Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Fling Experience - Toronto Style

I have been asked many times about the Garden Blogger Flings that I attend. In a nutshell a Fling is where the hosting Garden Bloggers find wonderful gardens, public and private, to show off their city/region. It involves a lot of work, coordinating times, schedules, buses, locations, food, and 80+ Garden Bloggers. 
Those of us who attend these Flings take away so much more than garden design, plants, and landscaping. Imagine an annual pilgrimage to get reacquainted with many of your fellow gardeners. Friendships are formed, nurtured, and bloom. (like the gardening metaphor?)
First we check into a grand intown hotel. This year's hotel was quite grand indeed. We stayed at the Fairmont Royal York. A brief history of the hotel can be found here.

My fellow traveling companions were game to explore the city upon arrival. 

Julie, Marian, Helen, Karin, and Julie
It is nice to get a lay of the land before we start our whirlwind of activities. Toronto a city on Lake Ontario, is the provincial capital of Ontario.

From just about everywhere the CN tower is in view.

Since the Toronto Music Garden wasn't on our list of many gardens we checked it out. Certainly worth a look if you visit Toronto.

Once the Fling was underway it was time to catch up with fellow bloggers from near and far.  The camaraderie is wonderful. Each year I look forward more and more to seeing my friends from Texas, and England and Wisconsin and Minnesota and Ohio and California and and and..... you get the idea. It is a giant talkfest.

We document our gathering with regional blogger photos. Seeing a city through the eyes of someone who lives there is special....but so is getting to know fellow bloggers. Toronto has great vistas...many include the CN tower.

Julie, Lisa, me, Marian, Karin and Julie
 Traveling with so many gardeners lends itself to many garden views, each gardener sees something different. When we get home and share posts and photos of the Fling there will be something in a photo that one of us has missed. Eighty gardeners can see a garden and come out with 80 different views. A few will take photos of this dragon.

Dragon sculpture on Wards Island
 Some views will be shared multiple times...who could resist this kind of photo opportunity?

View from Algonquin Island
 Meal gatherings tend to grow as another blogger joins the group and then another. By the time this meal was done our table looked like a Hungry Hungry Caterpillar table...adding more and more round tables together. Luckily our waiter was nonplused by our ever growing group.

Photo angles can be all important, one learns from the best on how to achieve that best shot.

Janet and Barbara
 There were questions from passersby on the street as to who this group might be. What? Doesn't your neighborhood have dozens and dozens of folks with cameras taking pictures? Many people wanted to know about blogging, asked for information about our blogs so they could read about what we have seen in their city.  This dog didn't ask.

We saw more than gardens. Those who like architecture would have loved seeing Cabbagetown, a section of Toronto that was once home to many Irish immigrants. It is known as the largest continuous area of Victorian homes in North America. 

There was a nice dose of history in our tour of Toronto. The Evergreen Brick works is a reclaimed brick factory and quarry. The wall art depicts the waterways through Toronto that feed into Lake Ontario. The quarry was site to archeological findings of a second Ice Age. 

Brick Press

Remaining ductwork in the furnaces

Seeing so many aspects of this city was really amazing. Big thanks to our planners, Helen Battersby, Sarah Battersby, Lorraine Flanigan and Veronica Sliva. We made new friends, saw incredible gardens, learned a bit about Toronto, rode the ferry, and chatted with all sorts of Torontonians.
Dog parking station at Evergreen Brick Works
 Did I mention the fun bloggers? Each Fling is a unique blend of garden bloggers. Wish we had time to get to know each and every one of these fun gardeners. Once home I realized there were some folks I didn't get a chance to spend time with. Guess I will have to find them next year in Minneapolis.

Maya and Beth
 Flings have been like a big family reunion, a family of friends, a family of gardeners. These are the people you feel comfortable with, you can laugh and be silly with, THESE are the people you take selfies pink sunglasses.

Judy, me, Tammy, Karin, Brandon, and Julie

 Flings are times you get to check off a bucket list item - Niagara Falls

And did I mention all those wonderful fellow bloggers? Miss you all and looking forward to next year!

©Copyright 2015 Janet. All rights reserved. Content created by Janet for The Queen of Seaford. words and photos by Janet,The Queen of Seaford.