Sunday, June 24, 2018

Garden Blogger's Fling Austin 2018: Still Getting There

I have been posting about my Big Trip to The Garden Blogger's Fling in Austin, and I began with a post showing my first stop at Fling sponsor The Natural Gardener as a preview.  It was a good thing I took so many photos since it was pouring rain the next day when our group of 90+ garden bloggers arrived there for lunch and garden shopping.

My next stop along the way to the Fling was at fellow blogger Jenny Stocker's house to drop off native Poinsettia (Euphorbia cyathophora) seedlings.  You see I was packing a lot into my trip up to Austin even though it is only 75 miles from my house. 

Even though Jenny, who writes the wonderful Rock Rose blog, was expecting all of us for a tour the next day we agreed I should drop the seedlings off on the way up so I wouldn't have to carry them on the bus all day Friday.  I tucked the plants in behind a planter on her driveway and quickly tiptoed away so as not to disrupt their preparations for the Fling tour.  Of course I snuck in a few photos of their spectacular front plantings which looked very different from the last time I visited when Bluebonnets were in bloom.

After Jenny's I stopped by another Fling sponsor, Barton Springs Nursery, to see if they had Sparkler Sedge (nope) and pick up a few of my favorite plants.  Barton Springs Nursery is an excellent stop for Texas native plant fans especially since they carry many varieties in 4" pots so you can give them a try without a big investment.

Then we stopped for a walk through the beautiful Texas State Cemetery just east of downtown.  Interesting that things worked out this way since it was through discovering Pam's post on this cemetery at her blog Digging while doing family research that I first realized garden blogging would work for me.  It will take another post to fully cover this part of my trip.

Whew!  After a long day of stops Neal finally dropped me off at the hotel in downtown Austin and I checked in.  Just one of the many items of Fling swag were beautifully decorated cookies.  I chose Texas.  Looks like that heart might be on San Antonio.

The view from my hotel window amazed me.  I was born a few blocks from here but it didn't look like this back then!

Our first Fling event was a social and Fajita buffet at the new Austin Central Library designed by San Antonio's Lake|Flato Architects.

Their architecture is always stunning and evokes a special sense of place not present in the surrounding glass towers.

Our main sponsor for the opening event was Hortus TV, a subscription service for those of us who find the limited selection of good garden shows in North America a challenge.   With Hortus TV you can watch great gardening shows from England and even Australia whenever you choose.

Fling planners Pam Penick, Laura Wills, and Diana Kirby welcome bloggers to Austin.

After dinner we all headed to the rooftop garden to explore and socialize.

Check out that view.

Fantastic place to read.

And there is a garden way up here.

Lauren Lindsey of Ravenscourt Gardens chats with Jim Peterson of Garden Design Magazine.

So much high-rise development in what used to be a low-rise city!

On the way back to our hotel we stopped at the Congress Street Bridge to await the famous emergence of nearly 2 million Mexican free-tailed bats from the largest urban bat colony in the world.  It's worth pointing out here that the largest bat colony in the world with 20 million Mexican free-tailed bats is Bracken Cave just down the road in San Antonio!

Apparently this was not their night and we left disappointed after sunset.  Maybe with a front blowing in they decided to stick closer to home under the bridge.

All in all a fun day and the Fling had just begun!


  1. You were born in Austin? I didn't know that. Was your dad at Bergstrom? Austin certainly has changed since we first lived here in 68 and since we came back in 94. Some for better some for worse. But I do love the new library and what a wonderful place it was to start the Fling. Thanks for the link to the visit your garden club made 3 years ago. I liked walking down memory lane myself. And thanks for the plants you left on the driveway that day. They have made it through the last month and hopefully will color up in the fall. That is when I saw them flower last time. BSN is my favorite nursery too for its 4" pots. Their selection is the best and who want to get the pick axe out to dig a hole.

    1. My great-great-grandparents arrived in Austin from Germany in the 1870s so Austin is my dad's hometown and my parents met as students at UT. I was born at Brackenridge Hospital downtown not too far from the hotel. It was a fun day when we visited with the garden club.

  2. Going back to our roots.
    I would have been happy to spend the day enjoying that library and reading somewhere in the garden.

    1. It's a beautiful, yet functional building and very typical of their award-winning work.

  3. You made GREAT use of that 75-mile journey, Shirley!

    1. It was fun and even took two posts to get it all in!

  4. Watching the bats is great, sorry they stood you up. Such an interesting and misunderstood animal.

    1. Maybe next time on the bats. I enjoy watching bats catch mosquitoes at night from my porch.

  5. So glad you enjoyed the opening event at the library, but darn those bats for not showing up for all our visitors! :)


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