Seattle Fling 2011-Overture

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!

Lost Secret In The Bloedel Reserve

Semi Does Seattle

Art And Artful In Seattle-Birrell And Tucker Gardens

Art And Artful In Seattle- The Dunn Garden

Glass Art Of Seattle

Art Of Seattle 2011 Fling-Day 2

Seattle Fling 2011 Day 3-Onward

Seattle Fling 2011-Grand Finale


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44 Responses to Seattle Fling 2011-Overture

  1. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Oh my Frances. I bet your head is still spinning from all the beautiful gardens you saw. These little tidbits from each place whets my appetite for more and more. Can’t wait to read all about each garden. I am so glad you all had such a good time.

    It is, Lisa. My mind is filled with swirling images of people, places and plants. A good time was had by all. Next time, in Asheville, I hope to see your smiling face there!

  2. Carol says:

    Love the synopsis… reminds me of where all we went, and we went all over. Good times!

    Thanks Carol. It was lovely seeing you and everyone again, and meeting some new folks. As the places were listed and named with the appropriate photos, I hope, the experience was relived. Good times, indeed!

  3. Les says:

    I look forward to your upcoming posts, though they will only serve to fill me with regret for not being able to attend.

    Thanks Les. Maybe you can come to next year’s fling in Asheville. Nothing more has been planned except the city, though. Stay tuned.

  4. Great tour Frances, feel like I was there! I love how natural all of the gardens looked.


    Thanks Eileen. The gardens were amazing and the weather was perfection.

  5. Layanee says:

    You managed to hit the highlights with glorious pictures. What fun we all had. Thank you also for capturing my best side. LOL Miss you already.

    Thanks Layanee. It was so wonderful to see you and everyone again, and meet new friends. Miss you, too.

  6. Jean says:

    Gee, no wonder I was so tired when I got back! Glad you posted the itinerary so I can remember. I’m still trying to get my photos in order but hope to post about Fling this weekend. It was so good to see you again Frances!

    Thanks Jean, it was great to see you again. We still didn’t get the quality one on one time I had hoped for. Next time!

  7. Barbara H. says:

    What a trip! Thanks for the quick tour that tired me out just reading it – you all must have been exhausted. And it sounds like one of those trips where no matter how tired one was, it would be very hard to choose to miss something.

    Your picture of the Bloedel Reserve is magical, Frances. It just draws me in and works its mystical magic on me. It takes me back to some of those magical places and times I remember from the Northwest. Many thanks.

    Thanks Barbara. I got tired out just writing it, but found the energy to keep on, it was the chance of a lifetime to see those gardens. The Bloedel Reserve was full of magic, for sure.

  8. Diana says:

    You really captured the whirlwind nature of our trip! Such great memories of beautiful gardens – and wonderful to see you again and meet your DD.

    Thanks Diana. It was great to see you again and everyone. I am still decompressing and going through the photos, with a smile on my face.

  9. Valerie says:

    What a treat. I would just love to attend a bloggers fling. It must have been wonderful to see all the gardens and meet fellow bloggers and make some new friends or just put a face to some you already follow. Thank you for sharing the event with us. V

    Thanks Valerie. You have said it perfectly, it was all those things and more. Very worth going to.

  10. Frances, your shot from the Epping garden is brilliant. The tabletop looks like a water feature/reflection of the Sound. Your post is an excellent reference for the rest of us as we write our Seattle posts.

    Thanks, MMD. I felt that table shot best described the feeling of luxury at the Epping garden. Glad to help with the names of all the places, and the order in which we saw them. It took some time to get it right. Hope it is right. It was so very wonderful to see you again, my dear.

  11. Christina says:

    Frances, it looks like the Seattle blog fling was an awesome event. What gorgeous gardens you have visited! I wish I could have been there. Thanks for letting us take part at least a little bit through your lovely photos!

    Thanks Christina. Seattle, like Austin, Chicago and Buffalo was amazing. Seeing the bloggers gets better each time. I hope you will be able to attend a fling, it will not disappoint!

