Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Party in the Capital Region! Are You Coming?

We're having a party and you're invited! The 2017 Fling will be in the Capital Region and we want you to come! The 2017 Fling is open to garden bloggers from around the world and will feature amazing gardens in Washington DC, northern Virginia, and suburban Maryland. It's going to be awesome!




Here's the scoop:

What are the dates and who can come?

Thursday, June 22 - Sunday, June 25, 2017  Any garden blogger with a blog at least six months old by the registration date that contains a minimum of one post written on or after April 15, 2016 is welcome to join us.

What do you do at the Fling?

Think of the Fling as the ultimate garden tour. You'll be surrounded by other gardeners as passionate about gardening as you are. Bloggers are interesting, intelligent, creative people and visiting gardens with them is an incredible experience. Have you ever wondered about the people behind your favorite blogs? This is your chance to meet them! 


Enjoying lunch by a lake at the 2016 Minneapolis Fling. Photo by Helen Battersby

Ok, so what are we going to do at the Capital Region Fling?

We'll be visiting the amazing Smithsonian gardens along the  National Mall in Washington DC. You'll have several hours to self-tour this area which will probably include a bathroom break in one of our world famous museums.  We'll also be visiting the incredible US Botanic Garden as well as a few other fabulous DC gardens. Did you know there's an urban "farm" right in the middle of DC?

In Maryland and northern Virginia, we'll be exploring amazing private and public gardens as well as visiting a very cool local winery. There will also be an opportunity to shop at one of the premier nurseries in our area. Check out this interactive story map for a sneak peek into our itinerary!




There are twelve Smithsonian gardens along the National Mall. 




What is the Capital Region?

The Capital Region includes the surrounding suburbs outside DC that are home to most of the people who keep the nation's capital running. DC is a small city and doesn't have enough space to house everybody who works there. Waking up in Virginia, commuting into DC, and then popping into Maryland is very common. Believe it or not, you'll probably lose track of what state we're in while you're here. One of the unique characteristics of the Capital Region is its geographic diversity. Within 45 miles of the White House you can find numerous historic towns such as Arlington, Alexandria, and Annapolis, world class wineries, beautiful farm land, and views of the Chesapeake Bay and Blue Ridge mountains.   


Did you know there's a house in Maryland with a sidewalk in DC?

When can I register and how much does it cost?

Registration opens at noon (Eastern time) on Saturday, October 15, 2016. The cost is $300 and is payable through all major credit cards. Registration is expected to fill up quickly so mark your calendar so you don't forget! 

How do I register?

As soon as registration opens, send an email to the Capital Region Fling committee that includes the following info: Your name, how old your blog is, and a link to your blog. We'll quickly confirm that your blog meets the registration criteria and will send you a response with a link to our invitation-only Eventbrite site to register for the Fling. Once you've registered through Eventbrite and your payment has been processed, you're all set! 

Where can I find this information?

About two weeks before registration opens, We'll post a reminder on the Garden Bloggers Fling website as well as on the blog, Casa Mariposa. There will also be information available in the Facebook group. We'll post the email you'll use to contact us on October 1 but won't begin responding until noon (Eastern time), Saturday, October 15. To make it fair for everyone early registration isn't an option unless you have previously sponsored a Fling. 


What does my registration fee cover?

Your fee covers the expenses related to the Fling including admission and transportation to each garden, fresh from the farm appetizers at our Welcome! party on Thursday night, and lunch on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday as well as dinner on Sunday. You will pay for your transportation to the Fling and your hotel expenses. We're staying at a beautiful Hyatt at the Reston Town Center and have been given a special Fling-only room rate. There will be multiple opportunities to win incredible door prizes supplied by our sponsors so leave some space in your suitcase for all the swag.


We'll be traveling in air conditioned comfort thanks to the luxury coaches and mini-buses of Reston Limo.

Are we going to be visiting Casa Mariposa?

Yes! While Tammy's garden doesn't compare to the others we'll be visiting, it's her pleasure to welcome you to the Casa! We hope to see you there.



