2009 Chicago

Chicago Garden Bloggers Fling
Chicago, Illinois
May 29-31, 2009
Organizers: Mr Brown Thumb, Garden Girl, Gina at My Skinny Garden, On the Shores of Lake Chicago, Carolyn Choi at Sweet Home and Garden Chicago

Click to go to the Chicago Fling website

Chicago Spring Fling, That's A Wrap!

What was Chicago Spring Fling? Who attended Chicago Spring Fling? Who sponsored Chicago Spring Fling? Who was on the organizing committee for Chicago Spring Fling? Below you'll find posts by garden bloggers from across the country who attended Chicago Spring Fling in 2009. You can also find photos on the garden bloggers flickr pool.

Garden Girl:


My Skinny Garden:

On the Shores of Lake Chicago:

Garden Faerie's Musings:

Flatbush Gardener:

Ramble on Rose:
Spring Fling '09 Wrap Up
Muse Day Final Fling Thoughts  

Art of Gardening:
Garden Bloggers Spring Fling
Garden Blogging Influencing  

Caldwell Lily Pool, an oasis in Chicago
Visit to Garfield Park Conservatory
Intimate Gardens of Spring Fling
Art Institute Garden in Chicago
On Cloud Nine in Lurie Garden
The People Behind The Blogs
Chicago Botanic Garden wows Spring Flingers

Dig Grow Compost Blog:
Loving It-Chicago Botanic Garden
Rick Bayless Garden
Thank You Chicago Garden Bloggers


Prairie Rose's Garden:

May Dreams Gardens:

The Garden of live Flowers:

Sharing Nature's Garden:

Each Little World:

Outside Clyde:

Our Litte Acre:
Registered Participants & Invited Guests

Spring Flingers - below is a comprehensive list of registered participants and invited guests. Remember, you need to complete the registration form to be officially registered. Please take the time to visit the blogs listed here to introduce yourself. Update: 5/31/09 I've updated a few URLs and cleaned up the list to those who attended at least two days, to help anyone who may need to remember who you met.
  1. Flatbush Gardener
  2. My Corner of Katy
  3. Garden Girl
  4. Nancy's Garden Spot
  5. Growing A Garden In Davis
  6. Each Little World
  7. Digging
  8. Denise Corkery, Chicago Botanic Garden
  9. Mr Brown Thumb
  10. Garden Faerie's Musings
  11. Dig, Grow, Compost, Blog
  12. The Casual Gardener
  13. May Dreams Gardens
  14. Dragonfly Corner
  15. Ledge and Garden
  16. Gardening While Intoxicated
  17. Clay and Limestone
  18. Prairie Rose's Garden
  19. Garden Punks
  20. Mr. McGregor's Daughter
  21. Idaho Gardener
  22. Red Dirt Ramblings
  23. Sharing Nature's Garden
  24. Fairegarden
  25. Our Little Acre
  26. On the Shores of Lake Chicago
  27. Bumblebee Blog
  28. Greenbow
  29. My Skinny Garden
  30. Sweet Home and Garden Chicago
  31. Beth Botts, Chicago Tribune
  32. Snappy Garden
  33. Cobrahead Blog
  34. Sustainable Gardening Blog
  35. Professor Jane S. Smith
  36. Ramble On Rose
  37. The Garden Of Live Flowers
  38. Art of Gardening
  39. Outside Clyde
  40. Oh Grow Up!
UPDATE: You can see an archive of Chicago Spring Fling here.

What Is Chicago Spring Fling?

On May 29th through May 31st Chicago, IL and Chicagoland garden bloggers will host the second annual garden blogger meetup. The first event took place last year in Austin, Texas. It's fitting that the City in a Garden continues the tradition. Chicago's 12,000 acres of public parks and waterfront space helped it secure a position in the Top 10 of America's 50 Greenest Cities as ranked by Popular Science.

