May we present to you a (very) condensed version of the 2011 Seattle Garden Blogger’s Fling? There will be one photo per place that was visited in this post, with more detailed stories of some to come later.
The itinerary was jam-packed with four days of garden visiting goodness, with several venues per day. It was a tough mission, but seventy-plus garden bloggers were up to it. Friday morning found us ejected from the two buses that toted us from place to place at a pair of side by side neighbors who had most generously opened their beautiful residential gardens to us. Shelagh Tucker’s space was visited first. Dear Dee of Red Dirt Ramblings was concentrating on capturing one of the many inspired planting combinations that were seen there.
Next door, Suzette and Jim Birrell, who also enjoyed a spectacular view of Seattle’s sapphire blue sky and water with Shelagh and the rest of their hilltop neighborhood, had a garden featuring enticing edibles and a shed painted to continue the color echo of those sensational surroundings.
Back on the buses and onward to the Dunn Estate, a by appointment only acreage with a garden designed by the sons of Frederick Law Olmsted. Lunch was served on the spacious grounds with the beginning of several door prize giveaways that were held while we were not roaming around. The above shot is quite representative of everywhere we went. I am talking about the people taking camera shots, standing in all manner of positioning.
Another bus ride took us to the Center for Urban Horticulture and Orin and Althea Soest Herbaceous Display garden. An explanation of these gardens was given by Riz Reyes, while Layanee of Ledge and Gardens looks on, wearing a stunning chapeau.
Back to the hotel to freshen up, have a brief lie down and a few decompression moments, then it was a short and invigorating walk to the nearby shopping/restaurant district to partake of a wine, cheese, shopping and swag event at Ravenna Gardens. I was going to opt out of this event, having been overtaxed in the socializing aspect of fling until my roomie, Kathy of Cold Climate Gardening returned with a large bag of goodies including free plants. If we hurried, we could still partake, and hurry over there we did. It was worth rousing ourselves from the comfy bed for. And so ends day one.
The next morning, with the sun shining brightly and the cool temperatures so welcome compared with the sweltering hotbox of back home, the buses laden with talkative garden bloggers climbed the steep incline to reach the home of Michelle and Christopher Epping. Theirs was a voluptuous mediterranean style home with views the Greek gods would have coveted. In fact, the views included the Olympic Mountains and the Seattle/Bellevue city skylines. It was fun to imagine that the well situated outdoor dining table was my own, a nice place to enjoy morning coffee before beginning a leisurely day of garden puttering on an astounding rocky hillside.
Onward, again, to the amazing garden of Denise Lane, which featured an outdoor kitchen where lunch and more door prizes were served up. One of my favorite features was the water garden encircled by Doric columns suggesting an ancient European *ruin*.
Continuing on, yes, a lot of activities were packed into each day, the Bellevue Botanic Gardens were visited. By this time, the sun was dazzlingly bright, making photography difficult for those point and shoot on auto among us. Docents kindly explained the various areas of the gardens and the scattered benches were filled with resting garden bloggers at chat.
But wait, there’s more! The last scheduled tour attraction for the day was the SAM (Seattle Art Museum) Olympic Sculpture Park, so named for the view of the mountains across the water. This odd little bit of land was once used for oil storage so was deemed not suitable for human habitation or commecial use. It was purchased from Union Oil to be used by the museum and the city for an art installation and public park. There are several fine pieces there and room for more. It was well populated with people enjoying the waterside views and scarce, so they told us, Seattle sunshine. This piece, Bunyon’s Chess by Mark di Suvero was sited near the adjoining railroad tracks and includes wood sleepers in the construction. Back on the buses, back to the hotel, and after the required lie down, we sauntered to a low key dinner at a lovely Italian restaurant nearby. So ends day two.
So begins day three. Revived and refeshed with a better night’s sleep as we became more acclimated to the three hour time zone difference, the buses took us to the West Seattle Farmers Market. There were stalls of fresh produce and cut flowers and the place was bustling with activity. These fresh cherries were sampled and some were purchased for snacking, Rainier was the variety, and they tasted as scrumptious as they looked.
