Great ideas from the Denver Fling

In Denver I was asked why I come to the Garden Bloggers' Fling, especially as UK gardening is held in great esteem in the USA. Well, there's always the pull of seeing good friends and interesting places, plus I still have lots to learn and my visit was inspirational. Sometimes you have to get away from your own place to see things more clearly. Here are some of my key points from this year - many thanks to the organisers of this year's Fling and to all of the gardeners and organisations who made us so welcome.

Make an entrance...

Impressive doorway pots and front garden planting

This view has provided much food for thought since I've got back. I've seen large matching pots in doorways at many a Fling before, but these were exceptional. I have pots at my door too, but they don't match and they don't bring the front garden's planting nearer the front door. It's something to bear in mind as I plan my new front garden.

Loosely clipped box and a statement pot

Here's a view which changed my plans for my front garden revamp. I'm planning a knot garden, but I prefer these looser, more organic shapes to the more formal lines I had in my head. A statement pot or two won't go amiss either.

Art in the front garden

There's also an opportunity to include some garden art. If it sneakily incorporates your house number, even better!

Gates and doorways are important too...

Garden gate with cactus detail

I need to do something about the gate to the back garden. It doesn't have to be boring and it can set the tone for the rest of the space. This gardener wasn't afraid of the use of colour and there were lots of playful touches in the rest of the garden.

Ornamental doorway with a tempting glimpse of the garden beyond

And having dealt with my boring gate, I need to think about what lies beyond it. At the moment the walk through to the back garden isn't as inviting as this one.

Don't be afraid of garden art...

A bold garden sculpture and terracotta walls

I come back with this mantra every time I go to the Fling. I have taken some steps to remedy the matter, but I have yet to be bold with a statement piece, or with the use of a background colour to pull the garden together.

A rusted garden 'friend'

I am faring better with the smaller touches, some of which were purchased on previous Flings. I've also signed up for a stained glass course next year where I'll make a larger piece for the garden. There's more on these to come in future posts.

Fences don't have to be boring...

Stencilled art gave this relatively boring fence a wow factor

I've seen plenty of fences with lots of pots, mirrors, art etc attached to make them interesting. But stencilled art... why didn't I think of that before? And with a bug hotel, that's even better.

Bring a little bit of Denver style home...

Just one of the crevice gardens we saw

The use of rock was everywhere in Denver and the surrounding cities we visited. Not surprising when our constant companion were the views over to the Rocky Mountains and gardeners were tackling the constraints of their soil and a mere 15 inches of rain per year. As a result rock and crevice (aka steppe) gardens were the norm, something quite alien to my limestone clay conditions.

However, I plan to build my own little bit of Colorado in a large pot and thanks to the Fling I have a list of scrummy, hard-to-find-in-the-UK alpines I'd like to grow in there.

These are just a few of the plans I have buzzing in my head post-Fling. There's more to come on some of the individual visits... in the meantime, head on over to the Garden Bloggers Fling blog to find out what else struck the rest of my Fling friends this year.


  1. I may join you in answering this question...Let me check out my photos. Loved yours! Always love seeing you.xoxo

    1. Love seeing you too Gail - it's always far too short! xxx

  2. Yes, this! Every garden visit yields inspiration, whether it's in a climate alien to one's own or not. So glad you Fling with us from across the pond, Michelle!

    1. Exactly, Pam. You know, I learned so much from Austin last year too, but illness cut short the blog posts I'd planned. The arrival of my Hesperaloe is imminent though!

  3. You picked some great photos from the batch for this post. Inspirational indeed.

  4. I really liked this post. Visiting gardens is always fun but when you take design ideas home with you, it makes the fun even better. I wish I could have been in Denver -- all I read makes it clear that this Fling was a really good one.

    1. Thanks Pat. It was indeed a special Fling - everyone's reaction to the mountains played as much a part as the gardens themselves. as well as how we managed to cope with the altitude.

  5. Oh some brilliant ideas VP. I've fallen for the stone with the house number on it.

    1. Such a simple idea, but very special, Anna :)

  6. A crevice garden in a large pot is a wonderful idea - have fun creating a rocky outcrop landscape, then to display treasured plants.

    1. I'm definitely going to do it - I've realised I need to up my game pot-wise. Some of them are positively dull!

  7. That stenciling on the fence is a great idea.

    1. It's fab and relatively easy to do :)


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