Are you coming?

Monday, July 25, 2016

Minneapolis Fling: So Much to Write About...

2016 Minneapolis Garden Bloggers Fling group at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory in St. Paul.
The 2016 Garden Bloggers Fling is over, and the tired but exhilirated bloggers have gone home to sort through hundreds (thousands?) of images and digest all that they have seen and learned about northern gardens. We'll be sharing their posts here. For real-time information about the Fling, check out our Garden Bloggers Fling Facebook page or look on Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #gbFling2016. (The photos will blow you away!)

The Fling was organized by Amy Andrychowicz, Kathleen Hennessey and Mary Lahr Schier. You can check out our itinerary, our terrific sponsors, and more information about gardening in the North on this blog. Now, on to the posts!

MINNEAPOLIS -- THE CITY AND ITS GARDENS

FRIDAY, July 15

Springwood Gardens Daylily Farm was a favorite stop.
SATURDAY, July 16


What a pretty vegetable garden!
SUNDAY, July 17



 


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Planning Your Trip To Minneapolis

I know we've thrown a lot of Fling info at you over the past few months, and it can be hard to find all the information you're looking for. So I thought I'd put together a list of important links and information you'll need for making the final arrangements for your trip to Minnesota next week.

Minneapolis skyline

Communication

#hashtag

Our hashtag for the 2016 Garden Bloggers Fling is #gbFling2016. Please be sure to use that every time you post something about the Fling on your favorite social media site. It's a great way for sponsors, garden owners, and fellow Flingers to follow along on our adventures.

Facebook Group

Also it's important to note that all of our communication during the busy days of the Fling is done through our Facebook group. If you're coming to the Fling, but you're not a member of that group yet, please click here and request to join. Then turn on the FB notifications, and keep your eyes peeled for important announcements from now all the way through the Fling (and afterward as people start posting pictures and blog links about the Fling!)

Important Links

Hotel

Transportation

  • If you are flying in, there is light rail service from both Twin Cities terminals (Terminal 1 (Lindbergh) and Terminal 2 (Humphrey)) to downtown. You'll take the train to downtown Minneapolis, and then get off at the Warehouse District/Hennepin Ave Station. This station is on 5th Street N, between Hennepin Ave and 1st Ave N. Once you get off the train, you'll go northwest on 5th St toward 1st Ave and turn left onto 1st Ave N. The hotel is 1.5 blocks from the Transit Station between 6th St and 7th St, on the left side of the street (right across the street from the Target Center). Taking the Light Rail is super easy!
  • A cab ride will cost about $35, or you can take an Uber.
  • Driving directions to the hotel are here.  
Minneapolis Central Library (location for our Thurs eve Welcome Event)

Food

Some of your food will be provided, but not all of it. Below is a list so you know what to expect (the meals in bold/italic font are the ones where you'll be on your own).

Thursday:
  • Appetizers and beverages at our welcome event
  • You're on your own for dinner (if you're still hungry after the welcome event)
Friday:
  • You're on your own for breakfast 
  • Lunch
  • Snacks on the bus
  • Appetizers and beverages at happy hour
  • You're on your own for dinner
Saturday:
  • You're on your own for breakfast 
  • Lunch  
  • Snacks on the bus
  • Banquet Dinner
Sunday:
  • You're on your own for breakfast 
  • Lunch 
  • Snacks on the bus
  • You're on your own for dinner

 

Your hosts for the Minneapolis-St. Paul Garden Bloggers Fling: 

Please remember that each Fling is planned, coordinated and run by volunteers - this is not our full time job. So please, please be patient if you experience any glitches during the Fling. We'll do our best to make sure everything goes as planned - but with every BIG event, there's always something, right? So, patience and understanding are always appreciated!
Thank you!


Saturday, July 2, 2016

Thursday Night Welcome Event!!


Our Thursday night Welcome event for the Minneapolis Garden Bloggers Fling will be at the Minneapolis Central Library. One of the reasons we chose this location for our welcome event is because it's a short 7 minute walk (3 blocks) from our hotel (or a 5 minute walk from the train station).


