Sunday, November 3, 2013

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Fling souvenir buttons ready to be mailed to attendees

This year Fling attendees received wallet-style name badges that hang from the neck, replacing the pin-on tags of years past. These badges, which have a handy zippered compartment for collecting business cards, were also perfect for displaying the new Fling buttons!

Just for a fun little souvenir, the Fling Advisory Committee created pins for each of the previous Flings and passed them out to attendees in San Francisco. Everyone got the San Francisco button, of course, and those who'd attended other Flings received those buttons as well.

That's my badge in the photo above, and you can see how I pinned my Fling buttons along the margin. I added a Flower Floozie pin from Annie's Annuals for good measure. Badge jewelry! Don't you want yours?

I brought home the extra pins, and I'm ready to mail them out to those who've attended Fling(s) but didn't make it to San Francisco this year. Just mail me a stamped, self-addressed envelope and tell me which Flings you've attended. I'll mail the buttons right out to you.

I'm loath to put my mailing address online for everyone to see, so email me at FlingButtons at gmail dot com to request the address. Please include your blog name in the subject line of your email so I know you're not a spammer.

Remember to include an SASE; return postage is on you. A 1st-class stamp ought to cover it. UPDATE 7/23/13: I've just learned that postage for multiple buttons can significantly exceed one 1st-class stamp. You may need to put 4 stamps on your SASE or risk getting billed by USPS for the remaining postage. Please use your best judgment regarding postage. For one button, a single stamp should be enough. For multiple buttons, be generous with your stamps or keep an eye out for a bill. We definitely want the buttons to reach you!

Enjoy your souvenir buttons! Oh, and bring them to next year's Fling if you like and dress up your badge again. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The SF Fling has Flung

Official Group Photo by
San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers
June 28, 2013

Dear Garden Blogger Fling Attendees:

Thanks so much for attending and making this the best Fling ever! We hope you've recovered from three days of garden and nursery touring... and then some! Surely many of you have started to go through images and recount stories from our time together. Please consider sharing them, via links to your personal blog posts, in the comments section below, and/or on the Garden Bloggers Fling Facebook page. If you have specific posts for specific gardens, each of the tour stops has a general information post (following this one), so you can add your post to their comments section accordingly. It's a great way to see and read about everyone's perspectives of the various places we visited together.

Please be sure to share your personal thanks with the generous sponsors that helped make the San Francisco Fling so successful. Each sponsor is listed by sponsor level category along the right hand column of this blog, with links to their websites and contact information. Sponsorships contributed not only to the TWO swag bags you received, but also to offset the costs of our travel, garden admissions and sustenance. A hearty thank you goes out to them all!

Happy blogging and we hope to see you at the next Fling in Portland, Oregon. Sounds like the PDX Crew is tentatively looking at mid to late July, 2014.

Your SF Fling Crew,
Kelly, Andrea, Charlotte, Claire and Maggie. 

P.S. To post a hyperlinked URL to your blog post in the comments section you'll have to add a bit of HTML code to do so, as Blogger thinks they're spam and won't publish the comment.

I'll use Helen (The Patient Gardener)'s First Fling overview as an example 
(surely she won't mind...)

First, post a comment with your URL & blog post title (shown in orange above) added to the HTML code as shown below

Then, click the Preview button to see if the link worked and/or to edit as needed:
Then, enter Publish and your comment with a hyperlink to your post should appear, pending Blog administration, of course.

Hope that helps and isn't too confusing. If anyone knows a different workaround, let us know.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Flora Grubb

(photo via

Location: San Francisco

Closing Fling cocktail party
Possible tour of Flora Grubb staff designed gardens nearby
Fun & Shopping

Fling Attendees: Please add a link to your post about this garden event in the comments section below.

Nichols Garden

(photo by Floradoragardens)
Nichols Garden
Location: Oakland

Garden Description by Ann Nichols:
When eco-visionary landscape designer Bob Clark first visited Ann Nichols’ house in the late 90’s, he found a boring narrow walkway along the side that led up from the street to the back yard. Today one is drawn toward a whimsical fence built of tree branches and ropes which Cristo and Robinson Crusoe might have built together. One climbs past gurgling water that passes through salvage pipes onto shells, then along a mini-canal and into ponds surrounded by her personal collectibles embedded in cement. On the wall at the top, a mirror set within a mosaic mural invites the curious visitor into the back yard.

