New eyes & ideas at the San Francisco Garden Blogger’s Fling

I can’t believe I did it, but in June, I shut down three computers and left Greg in charge of bunnies, cats, dog, and garden watering to head to San Francisco for the annual Garden Blogger’s Fling!

san francisco bay

I was way overdue for a recharge.  Bloggers I’ve only met online pumped up my wonder factor when I met them face-to-face.

Kylee Baumlee Our Little Acre blog

Gardeners from around the country, Canada, and the UK swapped perceptions about designs and plants mutual and foreign.

Rebecca Sweet's garden Garden in the Gossip blog
Wave Garden San Francisco Garden Bloggers

Through camaraderie of writers in every sphere of publishing, garden design, social media, and photography, we connected our local perceptions to global ones.

Mary Ann Newcomer, Gardens of the Wild Wild West blog Scott Weber blogger at Rhone Street Gardens

While maxing out camera cards, we extended online relationships to more personal ones of family, job challenges, and tips on everything from cameras, pillows (!), writing, anchoring squash vines, and the direction of media platforms. The combination of talk matched the eye-stounding plant combos we met, too. And you know what? I STILL don’t have my voice back.

Silver and yellow at the San Francisco Botanical Garden

Silver and magenta at Annie's Annuals
Hmm, I can already tell that I have thing about silver. I know some of you were already saying, “Oh, there she goes again with silver!”

Do these plants work for all of us?  Nope. And rats: I’d love to have this Aeonium.  Oh yeah, I’m into purple, too.

Aeonium arboreum

This hydrangea would have a heart attack the minute I pulled into the driveway.

White hydrangea in Rebecca Sweet's garden
I can’t have Kangaroo paws, but I can have agaves if I grit up my clay soil. And pick the ones that can take freaky winters.

Agave and Kangaroo paws in sculptor Matt Gil's garden

I did see many things we can grow! At Sunset magazine’s gardens, here’s a fun combination of artichokes, herbs, and cosmos.

Sunset magazine garden artichoke and cosmos

I was thrilled to actually see Sunset’s office and gardens, since I have three editions of their Western Garden Book.  And I picked up lots of ideas to try at home. I tend to be scatter-brained-planting.  This will convince me to cluster, by golly!

Sunset magazine gardens Sunset magazine sedum flagstone ground cover

I’ve often visited Annie’s Annuals online, but meeting her and seeing her famous destination was a highlight for me.

Annie's Annuals

And what do you know, flamingos even “grow” at Annie’s, like for us.

Annie's Annuals flamingos
I’ve grown Verbena bonariensis, but it wasn’t quite like this.

Verbena bonierensis at Annie's Annuals

Check out this eye-popping design with silver ponyfoot (Dichondra argentea), wonderful for us in well-drained spots.

silver pony foot Dichondra argentea at Annie's Annuals

At a private garden, many of us agreed that the purple is Trachelium caeruleum, purple umbrella plant, which I’ve grown (but don’t take that to the bank.) Still, that combination of colors and textures is one I’m going to try with something or other.

purple and green at Wave Garden, San Francisco Fling

Wherever we live, we can create the same pictures, in our own way, with plants that suit our situation.

blue oat grass

I love the picture that designer, author and blogger Rebecca Sweet created at home. Here are just a few shots to inspire your imagination.

Rebecca Sweet edging with Echeveria imbricatas Rebecca Sweet's garden Rebecca Sweet garden succulent in seashell Rebecca Sweet garden office

Sculptor Matt Gil’s home tucked under the highway would fit right in with Austin!

Sculptor Matt Gil's highway house

His tribute to beloved pets is giving me ideas! No no, I promise, no bunny carrots. But I would love to have artwork that embraces the sky.

Sculptor Matt Gil's dog bone

I also really want his kitchen and den.

Sculptor Matt Gil

His wife told me that Matt made the furniture and cabinets. The wood for the coffee table came from a tree that had died on family property.

Sculptor Matt Gil

One evening, we dined in the splendor of the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park.

Conservatory of Flowers Golden Gate Park
Renowned photographer Saxon Holt gives us a cue for our group picture.

Saxon Holt photographer

I first met Saxon by phone when he was scouting locations to photograph for The American Meadow Garden, an award-winning book written by John Greenlee.

The next day, he gave us a photography class at the San Francisco Botanical Garden, using that frame to show us how to fill the frame.

San Franciso Botanical Garden with Saxon Holt

Check out his blog, Mental Seeds, for fabulous photographs and how he does it. You don’t want to miss out on his upcoming photo tips ebook, either! He’s also one of the bloggers on the super collaboration at Gardening Gone Wild.

As you can tell, it was sunny and HOT! Over 90 degrees most of the time. Thank heavens, just as we were as wilted as even my xeric plants are right now, a gardener offered us frosty drinks and cool down in her pool. It was really a fun few minutes, documented by Janet Zargan Ledebuhr, blogger at The Queen of Seaford. It was wonderful getting to know her in person and discover that our paths sort of crossed years ago when she lived in Austin.

The Queen of Seaford pool picture San Francisco Garden Bloggers Fling

I made lifelong friends, who sent me home with a “fling” in my step. You can meet them all, too, though their wonderful blogs that tell their inspiring stories of gardens and life.

Thanks to Pam Penick, Diana Kirby, Zanthan Gardens and Bonnie Martin for starting the fling connection in its 2008 Austin debut!

And thanks for stopping by to share my adventure!  Linda