Saturday, June 30, 2012

Beyond Our Blogs

On May 1-2, I attended the P. Allen Smith Garden2Blog event in Little Rock, Arkansas with 23 other garden bloggers from around the country. Over a non-stop 48 hours, we visited gardens, talked about new garden products with PAS sponsors and partners, and networked with each other.

When I started From the Soil, I had no idea the impact it would have on my life. In the past three years, this blog has given me the opportunity to tour beautiful gardens and learn about the latest and greatest in the garden industry. But travel, products and plants aside, what stands out the most to me is the people I've met along the way.

When I got back home from Garden2Blog, I realized something unusual about the hundreds of photos on my camera. Most of them were of people, not plants. The true beauty of an event like Garden2Blog is that it brings us together as gardeners, colleagues, and friends. When we talk, learn and, yes, laugh together, that's when relationships grow. I don't truly know P. Allen Smith's motivation behind Garden2Blog, but I suspect the relationships we cultivate with each other are a large part of the equation.



Here are some of the photos from the trip, of old friends and new, that I treasure.

Kylee Baumle (of Our Little Acre), on the bus to Marlsgate Plantation. Kylee was one of my first "blogger friends" and I consider her among my closest and most trusted friends.

Michael Nolan, the Garden Rockstar, talks with Allen in the Gaines St. vegetable garden. I'd grown to be good friends with Michael online, but will forever be indebted to Allen for giving us this opportunity to meet in person.

Dee Nash (of Red Dirt Ramblings) and Barbara Wise (of BWise Gardening) showing off the tools of the trade. This, too, was my first time meeting these talented women -- both class acts to the core.

Another photo of Michael, who has a natural love for and ability to communicate with animals. It's as if the other humans around him disappear when an animal is near.

I've known Steve Bender (Southern Living's Grumpy Gardener) since our trip to Costa Farms in 2011, but each day I consider myself lucky to have him as a friend. He's a truly kind and giving man behind all the grump, even if he can't take the Arkansas heat.

Helen Yoest (of Gardening with Confidence) is another of my old blogger friends, a true gardening soulmate. Here, Helen relaxes in the tub on Allen's sleeping porch at his home at Moss Mountain Farm.

My trip to Arkansas ended with satisfaction, yet melancholy as Michael, Shawna Coronado, Carolyn Binder (of Cowlick Cottage Farm) and I sat in the Little Rock Airport awaiting our flights. This photo is one of my favorite of all time -- capturing that we are more than just a group of bloggers gathered for an industry event.

We are family, beyond our blogs.

In full disclosure, Hortus, Inc. covered travel and lodging costs as well as provided food during the event. While the bloggers in attendance are sure to share the experience with their readers, there was no expectation or requirement that we do so.

10 comments:

  1. I admit it. I got a little teary-eyed over this post. I also have far more people photos than garden photos. And I have even more great memories and lasting friendships. Sending love to all from Cowlick Cottage Farm! Thanks, Christopher!

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  2. Love. Love. Love. I am crying and glad we are friends. Thanks for this post. :-)

    Shawna

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  3. Oh Christopher, you are too kind. You are also a class act. I'm so glad I got to attend Garden2Blog and meet so many bloggers whose work I'd only read online. Now, when I read your writing and theirs, I smile and think of the people behind the blog. We had a wonderful time there in spite of the unbearable heat. Hope to see you at another event soon.

    Great photos of everyone by the way.~~Dee

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  4. Backatcha, Christopher....love the shot of Shawna and Carolyn. We have had some very fun times together--Costa Farms, Garden2Blog, and we will always have the Lurie ;~/-- Blogging brought us together...but our friendship will keep us friends years beyond blogging. H.

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  5. P.S. not exactly sure what it means that you posted photos of Steve and I sleeping. lol H.

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  6. Helen, you are relaxing. Steve was sleeping. There's a difference. ;)

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  7. I can't add anything really that hasn't already been said. People are truly what makes my world so fun to live in and you guys are the best. We've had some amazing experiences and I hope there are many more. This is just one more wonderful thing that gardening has done for me that you can't put a price on. Beautiful post, celebrating people and friendship. Thank you, Chris.

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  8. I couldn't agree more. Who knew blogging would lead to so many amazing, memorable experiences with some truly amazing, wonderful people. Thank you Chris, for saying it so well, and for the great photos. Wish I'd taken more people pics, but I sure am enjoying the ones other participants like you are posting.

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  9. Christopher, this was a fabulous tribute to what all of what we do should be about - building relationship and growing together. So enjoyed getting to know you in real time and thank you for your kind words. Hope to see you in Chicago soon - see if you can order in some cooler weather!

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