On the agenda will be tours of crown jewels of the Chicago Park District, visits to a private garden, the Chicago Botanic Garden, a Friday dinner/reception, Saturday pizza party, group lunches, sightseeing, discussions and more. Unless noted, these events are free.


Chicago Botanic Garden: This 385-acre Botanic Garden features 23 display gardens and three native habitats, uniquely situated on nine islands surrounded by lakes.

Start Times: Leave Ogilvie Station at 8:35 a.m. arrive at Glencoe Station 9:16 a.m. A later start time for those who may have missed the first train: leave Ogilvie Station at 10:35 a.m. arrive at Glencoe Station 11:16 a.m. We'll be using public transportation to the Chicago Botanic Garden. Typically suburban train lines leaving the city during morning rush hour are fairly empty. If we get to the train station early we hope to all ride together on one train car or two.Trains going back into the city when we'll be on our way back typically have lots of room as well.We'll be picked up at the train station by Chicago Botanic Garden trolleys who will shuttle us to the entrance of the Garden. We anticipate this will be a low-stress, comfortable, economical trip. A round-trip ticket on Metra costs $8.70.

The Chicago Botanic Garden has published a webpage just for Chicago Spring Fling to help you make the best use of your time.

The Chicago Botanic Garden has a wonderful Cafe.

End Time:

There will be one special return trip leaving the Visitor Center everyone should be on board by 2:10. This Trolley will meet the train leaving Glencoe at 2:42 p.m., arriving Ogilvie at 3:35 for the Lurie Garden at Millennium Park at 4 p.m.

Friday, May 29th 4 p.m.
Millennium Park: The Lurie Garden
"Designed by Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Ltd, Piet Oudolf and Robert Israel, this 2.5-acre garden pays homage to the City's motto, "Urbs in Horto" (City in a Garden), which refers to Chicago's transformation from its flat and marshy origins to a bold and powerful city. Highlights of the garden include the dramatically lit, 15-foot-high "shoulder" hedge. This physical representation of Sandburg's famous description of the "City of Big Shoulders" encloses the garden on two sides and protects the delicate perennial garden. A graceful hardwood footbridge over shallow water divides the garden diagonally between "light" and "dark" plates."

The Lurie is just a quick 12 minute walk- straight down the street from Club Quarters. After the Lurie you can spend as much time as you like exploring Millennium Park and the surrounding area or head to the hotel to freshen up to get ready for the reception . See CSF Map.

Friday, May 29th 6:30 p.m.-?
Group gathering and reception. Door prizes and raffles for garden bloggers. Our reception will be held at Elephant & Castle, adjacent to Club Quarters Hotel, with cocktails at 6:30 p.m., and dinner at 7:00. The reception is open to all registered participants and special guests of Spring Fling. We'll enjoy a private party room with a British-style dinner to include salad, dinner rolls, garlic mashed potatoes, veggies, London Broil, Chicken & mushrooms, desserts, and cold and hot beverages. We'll have a private, cash bar in our party room. Besides enjoying a great meal, we have some wonderful surprises in store, including gifts for all garden bloggers in attendance thanks to the generosity of our sponsors. The cost per person is $31.20, and you may reserve your spot by paying for your meal via this PayPal link.

Saturday, May 30th
9 a.m.
Tour of Rick Bayless's private urban/edible garden. This tour is only open to garden bloggers and special guests of Chicago Spring Fling. There is a reasonable cost associated with this tour of $12 per person. This is a private garden and the location of this event will not be made public. This will be the first event of the day and we will need to arrive there by 10.a.m. This event is limited to 45 people. We'll meet outside Club Quarters and leave as a group.

For those not attending the Bayless garden tour who have registered for Saturday's charter bus, we'll arrange for the bus to circle back and pick you up at Club Quarters at 10:30 a.m.