The first private residential garden we visited this day was that of one of the organizers of the Seattle Fling, Lorene Edwards Forkner. Lorene was a dream during the entire event, trying to herd us along from place to place, handling logistics and even allowing us into her own garden. What a gal! She describes her garden style as Urban Hillbilly Chic and her new book-Handmade Garden Projects will be coming out soon. Tucked into a corner of her sloping lot filled with projects, edibles and flowers is a vintage travel trailer, outfitted as a garden getaway. To have a little trailer, ala Mickey and Goofy has always been a dream of mine. I loved seeing this. Thank you, Lorene, for everything! ♥
The next stop was at Kate Farley’s whimsical garden. There was an entrance at the driveway through a trimmed hedge that transported us from an urban setting to woodland magic as the large trees provided shade and enclosure from the outside world. Continuing on the path as though on an amusement park ride, past roses and vines, the dark shadows gave way to the most brilliant eye-popping display of color. Two different shades of purple tuteurs were ensconced in a froth of peachy Alstroemerias and Lavender Phlox, among other goodies. The scene was joltingly joyous and made one want to laugh out loud at the sheer delight of it all.
The final visit was the South Seattle Community College Arboretum/Coenosium Rock Garden. My energy was lagging by this time, and most of these gardens were enjoyed from the comfort of a shady bench. After the bus ride back, and after a brief rest at the hotel, we sauntered to the shopping center once again, this time for Mexican food with our dear friends Victoria of Victoria’s Backyard, VP of Veg Plotting and Mr. VP, who traveled all the way across land and sea from England to join us for the Fling. Gail of Clay and Limestone was with us for some catching up, since the last time we had seen the Brits was when we were Two Innocents Abroad last year. A good time was had, and it was a peaceful evening with good food, good company and some quiet conversation after a fun-filled day. So ends day three.
So begins the fourth and final day. It has been said before that managing the Garden Bloggers is a task similar in challenge to herding cats. No one would question the veracity of that metaphor, for we are a strong minded, independent group of individuals with our own ideas of what we want to be doing at any given moment. This morning we were herded onto buses to the port for a ferry ride to Bainbridge Island. The buses drove right onto the ferry with us on board. There was to be a group shot taken from the upper deck of the ferry, looking down upon us, in the rain. As you can see, we are difficult to handle but a pose for the camera was finally managed and will appear on a post somewhere down the line. A link will be supplied here when it is available.
Our first stop after disembarkment of the buses off the ferry was the Bloedel Reserve. This was my favorite destination of the entire trip, and believe me when I say, all of the venues were incredible, exciting, fun, beautiful, … you get the drift. It was raining, very hard at times. The misty forest was a place full of mystery and magic. More about this will be revealed in another story.
Oh no, not another bus ride! Quality time was spent riding the streets of Seattle, but those of us sharing the bus with Anneliese of Cobrahead Blog were treated to a serenade with her ukulele. Helen of Toroto Gardens added some artwork in the way of floral graphics to the condensation on the windows. The beautiful blonde curls facing us belong to Nan Sterman.
The last event of the Fling was a visit to Dragonfly Farms on Bainbridge Island. There were gardens to wander, a nursery where plants were purchased, even though getting said plants through security and on the airplane was a bit of a challenge. Proven Winners had set up a very nice reception on site with giveways, delicious food and the special Blackberry Punch cocktail formulated just for us. It was yummy. At this reception was glass artist Barbara Sanderson with a basket filled with her blown glass orbs, samples of the colors which could be ordered online. Holding them up to the light filtered by rain clouds seemed the best way to appreciate the beauty of the colors, as shown in the first photo of this story.
This is a brief synopsis of the Seattle 2011 Fling. More detail filled posts will be written and the links provided as they become available. Wish you all had been there!