The event began with a welcome dinner at Austin's Central Library, which is surrounded by a very nice garden and also boasts a roof-top garden space.
|The Central Library, just outside the frame of this photo on the left, sits along a creek framed by plants and walking paths|
On the first full day of the Fling, Friday, May 4th, we loaded buses under a cloudy sky and threat of rain. Our first stop was the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, a spot I've admired in posts by Texas bloggers and long wished to visit. Unfortunately, the skies opened up shortly after our arrival. It was a deluge, at least by the viewpoint of this rain-starved Californian. We got soaked.
The rain persisted all day, although it tempered a bit in the afternoon.
|Our next stop was Diana Kirby's garden. Diana was one of this year's dedicated Fling organizers and she's a landscape designer. I looked forward to seeing her garden, which I've only viewed in bits and pieces on her blog but the deluge continued and limited my exploration. Diana kindly allowed 90 seriously soggy garden bloggers to hang out in her house dripping all over her floors as we hoped for a break in the rain that didn't come. This view is from the front entry of her house.|
|Our next stop was The Natural Gardener, an acclaimed local nursery. The site offered demonstration gardens, an opportunity to shop, and hosted our lunch. I briefly ventured outside to walk through some of the demonstration gardens (shown above) as it continued to pour.|
|After lunch, my bus headed to Jenny Stocker's garden. Jenny blogs as Rock Rose and I've been following her posts since I began blogging in 2012. Her garden was rain-soaked but a lessening of the downpour allowed more wandering. This shot was taken outside the garden walls that break the garden into distinct rooms and protect the interior area from deer.|
We enjoyed beautiful weather on day #2. Even the humidity remained at a reasonable level. My bus started off the day at Pam Penick's garden. Pam was one of this year's Fling organizers and is heralded as the "godmother" of the Fling. The first Fling was held in Austin in 2008 and the current Fling celebrated its tenth anniversary.
|This is Pam's stock tank pond, a focal point in her back garden. At this point, I began kicking myself for relying on my small PowerShot camera again this year.|
|This photo was taken at our next stop, the personal garden of the owner and operator of B. Jane Gardens, a design firm. The combination of water, an agave and Dichondra argentea (aka ponyfoot) strikes me as a classic Texas trio. I've tried using this Dichondra as a ground cover in my own garden but it never looks as healthy and full as it does in the Austin gardens I toured last week.|
We enjoyed a Cinco de Mayo banquet Saturday night, complete with a pinata. There was also a raffle drawing. I won a garden book I'd had on my wish list, as well as a CobraHead weeder. As I already had one of these, I gave the weeder to a fellow blogger.
The last day of the Fling on Sunday had a jam-packed schedule. We left the hotel at 8am and returned around 8pm.
|Our first stop was Lucinda Hutson's incredible home and garden, filled with unique vignettes inside and out. This is a photo from her mermaid grotto. Characterizing this garden is almost impossible as it's unlike anything else I've ever seen. I've been unable to come up with a description to encapsulate it other than marvelous.|
|The next stop was Ruthie Burrus's garden, which overlooks downtown Austin. The view from her backyard patio was nothing short of incredible.|
|Margie McClurg's courtyard garden was full of delicious shade, which we appreciated as the day grew warmer. I was drawn to the Piper auritum (aka root beer plant) growing there. I remember seeing this plant for sale at a Santa Barbara garden center. I passed on it at the time and now wish I hadn't. Plants with large leaves that can grow in my climate, as this one reportedly can, are hard to come by.|
|We had lunch at Zilker Botanical Garden and I toured the Japanese and prehistoric gardens afterwards. This is a life-like representation of the Ornitomimid dinosaur that roamed the Austin area millions of years ago.|
|Landscape architect Tait Morning's garden was up next. It was a large garden, full of shade-covered paths winding through natural areas. These 2 ceramic toads sheltering under leaves in the hot afternoon sun caught my eye.|
|The last garden we toured was that of Kirk Walden. The backyard view seen here was a huge draw. A spa and pool occupy the terraced space just below the back garden's main level.|
|Our last stop was Articulture, part garden-oriented boutique and part event space. We ended the Fling with a barbeque dinner, an open bar featuring some of Lucinda Hutson's designer cocktails, and a band, all enjoyed in an open air setting. The framed succulent-Tillandsia artwork shown above was hanging on the wall just outside the boutique's main entrance.|
I'll wade through the rest of my photos over the coming weeks and publish more detailed posts at intervals (while also catching up on all the blogger posts I've missed over the past week). Despite the rain on the first day, the Fling was a lot of fun, just like last year's event in the Washington DC area. Even more than the pleasure of touring beautiful gardens, I appreciated the opportunity to meet and get to know so many of the other bloggers I've followed on-line. My biggest regret is that I didn't take my bigger, better (and bulkier) camera. If you're looking for something to do in June 2019, I suggest you consider the Denver Fling!
All material © 2012-2018 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party