But the main reason we chose it is because the Minneapolis Central Library is a beautiful building (and we wanted to show it off)! Built in 2006, the Minneapolis Central Library is a fairly new addition to our beautiful city. Because of it's gorgeous, award winning architecture, the Minneapolis Central Library has been named one of the 50 most beautiful libraries in the world. (The library also has a green roof, but unfortunately it's not open for tours. Super bummed about that!!)


I would share a link to their website, but it's totally unimpressive!! Instead, you'll have to wait and see it for yourself. :-)


Thursday Evening Welcome Event

Location: Minneapolis Central Library - 300 Nicollet Mall, downtown Minneapolis
Time: 5:30-8pm
Refreshments: Appetizers, beer, wine and other refreshments will be served
Attire: Anywhere from casual to dressy

The room is located on the 2nd floor on the north side of the building. They will post directional signage in the elevators and at the bottom of the escalator to make it easier for us to find the room.

We will plan to meet in the hotel lobby for those of you who are walking from the hotel. If you want to walk with the group, meet in the lobby between 5-5:15.

Or you can just meet us at the library. Since it's so close to our hotel, you can come and go whenever you want - so there's no rush to get there exactly at 5:30. Of course, you can leave the event early if you want to grab an earlier dinner (but you have to eat your fill before we let you leave, so that might spoil your appetite! LOL!).

For those of you who are driving... there are two levels of parking located beneath the Library. The parking ramp entrance is on 4th Street (across the bus and bike lanes) between Hennepin and Nicollet. The ramp is directly below the library.

Will we see you there?



Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Things To Pack and What To Wear

Minneapolis is TWO WEEKS away!! Say what?!?

A few people have asked what they should plan to bring for their trip to Minneapolis, and what to wear. Here's a list of ideas for you...

Things to Pack:

  • Camera!
  • Sunscreen 
  • Hat
  • Extra camera batteries and memory card
  • Phone and camera chargers
  • An umbrella to protect your camera in case of rain. 
  • Sunglasses 
  • Your name tag and buttons if you've been to the Fling before (don't worry newbies, we've got you covered!) 
  • Business cards
Make sure to leave lots of extra space in your suitcase for your swag!! (Your swag will come in a bag, so you can use that as an extra carry on if you need to. :-) )

What to Wear:

Wear comfy clothes during the day for the garden tours. If you feel like dressing up for dinner, then bring a change of clothes for each night. (But do note that we won't be returning back to the hotel before our banquet dinner on Saturday night)

Minnesota's weather can be very unpredictable! Although we don't expect it will get down below zero during the Fling (ok... that was a joke!), it can get cool in the evenings. Daytime temps can range anywhere from the 70s... all the way on up to the low 100's and humid (yuck, hopefully that won't happen during the Fling!).
 
I highly recommend that you wait until the week of the Fling to check the weather report and decide what to pack... and then check it again the day before you come because the weather report can change on a dime. No joke.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the A/C tends to be cranked up pretty high at most places in MN (I guess Minnesotans really DO like it cold!). Our Thursday night event will be indoors, as will our banquet dinner on Saturday night. So, make sure you bring a sweater or light jacket to take with you to these events, and also when you go out to restaurants.

Also, we will be doing LOTS of walking during the Fling, so make sure you bring comfy shoes! We'll be walking through gardens after all - and over lawns, up and down hills, and through the streets of downtown Minneapolis....etc. Plan accordingly.

Here's the tentative itinerary in case you missed it...  Minneapolis Fling Itinerary Preview

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Garden Blogger Fling Sponsor/Swag Teasers

Garden Design Magazine 
Garden Design Magazine is full of inspiration and information. A long-time supporter of the Fling, the magazine will host our Friday happy hour as a Bloom level sponsor of the Minneapolis event. We’ll learn more about publication’s direction as we unwind from our first day of tours.



