Seen at The Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Monday, 28 July 2014

The Portland Fling - Preliminary Snippets

The all important group photo - in the International Rose Test Garden.
I'm a bit hard to spot because I don't have the rest of my avatar with me ;)

3 days, 80 bloggers, 90 degree heat, 15 gardens, 3 nurseries and hundreds of photographs. How do I begin to summarise the Fling? Like Victoria I tended to my own garden first, which helped to sooth the jetlag fug in my brain and let the sights, sounds and scents of my trip settle down more comfortably.

Portland is known as "The City of Roses", so a large test garden is appropriate -
the scent hits you smack in the face before you've entered the garden!

"What can you learn by coming to the Fling?", was the question I was asked most often at Portland. The implication being that by coming from England - the cradle of all that is good about gardening - I should find all I need right here.

Old Germantown Gardens - the only example we saw of the English style, which was
primped to perfection. The ant-like bloggers in the photo, give you an idea of its scale

My response is "Loads!" -  there is so much which can be learned from an intensive immersion in a different country simply by going, observing and talking to like minded people and experts. It helps that the hard-working Portland Fling committee provided us with a smorgasbord of the very best the city has to offer.

With my public planting hat on, it was interesting to see how the lush
wrap-around planting at McMenamins Kennedy School helped to soften
the building and give it new life as a lodging, dining and meeting space

I won't be reviewing every garden and nursery visited, but instead I'll draw out the main lessons I've learned over the coming weeks using examples drawn from all of them. It will form my very own mini design course which I hope will be of interest to you too.

English garden visits may be fueled by tea and cake, but in Portland
freshly baked cookies, iced water or juice and local wines are just the job!
All our hosts were most generous with their time and hospitality, thank you.

Not everything deserves a post to itself, so today contains a few snippets by way of a warm up. Where I've linked to a garden (apart from the rose test garden), this will take you that garden's entry on the Garden Bloggers Fling blog, where the Portland committee have introduced each garden and nursery, then provided a Linky for all the Fling attendees to link to their thoughts and observations.

There's also a miscellaneous, "kitchen sink" section, for blog posts like this one :)

16 comments:

  1. You're miles ahead of me, VP. But I agree. Sometimes removing yourself from the familiar helps you see the bigger patterns. Looking forward to reading your takeaways. Glad to see you again at the Fling, even if it was only a superficial "Hi-Bye!"

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    1. Lovely to see you again Helen, but I agree our time together was far too brief. I hope to see you again next year in Toronto, where I fear you will be too busy for even a "Hi-Bye" ;)

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  2. So true. We had such wonderful hosts! The gardens and hospitality exceeded my expectations. One of my takeaways from the fling is that I'd really like to increase the plant pallette in my own garden. I'll never be able to grow hostas or hydrangeas, but I did see some plants that have relatives that might grow in my garden. It's time to broaden my horizons.

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    1. Same here Ally, I want to make more use of foliage and there were plenty of ideas in Portland :-)

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  3. Nice appetiser! Looking forward to reading your thoughts about the fling, and your mini design course :)

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    1. It's more notes for me to use lster, but I hope they'll be useful

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  4. It is fun to see other's perspectives on the Fling. There was SO much to take in, all packed in a short period of time. Certainly was a wonderful trip.

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    1. It was a great trip - I'm pleased we managed a chat on the way bsck from Bella Madrona :-)

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  5. What a trip Michelle-a dream come true. I agree with your comments about letting thoughts & feelings settle after a long haul trip-so often tiredness & jet lag can distort our experience.I look forward to hearing more about your trip to Portland. Best-Helen Reeley

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    1. See you soon Helen and I'll enthuse at you :-)

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  6. There was so much to see; I felt as if I was on sensory overload after this trip. I agree, it's good to let things settle down and have time to digest this whole experience. I'm glad you got a photo of Jerry (?)--what gracious hosts they were, and the cookies were delicious!

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    1. Great to meet you at last Rose. Yes it was Jerry - I'm going to have a go at making those cookies, they were fab!

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  7. It was so fabulous to meet you! It was wonderful to hear British gardeners talk about what they loved in our gardens. Looking forward to your other posts. :o)

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    1. It was great to meet you too - I especially enjoyed our chat on the bus :-)

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  8. So glad you enjoyed the Fling...wish I could have been there.

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    1. I think you've been on previous Flings Donna? Hopefully we'll get to meet at a future one :-)

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