Summer Idylls

 The winter photo-file project continues here. The virtual recycle bin is filled, emptied and filled again , freeing disc space for upcoming summer travels. Cleaning picture files is a lot like cleaning the guest room closet ; you make headway for a while and then you find a box , open it and end up sitting on the floor surrounded by your past.  The project slows and suspends itself - the worker has become distracted. Similar diversions impede progress with the digital images.
 The photos on my external hard drive tell many stories, and for a gardener in January reliving summertime horticultural adventures keeps the gloom and cold at bay. One of my favorites is the story of Idyllunion.
 Once upon a time out in cyber space a group of gardeners were pulled into the orbit of GardenWeb, an online forum that goes back to early days of the internet, and soldiers on to this day. A conversational offshoot of the perennials discussion group evolved as the members became virtual friends , and these friends shared experiences that were often not garden related..but ulitimately it was  gardens and plants that bound the group together. In March of 2003 , one of the members casually started a new thread called "Idle Chatter". This simple act , performed years before I had ever read or participated in the forum, has enriched my life significantly. There were 101 posts in the thread, and our intrepid poster started another thread entitled 'Idle Chatter II '.Another hundred posts ensued, and another participant put up thread 3, "Idle Chatter III (Idyll?)" and  with this  the Idylls were born.
 New England was heavily represented , and in-person meetings began to be discussed, along with speculations about hatchet murderers and scam artists. Brave souls in Maine, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Hampshire reached out, and the bonds began to form.In the summer of 2004, the 1st Idyllunion took place in Michigan. There were three more annual IU's before I jumped on board in 2008 . As I was not present for numbers 1 through 4, I hereby present a few shots from Idyllunion 5. These photos are truly dreadful; it's a humbling experience to see what a piss-poor photographer I was in 2008.

 This is Stonecrop Gardens in Cold Spring New York, our first garden visit of our long weekend   along the Hudson. In spite of this somewhat uninspiring image, this garden is well worth a visit if you find yourself nearby.

 The Climbery is a private garden that features one of the most extensive Clematis plantings I can recall seeing, and frankly I have no clue where we were. I was so excited to meet my Idyll friends for the first time I was pretty oblivious to the geography.

 The next day we headed to the big city from our base hotel in Tarrytown, and visited Wave Hill, which I have to say was my personal favorite from the trip .

 The second half of the day was spent at the New York Botanical Garden. As you would expect, it was extensive and beautifully done.

Our last day coincided with the Garden Conservancy Open Days in Westchester  County.  This, our last garden had some connection with the Garden Conservancy , but my memory fails me ...this was the potager, a very small portion of what was an extensive garden. Hoping one of my Idyll friends can fill in the blanks for me.

 Since this trip, we have been to Maine, Northern California, Buffalo, and the Pacific Northwest. The attendees have ebbed and flowed, but if I'm not mistaken, Sue over at Idyll Haven, has not missed one. This summer will be Idyllunion 10.  

 Stay tuned for chapter 6.....


  1. Thanks for the history and photos...what a wonderful story. Will you have an IU this summer PLUS the Garden Bloggers Fling in SF, or combine the two?

    1. Yes Loree, my June is going to be very garden tour centric ! Fly home from IU (New York) just a few days before reporting to San Francisco for Fling .

  2. Some lovely pics and gardens there! Thanks for taking us along, looking forward to the next chapter!

    1. It's been fun to go through all the years of photos..wish I had some from the first 4 years .

  3. Bravo Kathy! How can the years be flowing by so quickly? Love the post and the memories

    1. I went back and found some of the threads on the Idylls (some of them are hard to find ) where either plans were being made or reporting from 'the road'. Fun times !

  4. Yes I have been to all nine although I did miss the first day of IU5 due to that stress fracture and being on crutches. So no Stonecrop or Climbery for me. Looking forward to the big ONE-O! Long Island or bust!

  5. What a fun history you Idyll (Idle?) folks have! Loved your pictures in this post. Nothing quite so nice as seein warm summer gardens in the winter!


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