Meet TS and Come See the Rest of the Garden...

Friday, July 29, 2016

Party at the Casa! Are You Coming?

I'm having a party and you're invited! I'm hosting the 2017 Capital Region Garden Bloggers Fling and I 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/times and who can come?

We begin at 6 pm on Thursday, June 22 and end at 8 pm on 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, I'll post a reminder on my blog. There will also be information available on the Garden Bloggers Fling webpage and in the Facebook group. I'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 your garden?

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

Are you coming?

Sunday, July 24, 2016

SomeFling's up at the Casa....

If someone said to you, "I have a beautiful garden. Would you like to see it?" what would you say? If you were me, "Yeah baby!" would barely be out of your mouth before sprinting toward whatever patch of plants they tended. Now imagine you get to tour their garden with a bunch of other passionate garden bloggers and you have the Garden Bloggers Fling.

The 2016 Garden Bloggers Fling was held in Minneapolis, Minnesota in mid July. We trekked into neighboring Wisconsin to see this incredible garden full of mosaics.

Created by Wouterina De Raad, whimsical sculptures can be found through out this lush garden. The artist and garden had so much spirit and soul I didn't want to leave.

But the Fling isn't just about seeing cool gardens. It's about coming together with other gardeners and meeting the people behind the blogs. It's a three and a half day garden lovers gabfest.

These lake shore gardens with their rich sandy loam were packed with plants that struggle in my hot, humid summers. It was enlightening to see them all alive instead of begging for a quick death in my Virginia clay.

This riverbed recirculates the water so it's always flowing.

870 hostas are packed into this magnificent garden. The bloggers arrived in stunned silence

and then immediately began talking and taking pictures.

This dry riverbed is used to control the runoff from heavy rain.

We weren't the only garden visitors.

The incredible garden of Rhonda Hayes has gorgeous raised steel beds 
full of edibles and flowers.

But chatting with your garden blogger friends isn't the only reason to attend a Fling. You're able to explore amazing gardens in person instead of just virtually and you return home inspired and energized. How inspired? After attending three Flings, I'll be hosting the next one!  

Monday, July 4, 2016

Confessions of a Pot Addict

Sometimes one is just not enough. Sometimes 87 is better. As a matter of fact, it is 86 times better. But 88? Pure crazy, I tell ya.

Last I counted I had 87 containers full of plants. But I may have counted wrong.

Annual rudbeckia hirta and monarda citriodora

Anything and everything that doesn't fit into my garden beds, is stuffed in a pot.

Colors are blended and hopefully flow into each other

Seed grown bat faced cuphea lounging in the oregano

but if they clash, who cares?

All annuals that attract pollinators are grown by seed over the winter and 
I fill in the gaps with organic herbs.

Perennials live in the pots forever so I add organic fertilizer 
and granulated mycorrihizae to the soil to keep it fertile.

I bought a pot of basil at the grocery store when my plants were too small to harvest.
 I stuck it outside and thought it would immediately die but it thrived and grew 
so I had to buy another pot.

 I had no choice.

Pineapple mint with seed-grown Jupiter's Beard

A copper watering can? Stick a plant in it.

If sticking plants in pots isn't enough, I create funky art and stick it in the pots. 
It's like decorating the garden.

Agastache that would die in my clay loam thrive in a container so what's a gardener to do but buy more containers? 

Sweet potatoes fill the two pots in front of the miscanthus. I'll harvest these in the fall and cook them for Thanksgiving.

Pots fill my patio steps

 'Pandora's Box' daylily

and house some of my impulse-buy daylilies.

 Just in case they need a little motivation.

Even the cracks in the patio pavers are sprouting plants.

I scattered rudbeckia hirta "Denver Dasies' seed last fall but 
squirrels ransacked the pot so only a few came up. Furry little jerks.

 I don't bother with fillers, thrillers, and spillers, I just add stuffers and fluffers and call it a day. This gives the plants more room to grow and requires less watering.

 A bit of variegation keeps everything from being too green.

To keep the soil from crusting over, I break it up with my fingers so the water penetrates the soil instead of running down the sides. A sharp stick is used to poke holes in deep soil to increase water absorption. Plus, this gives me an excellent excuse for poking things with sharp sticks. It's an excellent stress reliever.

'Red Hot Mama' lilies blown over in a storm were brought inside.

Even my watering can is occasionally pressed into service.