Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Seattle Garden Bloggers' Fling: Ravenna Gardens

What's a Garden Blogger's Fling? It's when over 70 garden bloggers from across the US, Canada and the UK come together to meet each other face-to-face, to network, nosh, and tour, photograph and write about oodles of gardens, private and public, over a long weekend in a special city. This year's Fling was in Seattle, WA and was coordinated by Lorene Edwards Forkner, Debra Prinzing, Marty Wingate and Mary Ann Newcomer, and I was privileged to attend.

At the end of the first day of the Seattle Fling, after seeing the Birrell garden, the Tucker garden, Dunn Gardens AND the Soest Display Garden at the Center for Urban Horticulture (CUH) at the University of Washington Botanic Gardens, what's a garden blogger to do? Collapse on one's hotel bed with a cool washcloth over her forehead after closing the room-darkening shades? No, ma'am, instead she saunters over to Ravenna Gardens for a chillin' event called "Wine, Cheese, Shopping & SWAG." Yes, indeedy, you may count me in on that!

Ravenna Gardens is located in University Village, an outdoor shopping mecca directly next door to the official Fling hotel, the Silver Cloud Inn. Thanks to our hostesses with the mostest, there was wine, and there was cheese, there was swag (more about that later), and there was shopping--oh, the shopping.
Ravenna Gardens

Ravenna Gardens is an outdoor lifestyle and garden shop offering plants, furniture, linens, lighting, pottery, cards, books, and numerous garden- and nature-related knick-knacks and doo-dads, all so colorfully and artfully arranged, it makes you want to scoop it all up and take it home. Seriously.
Plants galore

For example, this picnic bench and its sunny yellow accessories would look perfect on my patio.
Sunny yellows

Or how about a sweet bamboo chair and a little wooden table adorned with French-influenced accessories for the boudoir? Tres jolie!
Le Jardin

Or this adorable rustic potting bench? Of course, it just wouldn't look the same without allllll the accessories.
Remarkable Trees of the World

Gasp! Terrariums! Oh, so cute!

Turquoise and yellow-green together? Swoon!
Yellow, turquoise and green

This patio set and its accessories looks like a frosty dish of rainbow sherbet, yum.
Patio set

I almost -- almost -- bought the little pink pottery birds on this display, before deciding they wouldn't look quite right without the purple accessories. Willpower!
Revolutionary Yardscape display

The cute and precious displays were nearly too much to bear.
Market umbrella

There was an entire display of Tillandsia and glass holders (to the right in this photo), and on the other end of the store, an enormous display of tiny succulents.
Air plant display

Ravenna Gardens has quite the knack for retail display. Even standard terracotta pots look all purty and special on display here.
Sunny terracotta pots

Surrounding the store were gobs of sheds, benches, trees, patio sets, shrubs, vines,
Outdoor furniture

and dahlias the size of dinner plates.
Dahlias the size of dinner plates

If I'd had $2800 just laying around, I would have had this garden chair shipped to Austin with the flick of an Amex. Maybe Jack could build me one.
A most adorable garden chair

And what was in the swag bag? Two pairs of garden gloves (one from Fields & Lane, one from Mud Glove), a HUGE box of seeds (all new varieties!) from Botanical Interests, a water bottle from Bailey Nurseries, a set of Colorblends playing cards and a catalog, a tiny sedum in a dollhouse-sized terracotta pot from, and two live plants from Skagit Gardens: Centaurea montana 'Black Sprite' and Coreopsis Big Bang 'Star Cluster' (whose little buds tried to open in my hotel room)--oh, dear, what else? I'm sure I've left something out! I entrusted the live plants to a fellow Texan traveling home via RV, and stuffed the rest into my groaning overstuffed suitcase before heading out to dinner with 20 or so garden bloggers at 50 North. What a wonderful end to a wonderful day.

Next up, day 2 of the Seattle Fling, wherein yours truly visits the private Epping and Lane gardens, the Bellevue Botanical Garden, and...was it the Olympic Sculpture Garden, or a side trip? More soon!

Words and photos © 2009-2011 Caroline Homer for "The Shovel-Ready Garden". Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.


  1. Caroline, I think you win the prize for having the most posts about the Fling up! I loved Ravenna and I did help myself to one of those little ceramic birds. Turns out it looks just right next to my little gardenia in a lime green pot, no purple needed! Now to peruse the rest of your Seattle posts.

  2. I loved Ravenna and can't wait to post about it, although you captured beautifully many of the same pics I got. I hope Jack builds you a little sitting house like the one you resisted!