:45 a.m.

 

Next, we’ll head to the Goodman Community Center for brunch and a view of the center’s community gardens, followed by a self-guided visit to the renowned Olbrich Botanical Gardens, just a short walk or bus ride away. Olbrich includes 16 acres of display gardens, an indoor tropical conservatory, a Thai pavilion and garden, and a new learning center.

 

We’ll tour private Madison gardens after our Olbrich visit, followed by our Fling banquet and auction.









Boxwood and tuteur display
at Rotary Botanical Gardens.
Sunday, June 26:

Our final day of the Fling will be as action-packed as the others, starting with bus-loading at 8 a.m. We’ll visit private gardens in and near Madison, followed by a visit to a local greenhouse. Then, we’ll be back on the buses for a 45-minute drive to Rotary Botanical Gardens, in Janesville, south of Madison.

Rotary Botanical Gardens covers 20 acres and boasts 26 different garden styles and 4,000 varieties of plants. We’ll eat lunch there, and then head back north for more private garden visits in the small city of Stoughton.

 

We’ll end our day, and the Fling at Allen Centennial Garden on the UW-Madison campus. Allen is a quaint, 90,000-square-foot site, featuring mainly ornamental perennials, along with annuals and woody plants. You don’t want to miss this visit because there will be a special surprise at the end!

 

That’s the summary! Watch for more details in the weeks and months ahead!

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Meet Our Community: Amy Fedele, online garden designer and allium fan

 


Let's get to know each other!


Since we're not able to meet up in person this year, let's meet online. Every week or so we're introducing a member of our Fling community* here and on Instagram, in their own words. We're excited to see what everyone's talking about and sharing with their followers!

(*Any garden blogger, vlogger, podcaster, or Instagrammer who follows our Instagram or is a member of our Facebook group. If you'd like to be considered or recommend someone for a Meet Our Community profile, email us.)


Amy Fedele



My garden
I’m an animal lover, lifelong painter, and professional graphic designer, and I love to garden and design landscapes. When I first started designing my own garden, I struggled a lot. I found it difficult to work in a 3D space. Plants were constantly growing and changing, flowers were going in and out of bloom, and everything had to look good from a million different angles. And I couldn't find many online resources applicable to smaller home landscapes.

Over time I realized that all the tricks I use in my graphic design work could also be used in my garden! So I created a garden design framework that combines gardening with color theory and design techniques in a way that's easy for homeowners to understand and apply. I teach my framework in an online course on my website, Pretty Purple Door, that's tailored towards homeowners looking to design a unique and manageable landscape with 4-season interest. The course makes gardening so much more fun than just plopping random plants in the ground and hoping for the best.

Alliums
I live and garden in northeastern Pennsylvania. My blog began as documentation of my journey into homeownership. The first year was filled with lots of DIY projects and fixing up the house. But soon my interest shifted towards landscaping, and I started writing about what I was learning while designing my garden beds.

My favorite flowers are alliums for the structure and presence they create in a garden. Their whimsical shape reminds me of Dr. Seuss books I loved as a child. My favorite garden to visit is Chanticleer for its design, plant diversity, and ever-changing presence. I want to visit all of the gardens in the Philadelphia area. Currently there are 36 gardens on my list!

The best part of sharing my own gardening experience online is the feedback from my students and readers. I get really excited when I hear that I've played even a small part in helping someone carry out their creative vision and make their dream garden. I want others to become just as addicted to gardening as I am. I don't think this world can ever have enough gardeners!

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Thanks for sharing your work and gardening passions with us, Amy! Visit Amy at Pretty Purple Door, and follow her on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest.

Photographs courtesy of Amy Fedele.

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Meet Our Community: Jean McWeeney, container and pollinator gardener

 


Let's get to know each other!


Since we're not able to meet up in person this year, let's meet online. Every week or so we're introducing a member of our Fling community* here and on Instagram, in their own words. We're excited to see what everyone's talking about and sharing with their followers!

