While blogging ordinarily is a solitary pursuit, gardening has always had a social aspect, from discussing the weeds over the back fence to formal garden clubs to garden shows and competitions. As the Internet has made virtual neighbors out of gardeners who live far from each other in places they may never have visited, it makes sense that garden bloggers would come together to meet actually - live and in person.
Not only did these wonderful people share their love of gardening, some of them shared seeds and plants. (Sorry Frances, I stuffed that little Ribbon Grass you gave me into a pot to keep it alive until my soil is workable.) It was such a delight to watch these plant- and garden-crazy people invade an unsuspecting nursery. Plants were ooh and aahed over, ceramic pots admired, solar paper lanterns purchased.
It's going to be fascinating to compare each blogger's vision and version of the gardens and places we visited. The official event started early Saturday morning at the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center (LJW).
I loved how sculptures beautifully set off the wildflower plantings. It was immediately apparent that water conservation is a primary concern in Austin. In addition to pools and small water features, the LJW features two cisterns in the public areas (there are more utilitarian ones behind the scenes), including this one which doubles as a tower. From the top are great views of the Hill Country, as well as bird's eye views of the LJW.I have no clue what this is, but I was drawn to its form.
In the afternoon, we were turned loose in garden designer James David's garden.
Happy hour at the house of Pam from Digging was the highlight of the weekend. Comparing the actual garden with the virtual one with which I've become so familiar was incredibly enlightening. Pam is such a great photographer and designer that she has made her garden appear much larger than it is. There is no wasted space on her property, even her side yard, which in most yards is a wasted space, is a delight with a charming Trumpet Creeper vine draping over the fence. I also appreciated for the first time that she and I share a common design problem: power lines along the back of the garden. Seeing her garden in person allowed me to analyze how she camouflaged them and distracted the eye away from them. I took home ideas to try in my garden. But the best part was a group discussion about the social aspects of blogging lead (when she could get a word in edgewise) by socially-minded blogger extraordinaire Carol of May Dreams Gardens. This discussion made me realize the unique nature of the event, the significance of it (the big "Wow!" moment). I feel honored to have been a part of this, and I stand in awe of all the hard work and planning involved to bring this about. Kudos and thanks to the organizers Pam, Diana, Bonnie and Melissa. As the maestro used to say, Brava tutti!
And to top off a great weekend, I came home to temperatures in the upper 50s and this:my Helleborus niger finally in bloom.
*I started this post last night.