Saturday, May 30th 11:45 a.m.
Chicago Spring Fling attendees who didn't attend the urban/edible garden tour can meet us for a group lunch at Andies in Andersonville. The cost for lunch is 18.25 and includes tax and tip. Please have exact change. From here we'll board our bus for a short ride to Carolyn Gail's garden. She's graciously invited us into her garden for conversation and light refreshments. Carolyn will be raffling off her painting Jasper in May valued at $350 to an attendee on this day at her home.

Saturday, May 30th 2:15 p.m.
Ben Helphand, Executive Director of NeighborSpace, will give us a tour of the Ginko Organic Gardens.  The Ginko Organic Gardens were started to help ease hunger among residents of the Uptown neighborhood.  He'll talk to us about community gardening in Chicago.

Saturday, May 30th 3:30 p.m.
The gardens at the Lincoln Park Conservatory. We'll enjoy a leisurely stroll through the formal gardens outside of the conservatory or the rambling beds of Grandmother's Garden across the street, to continue our conversations from lunch within earshot of the roaring lions next door at Lincoln Park Zoo, the fluttering butterflies at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, and the Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool Gardens. For those wishing to see the butterfly room, admission to the Notebaert museum is $9.00 for adults, $7.00 for seniors age 60+ and students. The Conservatory, outdoor gardens, and zoo are all free.

Saturday, May 30th 7 p.m.-?
Saturday's reservation at Giordano's - the quintessential Chicago pizzeria experience, (located at 223 W. JACKSON BLVD., an easy walk from Club Quarters,) - is set for 7:00 p.m. The menu includes an assortment of thin-crust and Chicago-style stuffed pizzas, salad, and soft drinks. It's all-you-can-eat and drink, and the *total per person including tip and tax will be $17.00 (exact change please)* We'll have discussions on garden blogging & door prizes for garden bloggers. Please fill out the form below to reserve your space & help us provide a count to the restaurant. Saturday's pizza party registration will close Saturday May 9th at midnight EST.

We've reserved a 52-passenger ADA charter bus for Saturday. The bus will board at Club Quarters Hotel at 9:30 a.m. with stops at each of our destinations, then back to Club Quarters at about 5:00 p.m. For those not attending the Bayless garden tour, we'll arrange for the bus to circle back and pick you up at Club Quarters at 10:30 a.m.

Seats on the bus are offered on a first-come, first-served basis. We've reserved the largest bus available, and with the number of participants registered for Spring Fling it's possible we could reach or exceed capacity.

The cost per person is $26.00. In order to expedite this process you may reserve your seat by paying for it via PayPal here, with no additional registration forms to complete. Payments are being accepted today through April 30th.

If the bus is filled to capacity, the cost could drop to as low as $20.00 per person. If that occurs we'll refund overpayments in cash at Spring Fling. Because we can't predict how many people will reserve a seat, we felt this would be the most efficient way to manage reserving and pricing seats. We hope you'll join us on the bus Saturday. Please let us know if you have any questions.

Sunday, May 31st
Breakfast: We'll be gathering for breakfast at the conveniently-located Elephant & Castle restaurant adjacent to Club Quarters. Coffee and juice will be served beginning at 7:00 a.m. for early risers, and breakfast will be served at 8:00 a.m. To maximize our enjoyment, we'll have a private party room. Details on the menu are provided in a group email to SF participants on May 8th. The cost for breakfast is $26.05, and you may reserve your spot by paying for it via this PayPal link. Please reserve as soon as possible, but no later than Saturday, May 23rd, so we may provide a count to E&C.
10 a.m.
The Garfield Park Conservatory has been home to rare tropical plants for 100 years, opening to the public in April, 1908. We'll be exploring this Chicago gem, saying goodbye to new & old friends who leave on this day, and talking about issues related to garden blogging.

A short walk east from Club Quarters we'll board the El (elevated train) at Adams and Wabash for a 20-minute ride on the Green Line to our stop at the Conservatory's doorstep. The Green Line runs every ten minutes on Sunday. For those who might prefer a taxi, the six-mile ride from Club Quarters would be a reasonably-priced fare, and even more economical if cab rides are shared.