Kelly Moore Bags 
Leave it to bloggers to discuss cameras and handbags. A recent Facebook chat lead us to reach out to Kelly Moore Bags to see if they would like to be part of the Minneapolis Fling. They are teaming up with us as a Bloom level sponsor and are also donating two bags for our door prize drawing, and putting a little something special in our swag bags.

If you don’t know about Kelly Moore Bags, you should! They’re the perfect combination of beauty, function and fun. Check out all the eye candy at kellymoorebag.com.


American Beauties 
American Beauties Native Plants is a groundbreaking program designed to raise awareness about the importance of native plants to our environment. Their branded pots and four-sided plant tags make it easy to choose the best natives for your garden. Each tag offers all the information you need to be successful and teaches you about each plant’s benefits to wildlife.

American Beauties is all about giving back. A portion of the proceeds from every plant sold will fund environmental research and education.

American Beauties joins us as a Bloom level sponsor. Learn more at: abnativeplants.com



Bailey Nurseries 
If you love hydrangea and roses, you’re in for a treat when we tour Bailey Nurseries. The nursery who brings us Endless Summer Hydrangeas, FirstEditions Plants and Easy Elegance Roses partners with this year’s Fling at the Bloom level, hosting us for lunch in their beautiful display garden.

Bailey Nurseries is one of the largest wholesale nurseries in the United States. This fifth-generation, family owned nursery provides plant material to garden centers across the country.



Bachman’s 
Bachman's Floral, Gift and Garden Center is a Minnesota institution, and one of the largest traditional floral and nursery operations in the world. The company was founded in 1885 when Henry Bachman, Sr., planted potatoes, lettuce, onions, and squash on a plot of land in South Minneapolis. Today, that plot contains the company's headquarters and acres of floral, gift, garden, and landscaping departments. On a busy Valentine's Day week, Bachman's will deliver over 24,000 trademark purple packages.

Bachman’s partners with the Fling as a Bloom sponsor and will host us for a garden center tour and lunch.



Swag, Swag, Swag 
Our sponsorship team has been working hard to partner with the best gardening companies across the country to bring you swag, door prizes and other fun surprises throughout the Fling. We’ve got plants, seeds, tools, toys, books and more from: Botanical Interest, Corona Tools, Cobra Head, Sustane OrganicFertilizer, Southern Living Plant Collection, Blooms of Bressingham, Bayer, TulaHats, Costa Farms, Gorilla Cart, Teak Closeouts, Tubtrugs, Southen Exposure Seed Exchange and Proven Winners, just to name a few.


Best of all, you won’t have to wait until the end of the event to get your hands on some of these fun products. We have special deliveries and fun games planned every day!


There are still spots open if you want to join us for the 2016 Garden Bloggers Fling in Minneapolis on July 14-17. Go here to register now...  Register for the 2016 Minneapolis Garden Bloggers Fling

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Minneapolis Fling Intinerary Preview

Minnesota in summer
The Garden Bloggers Fling in Minneapolis is shaping up to be a fun event, where you'll see the wide range of Minnesota gardens, from historic city yards to unique rural gardens. We're still working out details (and we have a couple more gardens we hope to squeeze in), but here's a sneak peek at what you'll be enjoying in Minneapolis come July.

Boardwalk at Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden
(Yes, you can still sign up -- and we hope you do!)

Thursday, July 14
Welcome to Minnesota! If you are flying in, there is light rail service from both Twin Cities terminals (Lindbergh and Humphrey) to downtown. A cab ride will cost about $35. Check in at the Loew’s Hotel and join us for our Welcome Event (details to come).


DAY 1: Friday, July 15

Today we'll stay on the Minneapolis side of the Twin Cities. We start the day touring two beautiful public gardens near one of Minneapolis' famous lakes. First, we'll got to the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden, the oldest native-plant garden in the United States, established and designed by pioneering horticulturist Eloise Butler in 1907. The garden features woodland, wetland and prairie habitats and is home to more than 130 species of birds.

