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Sunday May 20th The Finale

Day three of Asheville Fling 2012 will begin in the parking lot of the Four Points Sheraton with the loading of the buses beginning at 8:45 am. The buses will leave promptly at 9am. Do not miss the bus. Our generous sponsors Corona Tools, the Whitegate Inn and Gardener’s Hollow Leg are all helping cover the expense of the buses for the three days of Fling.

For our final day of Fling we will be headed to the country and deep into the woods.

Our first stop after about a 40 minute drive on coach buses with restrooms will be the gardens of Haywood Community College. This is an acre and a half to two acre teaching garden for the horticulture program at the college. It has an extensive collection of trees, shrubs and perennials for plant ID classes. It is also laid out as a garden, not field rows, which makes it a pleasure to visit as a garden destination.

Now a strange thing happened when I contacted the head gardener and asked if I could bring 80 plus garden bloggers to visit the garden. He said they were closed on Sundays period. We could come, but the gates would be closed and we would have to park outside and walk in. I contacted their marketing and media department thinking all this free PR for the horticulture program might entice some interest and the answer was still, we are closed on Sundays. The gates will be closed and you will have to park outside and walk in. No representative from Haywood Community College, other than security, will be there to greet us.

So we will park outside the main gate and walk in to the garden. It might be a hundred yards from the gate to the gardens along a tree lined paved road. You will be practiced at walking distances after your visit to the Biltmore Estate on Saturday.

We will load back on the buses and head into the wilderness at 11:15 am.

Our next stop is the two side by side wild cultivated gardens of Bonnie Brae and Ku’ulei ‘Aina high on the low spot of a North Carolina mountain top. This is the home of the blog Outside Clyde and the roadside vegetable garden with wood chip mulch. There’s vegetables in there behind that fence all summer long, I swear.

Lunch will be served first thing when we arrive and is being prepared by The Sweet Onion of Waynesville, NC. After lunch you may wander into the exuberant chaos that are the gardens I call home.

Bulbarella will join us for lunch and the afternoon visit in the gardens. You may ask her anything about her methods of gardening. You may ask her what a particular plant is as long as all you want is a species or common name. If you are looking for a specific cultivar name you will be out of luck. It’s pretty. That is all that matters.

A large portion of the three acres of land under semi-cultivation on this mountain top is a shade garden planted directly into the undisturbed forest. Sunnier sections are put to full use for the sun loving perennials. Narrow, undulating, slightly rocky, one person wide foot paths wander through it all.

Walking through this forest wonderland is very much like taking a hike on the Appalachian Trail. STURDY WALKING SHOES ARE ESSENTIAL. This is no place for a fashion statement in footwear.

At 2pm several of our sponsors will be hosting a wine service and plant forum. This will be your chance to get liquored up and tell the growers and marketers what you really want from them in plants and how they are sold to you the gardener.

Hosting this forum are:

Plant Development Services, Inc. works closely with the nation’s top growers and breeders to bring plants to market that solve landscape challenges and have a high impact on the marketplace. With a comprehensive grower network, Plant Development Services is able to manage distribution to all regions and market channels.. Plant Development Services boasts top ranking brands including: Encore® Azalea, Southern Living™ Plant Collection, and the Sunset Western Garden Collection™. For more information on Plant Development Services, visit:


Kip McConnell, Plant Development Services, Director. Since graduating from Auburn University’s Ornamental Horticulture program in 1984, Kip McConnell has built a career in the horticulture industry, gathering experience in a range of areas including botanical garden management, retail merchandising, landscape design and installation, and nursery supply sales.

Steve Bender, the Senior Garden Writer at Southern Living, where he has worked for the last 28 years in what he describes in jest as “to everyone’s dismay”. He co-authored Passalong Plants with Felder Rushing before there was internet and later edited the. Southern Living Garden Book.


Shelly Gustafson – Axiom Marketing Communications Account Manager that works on various Home and Garden accounts including Bailey Nurseries on Endless Summer Hydrangeas, First Editions Plants and Easy Elegance Roses Brand PR. Shelly has been a garden lover from an early age and her first “job” (at ten) was working in the gardens at Como Conservatory in Saint Paul, MN. She has worked at Axiom for over five years and contributes to the agency’s garden blog

The cozy cabin, Hale Mana will also be open for inspection during our visit to the low spot high on a North Carolina mountain top. Some of you have watched the four year long process of it’s construction. Now you will see it in person and what remains to be completed over the next four years.

The buses will leave for downtown Asheville and the hotel promptly at 3:30 pm. Don’t miss the bus. It’s a long hike back to town. Enjoy another evening on the town in the perfect weather that is in store for us the entire weekend of the Fling.


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