Online becomes in-person (again)



Last year they met in Napa; this year they showed up in my backyard. This group of gardeners has been rendezvousing at garden destinations ever summer for 8 years, 2011 was Buffalo. Most are readers of this and many other garden blogs, but not all of them are bloggers themselves. They are, however, all participants in the GardenWeb perennials forum and call themselves the Idylls—their forum threads are also called Idylls. The reasons they chose Buffalo this year were a combination of Garden Walk and the buzz surrounding last year’s blogger meet-up.

I had no idea that there was another group sort of like our bloggers group, but it’s hardly surprising. Here’s further proof (if any were needed) that digital communications are enhancements rather than replacements for human interactions—these gardeners would probably never have met were it not for GardenWeb.

And speaking of GardenWeb. I had not been on the site for a while. The look and the feel hasn’t changed much since it was purchased by iVillage some years back. On checking Garden Voices, their blog feed, I found that there seemed to be a random selection of posts—the most recent Rant offering was from June. Otherwise, the site looked much as usual—a combo of newbie questions, long conversations, random chatting, and occasional testiness. I used to be on this site every day for quite some time, but now I’m more apt to turn to a book for an answer. And I liked GW better in the pre-iVillage days.

But I’m glad it gave birth to these meet-ups—and that this year was Buffalo.

Previous articleA positive story about law enforcement and an overgrown front yard!
Next articleJapanese gardens anyone?
Elizabeth Licata

Elizabeth Licata has been a regular writer for  Garden Rant since 2007, after contributing a guest rant about the overuse of American flags in front gardens. She lives and gardens in Buffalo, N.Y., which, far from the frozen wasteland many assume it to be, is a lush paradise of gardens, historic architecture, galleries, museums, theaters, and fun. As editor of Buffalo Spree magazine,  Licata helps keep Western New Yorkers apprised about what is happening in their region. She is also a freelance writer and art curator, who’s been published in Fine Gardening, Horticulture, ArtNews, Art in America, the Village Voice, and many other publications. She does regular radio segments for the local NPR affiliate, WBFO.

Licata is involved with Garden Walk Buffalo, the largest free garden tour in the US and possibly the world, and has written the text for a book about Garden Walk. She has also written and edited several art-related books. Contact Elizabeth: ealicata at


  1. The unstoppable idyllers! Last year was No. Calif — Filoli, Ruth Bancroft, Keeyla Meadows’ private garden, Mendocino Botanic Garden, Digging Dog Nursery and more…this year Buffalo. A wonderful group that gives a heckuva mean garden tour. Congrats to idylls 2011.

  2. go Idylls–but I agree with you Elizabeth on the Garden Web. I have found some very useful information on a variety of topics–deer proofing, milky spore effectiveness, hypertufa, all sorts of info on perennials–but it is often buried in long meandering threads. I just don’t have the patience for it.

  3. The Idylls sound pretty cool to meet as they have for 8 years.–What a neat bond and group!

    I used to be obsessed with GW, and visited daily for years pre-ivillage. I made friends at their plant swaps, but something was lost between moving from Spike to ivillage or maybe it was me who changed???

    I don’t go there much any more.

  4. The Idylls are a wonderful, giving and compassionate group of gardeners. I’ve learned a lot from them about design, and the love of plants from them…one and all.

  5. Hi-dylls! How fun to see my “invisible friends” on Garden Rant! Yes, I never would have met this group if it had not been for the internet, and my entire family thought I was nuts the first year that I took off in the car to meet this group of people I had never met in person. But I’ve made some wonderful friends through this group and I’ve been privileged to tour some fabulous gardens with this group. So sorry I missed the Buffalo trip this year.

  6. Hi Elizabeth-Thanks for opening your garden and being part of the Buffalo Garden Walk. Every city needs to organize something like that. What a great way to get people involved and generate some positive PR. Buffalo rocks! Even though I’m an original “idyller” and have been to all eight get togethers I agree with your assessment of GW and no longer spend any time there. However, I cherish the friends and I’ve made through this group and am already looking forward to IU9.

  7. Elizabeth, we were blown away by your beautiful city, both the gardens and the architecture. Studied my map on the flight home..We only hit 2 of the 5 neighborhoods-we are either hopeless lolly-gaggers or the gardens need to be open 2 weekends .We’ll be sure to let you know the destination for 2012.

  8. Way to go, Idylls! That sounds like a fun group, and yes, it’s amazing how blogging or even reading blogs can lead to real-life connections and friendships.

Comments are closed.