Bachman's Idea House arrangement
Noerenberg Gardens
Then, we ride around the lake to visit Lyndale Park Gardens, located just a short ride from Eloise Butler on the shores of Lake Harriet. The gardens include a rose collection, northern perennial garden and the Peace Garden, a small Japanese style garden that is a favorite among city residents seeking a moment of quiet or a beautiful place to take a picture.

While we are in south Minneapolis, we'll stop at two fabulous private gardens. Then, on to lunch hosted by Bachman’s, one of the oldest garden centers in the Twin Cities, known for its three-times a year makeovers of the old Bachman’s homestead into an “idea house.” We’ll enjoy a salad lunch, talk with Karen Bachman Thull about trends in gardening and have a chance to shop.

Refreshed, we'll board the buses for Noerenberg Memorial Gardens, on the shores of Lake Minnetonka. Built on the estate of Frederick Noerenberg, founder of Grain Belt Beer, the garden sits on Maxwell Bay and features formal and informal beds. Noerenberg will arrange to have gardeners in the garden to answer questions about the garden and its history.

We'll spend an hour at Noerenberg before taking a short ride to the private garden of Steve Kelley and Arla Carmichiel. Talk about a gardening power couple – Arla Charmichiel is the horticulturist at Noerenberg Gardens and her husband, Steve Kelly, owns Kelley and Kelley Nursery, an exceptional nursery only a short drive from the Noerenberg Gardens. We’ll have time to explore Arla and Steve’s beautiful private garden, and if you wish, you can walk across the street and see some of the unusual plants Kelley and Kelley offers.

We'll get you back to the hotel with plenty of time  to rest and freshen up before the Happy Hour sponsored by Garden Design magazine. Dinner is on your own and we'll have a list of nearby restaurants to check out. Or, if you are sports-minded, wander over to Target Field, where the Twins will be playing the Cleveland Indians!


DAY 2: Saturday, July 15

We go into the suburbs and the outskirts of Minneapolis to see the wide array of gardening styles.
Springwood Gardens
On our way, we'll stop at Vera's Garden, one of the many community gardens in the Twin Cities. This exceptional community garden backs up to the Midtown Greenway, a 5-mile bike route that runs through the heart of Minneapolis and is a favorite of both recreational and commuter bikers. The steep slopes on the side of the greenway have been shaped into ornamental and vegetable beds, largely by a crew of volunteers.

Next, we head to Hopkins and the lakes west of town to visit six private gardens in the western suburbs of the Twin Cities. These range from smaller yards in neighborhoods from the 1940s to large, park-like spaces. What the gardeners all have in common is that they are Master Gardeners. Along the way, we'll stop for a box lunch.

In the mid-afternoon, we'll visit to Springwood Gardens, the home of Karol Emmerich’s daylily breeding operation and display garden. The colors will amaze you as we visit this large daylily garden, filled with daylilies Karol has created as well as those she just loves. Home, Karol will greet, give a brief talk about her daylilies and then give time for photographing and enjoying the grounds, which are located on a wind swept hill above the prairie.

Our next stop is the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.  We'll have our group photo taken and have time to tour the arboretum, which is one of the largest in the Midwest.  The folks at the arboretum are planning some special presentations for us, but since this is such a large space, there will also be lots of time for you to explore the specialty gardens on your own to take photos. All the plants here look gorgeous and they all have identification tags! It’s a great opportunity to get those plant glamour shots for your blog.
Japanese Garden at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretym

Como Conservatory
We'll stay at the arboretum for our Fling Banquet, which will be a Minnesota-themed buffet dinner with drinks and lots of prizes and giveaways.


DAY 3: Sunday, July 17

Today, we go east to St. Paul and then into the wilds of Wisconsin

We start the day at Como Park Japanese Garden and Conservatory. This 100-year-old conservatory is the go-to refuge from winter cold in the Twin Cities. It features palms, banana trees and other tropical plants under an historic dome. Outside, we will have a chance to tour the park’s Japanese Garden with horticulturist Tina Dombrowski available to answer questions.

