Comparisons and Thank You's

It's inevitable. We all do it.

We go someplace else, maybe a different climate, a different hardiness zone. We look around and it is green and lush and the sky is blue and they've had some rain. We begin to wonder to ourselves. Could it actually be better to garden someplace else other than where we garden?

Welcome to Seattle, destination for the fourth garden bloggers fling!

Let the comparisons begin...

The hostas in Seattle look like this:
Hostas in the Epping Garden, Seattle

And my hostas at home, burned from the hot sun and lack of rain, look like this:
"Nice hosta seeks gardener who will water more."
The ferns on Bainbridge Island look like this:
Ferns in The Bloedel Reserve, Bainbridge Island
My ferns look like this:

(Picture left out intentionally because the ferns look worse than the hostas.)

My sweet peas are fading fast and only reached about 18 inches tall at their peak.  The sweet peas all over Seattle, including these in the garden of Lorene Edwards Forkner look like this.

How do they get so big and stay so fresh so late into July?

I think the formula is cool weather and frequent rain.

It's paradise, we think, during our four days in Seattle. We laugh. We forget that back home it is hot and dry. We hope someone is watering our gardens for us. We ooh and ahh over all the green gardens of Seattle and wish we could garden there, or have a climate like Seattle's in our garden.

But then we find out there are plants that they can't grow, or grow easily. Shocking, but it's true! 

Squash, for example, gives them fits. My spaghetti squash is taking over in one corner of the garden, even without rain every day or every other day.

Spaghetti squash vine takes over the garden
They have to tuck their squash in with glass bottles filled with water to collect the heat all day so they can keep the little squash vines warm at night.
Squash at the South Seattle Community College
And I bet no one in Seattle picked okra or eggplant or cucumbers this evening!  I did. (Shush about the okra. Okra is good to eat, if you fix it right like my Grandma did.)

I had a fabulous time in Seattle and would like to thank Lorene Edwards Forkner, Marty Wingate, Debra Prinzing, and Mary Ann Newcomer for planning and organizing the entire four days.  They packed in visits to private gardens, public gardens, educational gardens, and retail gardens and never made us feel rushed.  They were fabulous hostesses.  Thank you also to David Perry for joining us at The Bloedel Reserve and sharing his love of photography with us.

Thank you to everyone who attended. Were there seventy of us? Or more? Everyone was gracious, in good humor and ready to talk about gardens at the mere mention of the word "plant".

Many thanks also to the garden owners and others who welcomed us into their gardens and to the sponsors listed on the sidebar of the official Seattle Fling website.

The bluest skies you'll ever see, they say...
Blue Skies above St. James Cathedral, Seattle

Or sing about...


  1. You can't help but to compare. I have often wondered what it would be like to garden in spring-like conditions all the time. I would love to send them some of our heat right now.

  2. So many pictures, Carol. I am impressed and appreciative that on Monday Seattle showed its true colors....gray. If that had not happened, my bags would be permanently packed.

  3. Yes, it would be hard not to be a little envious after seeing all these lush plantings. I've never been to Seattle, sadly especially this year, but Portland, Oregon has a similar climate, and since Daughter has been living there, I have a far different view of the weather in the Pacific Northwest. I thought it was always rainy, but as my daughter says, it's not like the kind of gully-washing, thunder-crashing rain we have here. And I can remember walking about Portland last February in near-spring conditions while the Midwest was frozen in the ice-storm. If I didn't have such strong roots here, I'd pack up in a heartbeat!

    Glad you had such a great time; I'm looking forward to seeing all the posts on Seattle soon.

  4. Love the comparison photos - haha I love okra- you kidding? What would gumbo be without it and I love fried okra!!! (perfect with bbq sauce and garlic salt). yummm. Yes, I do agree- the formula is the cool weather and frequent rain, both of which are lacking in Austin right now... I try to remember that Seattle is perfect right now, but in the winter, not so much. (My friend lives there and I am always telling her I am jealous of her in the summers, though she notes she doesn't hear a lot of that in the fall/winter from me).

  5. Comparisons can be tough on a gardener...glad you had a nice visit.

  6. Well, so glad to hear that someone else has burned up ferns they aren't going to post. Mine are abysmal right now!

    Wonderful you had such a nice time in Seattle. Sounds like a lovely break from the heat!

  7. I'll admit, the word "paradise" was on my mind while I was there. I had expected to come home to scenes like your Hostas & ferns, but amazingly, it's become deluge time again at home. But what I most envy about Seattle is no mosquitos.

  8. Your comparisons are great! I didn't lose any plants during our fabulous fling, but it does look crispy here, too. Love your squash photo - I didn't realize the struggle with them there. The grass does always seem greener...but I know right now it really is greener in Seattle, even if the gardening is still wonderful here at home.

  9. Thanks for all the great insights and photos, Carol. I've often called the Pacific Northwest heaven for gardeners. But you're right about the heat-loving veggies.

  10. So glad you had a great time. And I bet your garden fairies could fly circles around Seattle garden fairies any day -- no, wait, gardening is not about competition. I could never look at enough photos of Bloedel reserve.

  11. Variety is the spice of life, no? Heat fosters eggplants and tomatoes (insert ugly jealousy *here*)or it can toast the garden - and the gardener. Obviously, this summer, we Northwesterners must content ourselves with lush hostas and sweet peas... along with kale and sugar snaps~ s*gh.

    It was absolutely lovely to meet you and FLING together!

  12. Oh that's hilarious! I was feeling pretty much the same way a couple of weeks ago that prompted my "Filters..." post. It's so easy to feel we have to "keep up" with a perceived mentality of perfection on our blogs. We just need to remember it's only "perceived..."

  13. I think Bloedel is the best "garden" I've ever visited; certainly the most memorable. Everything is fried here as well, but the upside is no mosquitoes because no rain

  14. I was in Seattle for my grand daughters 7th birthday and was staying at the Silver Cloud while all you garden bloggers were there last month. I talked with a few at breakfast. Just found this blog site. I am an avid gardener in Nampa Idaho. After living in Salem Oregon for 35 years and moving here 7 years ago I have had to make a lot of changes due to climate and soil differences. Love your blog.


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