(*Any garden blogger, vlogger, podcaster, or Instagrammer who follows our Instagram or is a member of our Facebook group. If you'd like to be considered or recommend someone for a Meet Our Community profile, email us.)


Jean McWeeney



My former garden in Ruston, LA
My gardening chops were honed in the South, where I’ve been gardening my whole adult life, first in Austin, then north Louisiana, and now Houston.

When I first heard about garden blogs, I thought it would be a great way to keep a journal about my own garden and learn from others. So I started Dig, Grow, Compost, Blog, naming it after the gardening cycle. For 10 years I blogged about my garden in north Louisiana and my travels, which usually included a plant-y thing or two. In 2019 my husband and I moved to Houston and a rented house, and I’m now gardening exclusively in containers. What a switch! I’ve also moved over to Instagram because of the ease of posting photos there. I do miss musing on lengthier topics though.

My patio garden in Houston
Even though I’m now gardening in containers on my patio, I still try to create a sense of peace and tranquility. I also love wildlife, so there are lots of pollinator-friendly plants. A good day is watering the pots and topping up the fountain, maybe potting up a plant, and sitting on the patio watching the bees, butterflies, wasps, and birds. Besides pollinator plants I grow succulents, herbs, peppers, orchids, water plants, and the odd tree and rose.

I love just about all types of gardens, and through attending the Garden Bloggers Fling over the years I’ve seen some fabulous ones, both public and private. In fact, I have to put in a plug for attending the Fling. The annual tours have opened my eyes to the rich variety of gardens in North America and the passion of gardeners everywhere, and they’ve introduced me to some wonderful people I now call friends.


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Thanks for sharing your work and gardening passions with us, Jean! Visit Jean at Dig, Grow, Compost, Blog, and follow her on Instagram.

Photographs courtesy of Jean McWeeney.

Monday, April 5, 2021

Meet Our Community: Chris Link, co-founder of Plant Addicts

 

Let's get to know each other!


Since we're not able to meet up in person this year, let's meet online. Every week we're introducing a member of our Fling community* here and on Instagram, in their own words. We're excited to see what everyone's talking about and sharing with their followers!

(*Any garden blogger, vlogger, podcaster, or Instagrammer who follows our Instagram or is a member of our Facebook group. If you'd like to be considered or recommend someone for a Meet Our Community profile, email us.)


Chris Link




I started Plant Addicts 3 years ago with my business partner, Richard, whom I’ve known since elementary school. We sell plants online in the Lower 48 states and provide plant care information. Our goal is to help new gardeners be as successful as possible. That allows them to enjoy gardening more and makes happier customers for us. It also gives us brand recognition with people who may not be in the market for a plant at the moment, but who will hopefully think of us the next time they are looking for a plant.

I live in Valley, Nebraska, near Omaha. The more I learn and write about gardening, the more I love it. I started gardening 6 years ago. Hydrangea is my favorite plant, and I also like sedum, a super-underrated plant in my opinion. Sedums are evergreen, great for butterflies, and soooooo easy to care for! Lately I'm getting into growing food and herbs. However, growing rosemary indoors has been my nemesis.

Garden Walk Buffalo in New York is my favorite tour because you get to visit so many gardens. It’s truly a community event. Even the yards that aren’t on the official tour are beautiful, and the entire city makes an effort to grow beautiful yards and gardens. I haven't seen any other place that takes so much collective pride in their yards.

When we launched Plant Addicts -- essentially from our couches -- Richard and I were still working at full-time jobs. Last fall we took a leap of faith and now focus on our business full-time. Somehow we’re even busier than before! A major project we’re working on with our website is providing info for people who have never gardened before, explaining the differences between each plant type and how to pick out plants that are perfect for their spot. We hope to encourage more people to start gardening.

Chris (left) with his family, Holly, Lydia & Delilah, and Richard (right) with his family, Stephanie & Krew


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Thanks for sharing your work and gardening passions with us, Chris! Visit Plant Addicts and its gardening blog, and follow them on Facebook and Instagram

Photographs courtesy of Chris Link.