Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Another Idyllunion For the History Books

Last night (actually early this morning) I got home from a trip to the PNW where I spent six days touring nurseries and private gardens in Oregon and Washington with a group of people I fondly refer to as my axe murderer and serial killer friends.

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)


  1. Wow ! I don't think I've ever seen this photo..and there are only two in the picture that were IU9-ers , and barely recognizable at that !

  2. OMG! Thanks for that fond memory photo! We must be posing at David's "new" place! I think it is wonderful how so many have stuck together over such a long period of time. I think of many of this group all the time and both the tough and the funny things we've been through together as well.

  3. I hadn't seen it either Kathy! At least 7 are on Facebook though! I do have a photo on Laura's porch of the IU1 gang.

  4. Boy, this brings back memories! What a wonderful time we have had through the years. Hard to believe it was so long ago. The other thing that amazes me is that I still wear this tshirt....

  5. Oh how fun is this!!!!! A total blast from the past and the beginning of something wonderful.

  6. What a hoot -- I think I can guess the majority but there are 2 who are mysterious... Hard to believe it was 9 years ago - it's nice to see the start of something wonderful. Cindy H.

    1. I think the two mystery guests are a friend of David's and Dotti's neighbor, Ruth. Ruth and Dotti designed their gardens to be interconnecting. It was very cool.

  7. So glad you started with some back story and that great photo. Took me a while to find you in that photo, by the way...

  8. Thank you for the backstory and congrats on your perfect attendance record!