Directly behind the Conservatory lies Garfield Park, designed by noted landscape architect Jens Jensen, and the Garfield Park Lagoon. The last day of 2009 Chicago Spring Fling, we're planning a laid-back day enjoying the scents, sights and sounds of one more crown jewel of the Chicago Park District.


Registered Participants & Invited Guests: See which garden bloggers from across the country are attending Chicago Spring Fling.

Chicago Spring Fling on Twitter: We'll be using Twitter to communicate with participants during the three day event.

Transportation: Transportation details are provided on events pages.
Visit the transportation page to discuss issues related to transportation either to Chicago or in and around the city.

Sponsors:Visit our sponsors page for information on the people helping make Chicago Spring Fling possible. Please contact us if you'd like to become a sponsor.

Of interest:
The Wikipedia entry on Chicago.
The website for the Chicago Transit Authority.
The website for EasyAccessChicago.

If you're attending we'd appreciate it if you'd blog/tweet/bookmark this event to help up spread the word. If you aren't attending go ahead and help up promote our garden blogger convention because you're cool like that.

Chicago Spring Fling Sponsors

Chicago Botanic Garden: A living museum, the Chicago Botanic Garden is built on nine islands that house a collection of more than 2.3 million plants in 23 specialty gardens, three native habitats, six miles of shoreline, and 81 acres of waterways. The mission of the Garden is topromote the enjoyment, understanding and conservation of plants and the natural world.

The mission of the Garden’s plant conservation efforts is to conserve global biodiversity through the study of, and dissemination of information about, rare native plants and communities.

Troy-Bilt: In 1937, Troy-Bilt introduced the first American-made rototiller. Troy-Bilt has expanded on its legendary expertise and durable product line to create a complete selection of the industry’s finest lawn and garden tools. Troy-Bilt’s award-winning product line includes top-quality tractors, mowers, tillers, cultivators, trimmers and a variety of outdoor power tools. Troy-Bilt machines are built to last and engineered to take on the toughest challenges to make jobs simpler and safer. For more information, visit http://www.troybilt.com/.

Proven Winners: Proven Winners is the leading brand of high quality flowering plants in North America, sold under the Proven Winners name. We're grateful for their support and ask that you visit their website and shop Proven Winners.

Botanical Interests: is a family owned seed company that offers high quality garden seeds. Their goal is to inspire and educate gardeners. The seed packaging merges art, gardening and science. With over 500 varieties, they have many popular favorites as well as heirloom, organic and gourmet seed varieties.

Sunset magazine is the premier guide to life in the 13 western states, covering the newest and best ideas in Western gardening and landscaping, home design and decorating, food and entertaining, and travel. The magazine has five zoned editions to give readers regional Garden and Travel ideas, and is read by nearly 5 million people each month.

Sunset.com is the 24/7 how-to arm of the magazine. Its Garden section includes guides to edible gardening, backyard projects, going organic, saving water, garden design, climate maps, how-to videos, and more. Garden writers Jim McCausland and Sharon Cohoon update Fresh Dirt daily with their latest scouting finds, garden events, tips, and ideas. We hope to see you there!

YouGrowGirl:was launched by Gayla Trail in early 2000 and has grown into a thriving online community that speaks to a new kind of gardener, seeking to redefine the modern world relationship to plants. This contemporary, laid-back approach to gardening places equal importance on environmentalism, style, affordability, art, and humour.

Chicago Honey Co-op: In the winter of 2004,three passionate urban beekeepers conceived and created Chicago Honey Co-op. Their purpose was simple, to provide job training opportunities for the under-employed while operating a small business model that is dedicated to sustainable agricultural practices and aims for the highest product of quality standards.

Renee's Garden: Renee's Garden is a personal selection of time-tested heirlooms, superior open-pollinated seed varieties and the best international hybrids all chosen for great flavor, easy culture and exceptional garden performance. This company is Renee's way of sharing the joy of gardening as a productive and satisfying activity that connects us to each other and the earth. Renee's Garden seeds are available online and at fine nurseries and garden centers.