  12. Oh my… I think I need to go lie down some more! What fun we had, yes? Thank you Frances for this lovely – and loving – synopsis of our jam-packed Fling!

    Yes, dear Lorene, what fun we had! Thank you again for all the work, time and thought that went into making this such a wonderful event. You deserve a week-long lie down!

  13. Sandra Jonas says:

    Frances this sounds like a fabulous garden tour! Sorry I did not get to attend. Maybe next time. Enjoy your blog so much, sorry not to comment more often.

    Thanks Sandra. I hope you get to come to the next fling, as well, being held in Asheville, North Carolina. Details will be made public as they become available. I appreciate your readership, with or without comments. Life is rushing by so fast, there is barely time to take a breath.

  14. Bren says:

    THis is a beautiful share…. I feel as though I was there with some amazing garden friends. Thank you for taking the time to share your breathtaking images!

    Thanks Bren. It was my pleasure to go to Seattle, meet with fine folks and tour gorgeous gardens. Sharing the experience helps us relive the fun, too.

  15. Alison says:

    Great synopsis, Frances! I enjoyed meeting you and your daughter, and I’m looking forward to seeing what you captured on your camera from each of the venues we went to. The social aspect of Fling is the most exhausting, I should have taken more down time and had a lie-down like you. I’m still trying to catch up on my sleep, and I live here! Can’t even blame jet lag.

    Thanks Alison. What a wonderful place you live in! It was a pleasure meeting you and everyone, but it can be overwhelming. Even as sleep is fleeting, the dreams are of faces and flowers seen in Seattle.

  16. Wow! What a tour – I feel exhausted just reading this post!
    Sounds like you all had a wonderful time and I look forward to your more in-depth posts as well.

    Thanks Karen. I wish you were there as well to enjoy these wonderful people and wonderful gardens. I was a bit tired upon returning home.

  17. Thank you for this synopsis of a wonderful trip, roomie. I know how much work putting together such a post can be. The photos you chose perfectly bring to life so many aspects of our collective adventure.

    Thanks for being my roomie, Kathy. You helped make the fling that much more special for me.

  18. Linda Zoldoske says:

    Your comments and photos are so great that I feel I have gone with you. Thanks so much!

    Thanks Linda. That was my goal, to share the experience in a way that others could vicariously tag along!

  19. It seems too recent to say “thanks for the memories,” — but thanks for the memories, Frances. Wasn’t that an experience? It was lovely seeing you again and meeting sweet Semi. Till next time!

    Dear Helen, my thanks go to you, for being such a charming participant and photographer. The photo you took of Semi and me is priceless. I do hope to see you next time!

  20. What an adventure! So glad there was such a big turnout!

    Thanks Janet. Wish you could have been there. Maybe next time, closer, much closer to you, Asheville!

  21. Victoria says:

    Frances, it was so lovely to see you again, and to meet the utterly delightful Semi. Your post is well-timed – I’m just struggling through mine, so you have inspired me to forge ahead (as well as reminding me what we saw!)
    I just put a sachet of cat food in my mug instead of a tea bag, so I guess I’m still a bit jet-lagged. But the trip was worth it – not so much a fling as a whirl of friends and gardens. With much love, Victoria

    Dear, dear Victoria, a whirl of fun for us all. It was a happy reunion to once again hear your lilting voice and see your sweet smile. Thank you for making such a long and arduous trip. Do rest up, the kitten will be wanting his food rather than a tea bag.

  22. It all looks so yummy and a bit daunting to emulate. I missed a good one.

    It was yummy, Christopher. We missed you!

  23. A great introduction, Frances! I’m sorry I couldn’t attend and I look forward to more details!

    Thanks Rose. I am sorry, too, that you couldn’t make it. Maybe next year?

  24. You had an incredible trip. Thanks for all the photos and the narrative. I am glad it is a bit closer next year, but I truly would have loved Seattle.

    Thanks Donna. You would definitely have loved Seattle. The weather was glorious, the sky so blue, as was the water. The gardens showed what is possible with perfect weather conditions.

  25. Thanks for sharing your trip with us, you certainly sound as if you had a truly wonderful time. The gardens looked spectacular and I look forward to your future postings about them.