On the other side of the gate, one discovers a yard on many levels, each designed as an outdoor room. The black and silver garden, called the entry “parlor,” is bordered by a wooden fence and two cement walls. Another mirror hangs from the fence, as if to say “you are here!”  Jasmine, a Japanese maple, heucheras, black mondo grass and various ferns create a restful spot for a visitor to sit and enjoy the cool shade.

Going past the patio, one enters the white garden. White digitalis, gardenias, white day lilies and other flowers whose hues range from chalk to cream give this room its color. Up another level lies a lawn, bordered brightly colored flower beds.

Higher on the hill is the Rose garden. Weeping Sequoia, tied together, form an allee  into this fragrant garden underplanted with blue flowered perennials. Forget-Me-Nots, Salvias, Clematis, Irises, and Geraniums color this room, as does the blue star creeper that grows between the patio pavers.

The front garden at the street is the most recently developed. This garden was built around a Canary Date Palm, the only plant that remains on the property from the time the house was purchased 30 years ago. For the most part, there is a subtropical feel here. It is filled with Bromeliads Echeverias, Orchids, Tillandsias and Aloes. The hope was to give passers by a few seconds in the tropics on their way to their busy lives!

Fling Attendees: Please add a link to your post about this garden in the comments section below.

Keeyla Meadows Garden

(photo via

Keeyla Meadows Gardens + Art
Location: Albany

Fling Attendees: Please add a link to your post about this garden in the comments section below.

Dudan Garden

(photo by Floradoragardens)

Dudan Garden
Location: Walnut Creek

Landscape Designers:
BuenoLuna Landscape Design
Floradora Gardens

Fling Attendees: Please add a link to your post about this garden in the comments section below.

Ruth Bancroft Garden

(photo by Floradoragardens)

Location: Walnut Creek

Fling Attendees: Please add a link to your post about this garden in the comments section below.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Testa-Vought Garden

(photo by Andrea Testa-Vought via Pacific Horticulture, as seen in our preview post)

Testa-Vought Garden
Location: Palo Alto

Designed by Bernard Trainor

Fling Attendees: Please add a link to your post about this garden in the comments section below.

Rebecca Sweet's Garden

(photo via Harmony in the Garden, Rebecca Sweet)

Rebecca Sweet's Garden
Location: Los Altos

Garden Design: Rebecca Sweet, Harmony in the Garden

Garden DescriptionI’ve spent the past 15 years re-inventing the garden of my childhood home nestled within the heart of Silicon Valley.  My goal?  To create a secluded, private and deeply personal garden where one can lose themselves for hours, despite being surrounded by such a bustling urban area.
Consisting of several private spaces, infused with childhood mementos from both my own past as well as my daughter’s, my garden is less of a designer showpiece and more like a diary. It’s a place to play, experiment and show my personality - and I love it with all my heart.
Garden HighlightsSucculents mixed throughout lush, traditional borders, including:
-     -  an unusual variegated Octopus agave (Agave vilmoriniana)
-         lush stonecrop used instead of mulch
-         succulents and perennials living happily together in windowboxes
-         towering aeoniums (‘Zwartzkopf’ and ‘Cyclops’) at home with perennial borders
-         borders of echeveria imbricata woven throughout, originating from my parent’s first garden over 45 years ago!

