09 June 2015

Garden Bloggers' Fling, 2015

I'd been aware of the annual Garden Bloggers' Fling since the first one, back in 2008 when it took place in Austin, Texas. I didn't think I'd ever get the chance to go to one, but when I realised that this year's was in Toronto, I jumped at the opportunity.

I wasn't disappointed. The event was superbly well organised and in total we visited 30 gardens and parks in the three days that I attended. Those doing the optional Niagara excursion on the fourth day would have seen even more. It was a real pleasure to spend time with so many passionate gardeners and designers. I feel like I have learnt a tremendous amount and have definitely made some new friends.

It's hard to know where to begin with describing the Fling: there was so much crammed in to the three days. I'll just pick out a few themes from the 563 (!) photos I took.

There was an interesting variation of scale, from the huge formal garden of the Aga Khan Museum

 to the intimate gardens of Cabbagetown, once home to Irish immigrants.

The Toronto skyline was ever-present throughout the Fling, either up close when we headed by ferry to the Toronto Island gardens on Friday,

or glimpsed from a distance as it was from the Aga Khan Museum

and from the Hugh Garner Co-op roof garden.

This coming weekend is the Peony Festival in Oshawa, and peonies were a noticeable feature in many of the gardens we visited. From the subtle and understated,

to the bold and beautiful,

and the downright outrageous.

There were a lot of Alliums around, too,

The importance of pollinators was another theme of the Fling: we learnt about the Fairmont Royal York's rooftop garden and bee hives on Friday and at the Toronto Botanical Garden on Sunday we were told to plant up our containers to 'attract guests'  like this honey bee who was busy visiting the salvia 'May Night' at the TBG.

We saw some interesting human-made objects, too, in the course of the Fling. I completely fell in love with the reclamation work going on at the former Don Valley Brick Works, where an industrial site has been turned into a fascinating space for people and wildlife. The 'Watershed Consciousness' artwork on the site is amazing.

I also (inevitably!) loved the way that archival images have been used to tell the story of the site's past.

You don't need a lot of space to make effective use of objects. I'm not generally a huge fan of garden art (or of city skylines, now I think about it) but I did rather like this little elephant in a Cabbagetown garden.

All in all, this has to be one of the most exhausting three days I've had. It was packed full of sensory, social and learning experiences; I will be thinking about this event for days and months to come. A hearty thanks to the Toronto Fling Committee for all their hard work!


Linda aka Crafty Gardener said...

I had actually almost signed up to attend the Bloggers Fling, but it came at the time of grandson's birthday and a couple of other things so I opted not to go. So glad you had a good time. I was checking it out via their Facebook page.

Helen said...

Amanda, It was great to meet you finally. Thanks for the thumbs up! The Fling Committee is really happy with how really happy all our visiting bloggers were. Hope you'll post more on your experience.

Margaret said...

It was a whirlwind of activity wasn't it. 30 gardens - wow - I didn't actually count how many gardens we went to. I'm both surprised and not, if you know what I mean ;) And I hope that your sons belated birthday went well!

Sarah Battersby said...

Great to see your overview Amanda, and to meet you in person! I hadn't realized that we saw 30 gardens. It is rather a lot isn't it??

Casa Mariposa said...

It was wonderful to meet you! You have a lovely blog. :) I just loved those Cabbagetown gardens. They were so cozy and intimate.

Beth @ PlantPostings said...

So great to meet you, Amanda. Great shot of the sculpture at the Evergreen Brick Works! I found that place inspiring, too. Wow, crazy that we visited 30+ gardens! No wonder I'm still so tired. But, gosh, it was fun!

Julie @ Southern Wild Design said...

Nice photos and a great overview! I didn't realize how many gardens we saw! That's a lot of gardens! No wonder I was exhausted! ~Julie

Pam/Digging said...

The Fling is exhausting, but in an utterly blissful way. Garden visit till you drop! So glad you came and enjoyed it. Hope to see you at another one.