My 3rd Garden Bloggers Fling

Large succulent planter at Brookside Gardens
Large succulent planter at Brookside Gardens

And why I fell in love with succulents

I enjoyed participating in my 3rd Garden Bloggers Fling 2017. I just wanted to give you a little taste. Here is a quick recap!  In 3 days over 80 people visited one community farm, seventeen  Public Gardens, including the twelve Smithsonian gardens along the National Mall. In 2 groups of small mini buses we also visited ten private gardens, one Garden Center, Merrifield’s Garden Center in Gainesville VA (where they gave us an amazing welcome)

Merrifields Garden Centre- Garden Blogger Fling

And lastly, enjoyed a lovely lunch on our last day at a relatively new winery in the Virginian Countryside called Stone Tower Winery, thanks to Jim Petersen and Garden Design Magazine.  Are you tired yet?

I have to confess that as amazing as all the gardens were one of my lasting impressions throughout the trip were the containers. Those that know me well and many of my clients will know that I am not particularly fond of annuals. I feel strongly that they should only be planted in pots and not really planted in the garden. Personally, I am always testing out other things to put into containers other than annuals and always looking to try new things. So I have to show you some of the containers in Fling Organizer, Tammy Schmidt’s garden.  ( Yes she and her team organized the Garden Fling 2017 and she invited us into her garden). I loved how she used the containers to create a garden of its own beside her steps and landing area as you enter her back door. I truly love how unique and eclectic her collection is.

Garden Blogger Fling  Garden Blogger Fling

And as one of only 5 Canadians on the Garden Blogger Fling, I like seeing if I can spot a trend that will eventually make its way North to us after it has caught on in the US. All signs point to this being the new big trend. Succulents have been the rage in the terrariums, walls and even in home decorating but I was amazed at the containers filled with succulents that were found among the gardens throughout the trip.

These beauties were on display at Dumbarton Oaks, a public garden nestled in the residential area of Georgetown.   A public Garden that I was able to visit with a few others when we arrived a day early.


Succulent container at Dumbarton Oaks


Succulent container at Dumbarton Oaks

Succulent container at Dumbarton Oaks


After noticing these gems, I was hooked. Several lovely containers were found throughout the private garden of landscape designer Barbara Katz. Here a few of my favorites from her yard:

Large succulent containers

Large succulent containers

This creatively designed container is artwork beautifully situated at Barbara’s back door!

Unique and artistic planter found on Garden Blogger Fling

This simple pot of echeverias sits front and center on Barbara’s porch:


Echeverias in a pot

I also noticed how landscape designer Debbie Friedman used these arrangements to enhance the outdoor living space in her garden.  This centerpiece on her outdoor dining table uses airplants! Haven’t we all wondered what to do with those?

Airplants in table arrangement

This cutie sat perched on a stone slab made into a makeshift coffee table on her deck. These small creative touches by Debbie were reflected in the many other grander creative touches found throughout her gardens… but more about those in another post.


This subtle little guy was found on the fence post in the front of garden designer Jeff Minnich’s home.

Decorative pot on fence post


In contrast here in a big bold planter tucked away at Hillwood Estate Gardens:

Bold colour in this succulent planter


And lastly, these stone containers get honourable mention for the overall look they create with the facade of the porch that the previous homeowner created at Landscape Designer, Scott Brinitzers home.

Pebblestone facade on pots and porch

Even in this regions 7b planting zone these plants cannot overwinter outside but they look a lot easier to bring inside and enjoy than the hibiscus and other large flowering plants that us zone 5 gardeners have been using in our outdoor landscapes. I have already planted up a couple for my garden…. thanks Garden Blogger Fling for the inspiration!

2 Responses to My 3rd Garden Bloggers Fling


    Great examples of beautiful containers! Are succulents not popular in your area, Joanne? They are perfect for containers in hot climates like mine in Texas, in shade or part shade. And even if you treat them like annuals and just replace them each spring, it’s still a better deal than other annuals because they have such long-lasting interest. As you can tell, I’m a big fan!

      Joanne Shaw

      Thanks, Pam! They are not as common here. Most local homeowners and gardeners still seem attached to their flowering annuals like Geraniums, petunias, begonias etc. The trend is coming though so I am excited!

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