Close to ten years ago, myself and a few other Gardenweb regulars grew restless with the usual garden chit chat on the Gardenweb forums. Some friendships had formed and topics started to stray into areas other than gardening. At the time off topic posting was frowned upon and policed by the infamous founder and sole moderator of Gardenweb, Spike. A conversation forum developed where off topic chatting was allowed and we started a series of numbered threads aptly named Idylls. Participation grew until we had twenty or thirty regular contributors scattered throughout the US and Canada. Many had absolutely nothing in common except a love of plants and gardens but that was enough.
We started musing about what it would be like to be able to meet in person. Finally in 2004 a few group members in the Detroit area put together an itinerary for a long weekend in July and tossed out an open invitation. Those who chose to take the plunge were treated to tours of public gardens, private gardens and meals served by our hosts in their gardens. Needless to say it was a huge success. Idyllunion was born and has since become an annual event.
Although most of the group has moved away from Gardenweb, we continue to stay in touch through blogging and a variety of social medias like Facebook. Many idyllers have come and gone over the years but a core group remains. Last week was our ninth Idyllunion, or IU9 for short. I am proud to report that I have been to every single one of them.
In the next few days I'll be going through pictures, organizing my thoughts and will start sharing some of the incredible gardens we visited and people we met. Also traveling with me was Denise of A Growing Obsession and Kathy of Gardenbook. They have already started blogging about the trip and it will be interesting to read the different perspectives. Stay tuned...
|Group shot from the first Idyllunion-July 2004. Photo credit to Deanne (Fortnam Gardens)|