Then, we'll visit some of the beautiful private gardens of St. Paul, including Marge Hols' home garden. Marge is the dean of garden writers in St. Paul, and her home garden compliments beautifully the old-fashioned charm of her Summit Avenue home. If you have a few minutes after touring Marge’s garden, walk up and down Summit to see the old mansions (Minnesota’s Governor’s Mansion is about two blocks away.) We'll also see Lee and Jerry Shannon's garden. Named one of the five best gardens in the Twin Cities, this one is deceptive. From the front, the Shannons’ house looks like a typical bungalow on a city lot. But, behind it is a two-third acre plant haven, featuring a rock garden, a formal garden, a gazebo and an impressive conifer collection. Lee and Jerry are a delight and love sharing their garden with others.

Bailey's Display Garden is full of creative ideas.
Our next stop is for lunch at Bailey’s Display Garden. Meet the folks behind Easy Elegance roses, First Editions shrubs and perennials and Endless Summer hydrangeas. The Bailey family has been growing and selling plants in Minnesota (and far beyond!) for three generations. We’ll enjoy lunch in their lovely display garden in Cottage Grove.





After lunch, we'll visit Afton, a quaint river town that is home to Squire House Gardens, one of Minnesota's many independently owned garden shops. This one in tiny Afton is located in an old house with formal and casual gardens around it. Owner Martin Stern will share some of his favorite design tips. We may also have a few minutes to wander around Afton. Depart 2:20 for drive to Beldenville, Wis.

Lots of surprises at Woutrina De Raad's Garden
After this stop, we'll drive through western Wisconsin to Woutrina DeRaad's Mosaic Sculpture Park and Garden. We may have saved the best for last. This private garden and sculpture park is difficult to describe – it’s like stepping into another world. Riana, the owner and creator, is an artist in tile and in plants. We’ll have an hour to explore this amazing space.





We hope you'll join us for the Minneapolis Fling! Register today and stay tuned for more details to come.





Friday, April 1, 2016

Five Things to Know About Minnesota Gardeners

When your winters are long, you make your gardens big.

Those of us on the Minneapolis Garden Bloggers Fling planning committee are so excited to introduce bloggers around the country to our beautiful part of the world, but there are a few things you need to know before you come.

1) Gardeners here are ENTHUSIASTIC! Spending six months or more surrounded by snow does not quell the desire of Minnesotans to grow things. The gardens you will see are lush and layered. Community gardening is huge in the Twin Cities and we will be visiting one of the most unusual of these neighborhood gardens. It's on what is essentially a "bike freeway" through Minneapolis. Did you know Minneapolis, despite its climate, is rated the No. 3 best biking city by Bicycling Magazine?

2) All those things Garrison Keillor says about Minnesotans -- kind of true. "All the women are strong, the men are good-looking, and the children above average." At least, we think so. While Lake Woebegone is not a real place, it is based on one that is -- and I can tell you a very Keillor-esque story about the real place. Or, you can visit it, if you decide you want to extend your stay to explore Minnesota. And, that accent the Coen brothers made famous in Fargo? Yep, we got it.

Snow on May 2? Yep, it happens. Not it July.
3) Our winters are cold, but our summers are not. In fact, they are gorgeous. Be sure to bring a light jacket or sweater for the Fling, just in case we get a breeze. But also pack warm-weather clothing, a good hat and plenty of sunscreen. July can be warm.

Sunset on Lake Minnetonka
4) Land of 10,000 Lakes? Minnesota really has more lakes than that, and we will be visiting some gardens that are located on or near lakes. Having water in your backyard makes everything more beautiful, don't you think?

Rose trial garden at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, where roses are tested for hardiness.
5) Plant breeding is big here. Honeycrisp apples? Bred in Minnesota. Hosta breeder Hans Hansen? Got his start in Minnesota. Oso Happy® Smoothie™roses? Bred in Minnesota. Plant breeders in Minnesota have worked hard to develop grapes for the North, grasses for the North, chrysanthemums for cold climates, and fruits and berries of all kinds -- all suitable for cold-climates. Are you catching a theme here?

There are still spots open for the Minneapolis Fling, click here to register today! We hope you will join us!