Australian plants at home in my garden:
-         Grevillea ‘Superb’, ‘Mt. Tamboritha’
-         Euphorbia ceratocarpa, ‘Glacier Blue’, ‘Blackbird’, ‘Ruby Glow’, ‘Ascots Rainbow’
-         Kniphofia ‘Mango Popsicle’
-         Phormium ‘Sea Jade’, ‘Atropurpureum’
-         Australian Willow trees (Geijera parviflora)
-         Anigozanthos ‘Harmony’
-         Bulbine frutescens

Extensive use of evergreen shrubs and trees (both common and unusual) act as the bones of the garden and provide year-round color, texture and form:
-         Pittosporum (‘Golf Ball Kohuhu’, ‘Wheelers Dwarf’, ‘Tasman Ruffles’, Tobira)
-          Euonymus (‘Green Spires, ‘Emerald Gaity’, ‘Emerald n Gold’, Boxleaf, ‘Moonshadow’)
-          Loropetalum  (‘Purple Pixie’, ‘Ever Red’, ‘Sizzling Pink’)
-          Laurel (‘Saratoga’, ‘English’)
-          Podocarpus ‘Icee Blue’
-          Elaeagnus pungens ‘Gilt Edge’
-          Citrus (‘Washington Naval’ tree, espaliered kumquat, ‘Bearrs’ lime, ‘Meyer’ and ‘Eureka’ lemon)
-          Camelias (‘Scentsation’, ‘Apple Blossom’, ‘Debutante’, ‘Setsugekka’, ‘Yuletide’)
-          Manzanita ‘Howard McMinn’

Grasses and grass-like plants woven throughout:
-         Lomandra ‘Breeze Mat’
-         Carex divulsa (Berkeley Sedge)
-         Carex secta
-         Carex ‘Evergold’
-         Carex ‘Evergreen’
-         Carex testacea (Orange Carex)
-         Blue Oat Grass
-         Blue Lime Grass
-         Blue Fescue (‘Beyond Blue’ – new variety)
-         Sesleria ‘John Greenlee’
    Miscanthus ‘Morning Light’

Fling Attendees: Please add a link to your post about this garden in the comments section below.


(photo via Floradoragardens)

A Site of The National Trust for Historic Preservation and a
California State Historic Landmark
Location: Woodside

Fling Attendees: Please add a link to your post about this garden in the comments section below.

Sunset Headquarters

(photo via

Sunset Headquarters
Location: Menlo Park

Sunset sponsor presentations:
Sunset Western Garden Collection,
Southern Living Plant Collection and 
Encore Azalea

Bailey Nurseries sponsor presentations:
Endless Summer Collection and 
First Editions Collection

We also toured Sunset Gardens

Fling Attendees: Please add a link to your post about this garden and the sponsor presentations in the comments section below.

Photo Workshop with Saxon Holt at the San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum

(San Francisco Botanical Garden's Entry Garden. Photo by Saxon Holt; via SFBG website)

Several Fling attendees hopped on the early bus to the
San Francisco Botanical Garden at Strybing Arboretum for a photography workshop with Saxon Holt.

Fling Attendees: Please add a link to your post about the garden, arboretum and photography workshop with Saxon in the comments section below.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Dinner at Conservatory of Flowers

(photo via Floradoragardens)

Location: San Francisco

Group Photo, 
Cash Bar,
Catered Dinner, 
Sponsor Presentations, 
Swag Bags and Raffle!

Fling Attendees: Please add a link to your post about this garden in the comments section below.

Wave Garden

(photo by slotharium)
Wave Garden
Location: Richmond Point

Designer: Victor Amador
Landscape Designer: Kellee Adams of Dig-it Landscape Design
Blacksmith: Robert Sharpe

Fling Attendees: Please add a link to your post about this garden in the comments section below.

Fun and Games at Annie's Annuals & Perennials

Fun was had by all at Annie's Annuals & Perennials

We learned all about the latest products by our BLOOM sponsor Dramm.

Fling Attendees: Please add a link to your post about this garden extravaganza in the comments section below.

Matt Gil Sculpture Garden

(photo by Dan Carlson)

Matt Gil Sculpture Garden
Location: San Francisco
Designed by Dan Carlson of Wigglestem Gardens
You can reach Matt Gil at Matt Gil Studio.

Garden Description:
Ahh, San Francisco, full of charm and beauty. Its rolling hills, postcard views, and its diverse neighborhoods full of quaint houses and peaceful gardens. Let’s all take a moment and enjoy that image. Okay, now let’s shift our focus to the Matt Gil Sculpture Garden. Set at the base of a huge rock outcropping, below a freeway, and on the edge of a truly industrial part of town; this isn’t your typical “San Francisco backyard.” 

