Garden Bloggers Fling: where do I begin?


Do you ever have times when there is so much to say, you don’t know where to begin?

The native azalea I coveted. Can't grow it here because our soil is so alkaline.

After visiting Asheville and the Garden Bloggers Fling, I am without words. I could expound upon the food . . . . Okay, for a moment, I will. The gluten and dairy free food in Asheville rivals any I’ve eaten anywhere. Bill and I haunted the Green Sage Coffeehouse and Cafe every morning when we broke our fast, and we had a wonderful dinner at Posana Cafe (which was completely gluten free), but that’s not all. I also had beautiful, healthy food at every fling event. My friends took such good care of me and the other flingers who had food and other issues. They were gracious and kind, and kindness means so much when you have a food allergy or intolerance. A special thank you to Christopher, Annie, Frances and the wonderful Ashley and Greg at The Hop. You haven’t heard of the The Hop? Well, it’s the best ice cream ever, and they always have a vegan selection too. They brought ice cream in the most faboo flavors to fling events. Then, Bill and I ate ice cream in almond or coconut milk every day we were in Asheville. My flavor fave was Ginger Molasses done in almond milk (I think.) It tasted just like a creamy ginger snap. I think I gained five pounds, but it was worth every bite. I’m sorry, I forgot to take a pictures before I ate it.

Christopher's house which was so well planned. I was impressed at how much he managed to put in such a small space.

Then, there were the gardens. I’m of an age and experience that I am so over the Biltmore Spell, but Asheville was full of the quirky, fun and fantastic. I saw so many gardens and enjoyed them so much I don’t know where to begin. Let’s start with Christopher’s mountain. I’ve followed Christopher’s journey with his parents and the building of his cabin on the mountain. Even if there were no gardens, and there were, I would have simply loved being there. It was a perfect late spring day. Nice and cool in the morning and warm in the afternoon. We started with a lovely lunch on the spot where Christopher is going to build his next project. Then, Bill and I walked through the woods to Bulbarella’s shaded retreat. We strolled through all the gardens, and I so wanted to take a native azalea home. Sadly, my soil is way too alkaline, and I’m over trying to make plants grow here that would rather not.

Heirloom iris growing in Christopher's mother's garden

Then, we had an awesome sit-down with the folks who create the Southern Living and Sunset plant collections, along with Bailey Nurseries. They didn’t sell to us, but wanted to know what we wanted in plants. They were genuinely interested in what worked and what didn’t. What a refreshing change.

What a view!

Soon, it was time to head back down the mountain and into the city where we got to go out and eat again. Life is good in Asheville. I recommend you take a trip there.



  1. skeeter says:

    The Gardens we viewed during this Fling were so wonderful. We left with ideas to plan another trip to see more! The mountains give one such a refreshing boost and not that far from us. The foods were wonderful as were the Fliggers we met… The Hop Ice Cream, well, pure heaven in a bowl….

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Yes, they were. So wonderful. Lovely to see you.

  2. Julie says:

    Dee, my head is still spinning with all of the wonderful sites from the Fling. It was such a pleasure to meet you. I adored Christopher’s home–wildflowers! Mountains! Bulbarella’s spectacular views! So much to write, so little time! How I wish I had some salted caramel Hop ice cream right now…I’m certain it would provide the inspiration I need. Cheers to a fabulous Fling!

    1. Dee Nash says:

      Hey Lucy, thanks for stopping by!

  3. Victoria says:

    I really wish I could have come – it sounds like a great trip. Strangely enough, I just bought my first azalea ever this spring. We have the same issues here in London with alkali soil, but I’ve planted it in a huge pot, with ericaceous compost. It’s Rhododenron Daviesii, quite a compact variety – about 5ft after 10 years – and with the most fabulous scent. Just trying to tempt ya, Dee!

  4. It was a fantastic trip Dee. I haven’t been able to formulate a post. There was such a variety of gardens. My head is still spinning with ideas for my garden from all I saw. So good to see you and meet Bill.

  5. Jean says:

    I just loved Christopher’s cozy cabin. What impressed me the most was the fact that he and his mom manage to create little pockets of gardening wonder in areas where I would have been intimidated by the encroaching forest. Truly intimidated. Loved seeing you again Dee. Glad you got such good and easy eats too.

  6. Rose says:

    It certainly is hard to know where to start to describe Asheville’s Fling. When I got home, I wished I had taken some photos of the food, too; it was the best food I’ve ever had on any organized group outing like this! Glad to hear you are “so over” the Biltmore. I loved touring the house and learning about the history of it, something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. But the most impressive gardens were the others we saw; my hat is off to the planners, too, for creating such a unique experience. So nice to see you again!

  7. Layanee says:

    Almost like being there…NOT but this helps. Love the photo of the cozy cottage and I always imagine looking up at it,not down as in your picture. So glad you had time to reconnect with old friends and make some new ones.

  8. Robin Ripley says:

    The Asheville planners were fabulous. The whole event was a good time from the very first minute. I loved seeing everyone–for the fifth year in a row!

  9. I was sad I had to miss it but now I am really sad after the review of the food…I will have to remember to find you at the future flings to help me find the gluten free food spots…wow…

  10. Frances says:

    Beautifully expressed, dear Dee, about the wonders and joys of Asheville. Knowing about folks with food allergies certainly helps the planners take good care of you. The Hop does indeed have the best ice cream in the world!

  11. So nice to meet you Dee, and yes, Asheville is quirky….to say the least!! So very glad I got a chance to go and meet all the garden bloggers I have been chatting with for so long….and to meet new folks. Pictures of our ice cream??? It was gone too quickly!! Each flavor was a treat to behold.
    Next time I am in OKC I will give you a holler.

  12. Carol says:

    We all took away such wonderful memories of Asheville, didn’t we? I loved seeing everyone and only wish it could have lasted longer. Good times! I agree, The Hop has the best ice cream in the world. I love the Chocolate-Orange ice cream.

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