    Thanks Pauline. It was wonderful to see these wonderful people, and then there were these gardens…

  26. joey says:

    How fun, Frances! Thank you for sharing and including us in your delightful Seattle trip.

    Thanks for joining us, dear Joey. I hope to meet you at one of these flings someday.

  27. Rose says:

    Me, too! But I am enjoying the trip vicariously through your post, Frances–you make an excellent tour guide! Bainbridge Island, especially the Bloedel Reserve, looks like heaven on earth. I can see why it was your favorite. Love the garden with the Doric columns, too–if I hadn’t read the narrative, I would have thought you’d travelled to Tuscany. What a wonderful time you all must have had! Looking forward to seeing more of Seattle–I hope you’ll show us that vintage trailer from the outside, too.

    Thanks Rose. There was much to see, thank goodness for these digital cameras to help us remember it all. I will look for a shot of the outside of the trailer and put it on facebook.

  28. Cassy says:

    Beautiful photos. My fave is the photo of apples.

    Thanks, Cassy. The photo is of cherries, but they do sort of look like apples. These were delicious!

  29. What a wonderful overview and introduction to the fling! Looking forward to the sequence of stories and photos.

    Thanks Freda. I wish you could have been there as well.

  30. Jenny B says:

    How lovely it all looks…but what impressed me the most, was everyone wearing jackets on the Ferry…ah, that would be heaven! 😉 I am sure you have come back home refreshed and inspired, and I can’t wait to see the posts to come.

    Thanks Jenny. The weather was perfect, so much cooler than back home in Tennessee. The day of the ferry ride it was raining, we were chilly! It felt refreshing.

  31. Lola says:

    That was a great tour. I’m glad you had a wonderful time. The gardens are so beautiful.

    Thanks Lola. It was wonderful.

  32. jellyfishbay says:

    I had hoped to make the trip this year, but I just couldn’t handle the finances. I’ve really missed all the lovely folks I met last year in Buffalo. Thanks for taking me there thru your photos. I’ll try again for next year’s fling.

    So sorry you couldn’t make it in person this year. I understand about the cost, we have already started saving our pennies for the next one. Thanks for coming along virtually.

  33. sequoiagardens says:

    🙂 🙂 🙂 can’t wait for more!

    Thanks Jack. There will be some more, as time is found to work on all those photos.

  34. Pingback: Lost Secret In The Bloedel Reserve « Fairegarden

  35. Terrific summary and photos, Frances. Wish I’d been able to go, too. I’m thinking the possibility is more likely for next year, since NC is just the next state down from here. PS Could you re-friend me on FB? I had been fooling around like a crazy woman, making ‘garden friend’ categories (ie: garden writers, garden bloggers, garden media, etc etc etc) and I know I’ve deleted you (and about 50 others (!) at least twice now…and I’m sorry…I promise it won’t happen again!

    Thanks Jan. I hope you are able to make it next year in Asheville. Facebook problem fixed!

  36. Pingback: Semi Does Seattle « Fairegarden

  37. Pingback: Art And Artful In Seattle-Birrell And Tucker Gardens « Fairegarden

  38. I reckon for gardens and country and water like that I could put up with all that rain around Seattle. Beautiful places you went and I know meeting all them folks in such a nice place was wonderful……Thanks for sharing your trip with us…….

    Truly said, Paul. It was sunny and perfect when we arrived in Seattle, only raining on the last day. Seeing what all that rain and coolness does to garden plants was eye opening, for sure. Lush, lush, lush.

  39. I might not have smelled the roses or sea air but otherwise I felt like you took me along with ya. Thanks for letting us go along …..

    Thanks for riding along, Paul.

  40. Pingback: Art And Artful In Seattle-The Dunn Gardens « Fairegarden

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  43. Pingback: Seattle Fling 2011 Day 3-Onward « Fairegarden

  44. Nice to remember what the garden looks like in Summer, cause right now I am just looking at work..

    Hi Suzette, thanks for visiting. The beauty of the photo archives is the memory they help trigger of how the garden is going to look in a few months. Work, work, work here, too.

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