Ethel Gloves: are fashionable gardening gloves made to fit women's hands, offering full function and protection. When the Ethel Gloves team was creating the current line of gloves, we focused on creating quality gloves with style, inherent functionality, and integrity. The result? Gloves that are:
* Fashion-forward and stylish
* Made to fit women's hands for maximum comfort
* Durable and tough, yet refined
* Designed to protect with an elasticized extended cuff and reinforced fingertips
* Full of function and have greater dexterity with rubberized grip
* Machine washable
Ethel Gloves are currently available in five styles: Signature, Expression, Gala, Rendezvous and Jubilee. All styles are available in sizes small, medium and large.

The Garden Guys, with your host Jim Zoppo, Layanee DeMerchant, and Sam Jeffries, air Sunday mornings from 6:00AM-10:00AM and stream live from the website at http://www.garden-guys.com/. Please check website for current radio information They are 'Down to Earth, Up to Date, and On the Air' to answer all of your gardening questions with an emphasis on organic methods and tools. Call in during the show with your questions at Toll Free 1-888-GGEWISE (1-888-443-9473). So sit back, relax, and be ready for some entertaining and educational fun with the Garden Guys.

Garden Shoes Online: Is a family-owned online retailer specializing in garden shoes and other gardening accessories. Featuring Muck Garden Shoes and LawnGrips, we offer brand names shoes, clogs and boots at bargain prices. We stand behind our products and services and we go above and beyond to ensure that our customers are always satisfied.

The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, Plant a Row for the Hungry and Feeding America have joined forces in an effort to provide fresh produce to the hungry this summer by asking Americans to take the GroGood pledge: Grow a garden for the greater good. To launch the GroGood pledge campaign, ScottsMiracle-Gro will donate 1 million pounds of produce and call on Americans to help double that donation by pledging to grow and donate an additional 1 million pounds of fresh produce to help feed those at risk for hunger.

Fulfilling the pledge is as easy as planting an edible garden – adding a pot, plot or row for those in need – and donating the extra harvest to a participating soup kitchen, food or hunger relief agency. To get started, consumers can visit www.GroGood.com to take the pledge, obtain tips and techniques on how to grow an edible garden, and how to find information on local food agencies that accept fresh produce donations.

Waking up in Eden by Lucinda Fleeson: An unexpected offer to work at a celebrated and mysterious botanical garden on the island of Kauai restores a woman’s passion for life and reveals an exotic, endangered, paradise. Available June 16, 2009.

The Penguin Press was founded in 2003 by Ann Godoff and launched its debut list in the Winter of 2004. Dedicated to publishing literary nonfiction and select fiction, its distinguished roster of authors include, among others, John Berendt, Ron Chernow, Steve Coll, Ruth Reichl, James M. McPherson, Alan Greenspan, Michael Pollan, Thomas Pynchon, Thomas E. Ricks, Frank Rich, Mark Helprin, David Nasaw, Zadie Smith, Gordon Wood, Maira Kalman, Jerome Groopman, James B. Stewart, Samantha Power, Daniel Yergin, Bryan Burrough, Naill Ferguson, Michael Kimmelman, Roger Lowenstein, Claire Tomalin, and Eric Schlosser. In its first six years, The Penguin Press has published numerous New York Times and national bestsellers, earning an array of prestigious prizes and citations that include the Pulitzer Prize, the James Beard Award, the Orange Prize, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the Man Asian Prize, the Mark Lynton History Prize, the Arthur Ross Book Award, the Sidney Hillman Foundation Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award.

We're open to sponsors (large or small) who would like to place their brand, products or information on their services in the gardening, blogging or photography field directly in the hands of the people who help shape public perception on the internet. Sponsors will receive banner advertisement on this blog, a special post here with links to their blogs and certain CSF committee members have agreed to create a post about them on their blogs.