Artist Matt Gil and his wife Lesa Porche live in a true “live work” home. The upper level is a beautiful custom living space, while the ground floor is Matt’s indoor-outdoor art studio.  Behind all this is the garden. 

The garden, designed and still maintained by Dan Carlson of Wigglestem Gardens, was originally started in 1999 with the intent to create a visually beautiful garden, and a space to be used as a showroom for Matt Gil’s many outdoor sculptures. Utilizing the natural Franciscan Chert rock the garden has been planted to look as though it’s meant to be there, with plantings climbing the loose rocky hill, and even stuck right into sheer rock faces. A 15 foot tall Leucodendron ‘Safari Sunset’ was planted at the base of the main rock wall to act as a screen and backdrop for Yuccas, Agaves, grasses, and flowering perennials; all sun loving, Mediterranean climate plants. The space has several different microclimates hosting varied planting: from bamboo in the shade, Astelias in the morning sun, large Salvias reaching for the midday sun, to yes, our main bed of sun and rock lovers. Plantings have been selected for their visual beauty and to host the diverse wildlife of the area. Birds are nesting, bees are buzzing, and in the calm of the night, raccoons are eying the fish in the pond.  

Fling Attendees: Please add a link to your post about this garden in the comments section below.

Organic Mechanics

Organic Mechanics
Location: San Francisco

Garden Description by Organic Mechanics:
Sean Stout and James Pettigrew are the creative force behind Organic Mechanics, a garden design, build and maintenance firm. They are experts at creating sustainable artistic habitats.  Their own garden, nestled on the edge of the Tenderloin in downtown San Francisco reflects the funky urban aesthetic of its surroundings, while at the same time being an amazing habitat. Visiting creatures include; mourning doves, Monarch and Tiger Swallow butterflies, robins, song finches, swallows and warring humming-birds to name a few. A hawk frequently visits to eat a pigeon on its favorite branch then bathes in our mosaic pond. One day the world’s smallest butterfly, a rare Pygmy Mission Blue, visited the garden. The plantings are lush and varied. 

While many plants were orphaned, the garden includes many rare and unusual plants. Some of these are weeping Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens ‘Loma Prieta’), Peyote (Laphorphora williamsii), a Manzanita native to San Francisco (Arctostaphylos  franciscana) Shamanic sage (Salvia divinorum), a weeping broom that smells like grape cool-aid (Psoralea fleta), and my favorite California native Whooly Blue Curls (Tricostema lanatum). The garden is designed for people to enjoy as well. Special features include stone and mosaic paths (created from recycled materials), many seating nooks and unique garden art. An old wall dog sign on a brick wall says “Owl cigars 2 cents” painted over by “Owl Cigars now 5 cents.” Visitors are sure to fall under the spell of this urban garden’s magical charms.

You can contact Sean and James at

Fling Attendees: Please add a link to your post about this garden in the comments section below.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Pre-Fling Cocktail Hour at Shirley Watts

(photo via Shirley Watts,

Landscape designer Shirley Watts graciously welcomed us to her home garden for a pre-Fling cocktail party.

Location: Alameda

Fling Attendees: Please add a link to your post about this garden in the comments section below.

Welcome to gbfSF

Welcome to San Francisco, the 2013 Garden Bloggers Fling has officially arrived!

Brief posts for each garden will be published while we're visiting each one. Some of our garden hosts have provided garden descriptions and plant lists; most have links to designers and organizations to assist you with gathering further information on your own.

The Fling crew hopes you'll link your own blog posts to the entries on the Garden Bloggers Fling Blog in the comments section that follow each garden visit. This way, all Fling participants, and those that weren't able to attend, can follow along in an organized fashion.

Speaking of following along, the official twitter hashtags for the event are:


Registration is on Friday in the lobby of the Westin on Market Street from 8:00-8:45am.
Buses leave promptly at 9:00am

See you soon!
Kelly, Andrea, Maggie, Charlotte & Clair
SF Fling Crew