San Francisco Garden Show 2010 Twitter Party

Top row (left to right) Katie Elzer-Peters, Christina Salwitz, Jayme Jenkins, Jenny Peterson, Debra Lee Baldwin, Apel Mjausson, Charlotte Germane, Alice Joyce, Pam (BrownThumbMama), Susan Morrison, Julie Gallaher, Claire Woods,(Bottom Row) Miriam Goldberger, (me), Galen Fultz, Dave (Christina's sweet husband), Judy Maier, Elayne Takemoto, Jeannie Hansen - Missing from photo are Claire Splan, Jeanie Hanson, John Black, Patti Craft, Matt Moore, Renate Kempf

Okay, I know a lot of you don’t use Twitter.  Many of you might think Twitter is a little weird. But did you know that I LOVE Twitter.  It’s true. I looooove Twitter.

It has introduced me to so many, many incredible gardeners.  Some are just the average weekend-gardener, some are professionals (landscape architects or landscape designers), some are magazine editors, some are book authors, almost all have their own personal garden blogs – but the one thing that bonds us all together is that we LOVE to talk about all aspects of gardening.

 And Twitter allows us to throw out random gardening questions, share our garden pictures, funny incidents, design ideas – the sky’s the limit! – and get a TON of responses within minutes. I tell all of my clients they’re crazy if they don’t use Twitter for the simple fact that it’s like having your own herd of landscape professionals at their disposal, just waiting to answer their questions!

So, when the San Francisco Garden Show came to town last week, what better reason to throw a garden party than to finally meet so many of these people in person!  And what a party is was! The crazy part was that only a few of us were actually from this area!  Most people flew in from around the country (even Canada!) to either have a booth at the Show, or to write about the show, or just to attend one of the HOTTEST Garden Shows in the land! And here they were – all in my backyard!


The weather was absolutely perfect and the food divine (thanks to my catering friends at Julie and her Sister).  The stars were lined up just right for us all to enjoy a wonderful evening together.

First thing’s first…when having a party make sure there’s awesome food!

Okay – so now that we’ve got the food figured out, all we need is some ‘Swag’….

How can you go wrong when Haven’s Soil Conditioner ‘Tea Bags’ are handed out to everyone, along with Annie’s Annual’s 2-for-1 coupons!  You can’t – it’s guaranteed success!  Thanks so much Annie and Annie (yes, they’re both named Annie – coincidence?)

Well, my blog isn’t titled Gossip In The Garden for nuthin!  Here’s a little insight about many of the people you may know (or at least heard of.)  And if you DON’T know them, you should definitely check them out, as they’re all fabulous gardeners in one way or another! 

Here I am in pure Heaven, hugging Debra Lee Baldwin (author of Succulent Container Gardens) and Patty Craft (editor of Horticulture Magazine) – two of my favorite women.

But did you know they’re two of the most down-to-Earth women you’ll ever meet?  Both preferring to just wander around the garden, taking photos, ‘taking it all in’, versus the ‘Get me to the  middle of the crowd’ type (and no, there’s nothing wrong with that type, as you’ll see)

Speaking of ‘Get me to the middle of the Crowd’, here’s Billy Goodnick (pointing to Debra Baldwin, no doubt heckling her in some way).  Billy is a character, as many of you who read his blog and column on Fine Gardenings website probably know.

But did you know he’s actually a really mellow guy?  Seriously!  And when you get him on the topic of landscape design (he’s a landscape architect, btw) he’ll listen to your ideas, offer his suggestions and let loose TONS of pearls.  A true wealth of information.

Here I am again, in the middle of Jeanette Craft-Sinclaire (Patty Craft’s sister), Jayme Jenkins, and Patty.

It was wonderful meeting Jeanette, as she lives about 10 minutes from me and is an incredible photographer (thanks for some of these photos, Jeanette!)

And then there’s Jayme.  She’s such a cool chick – so darn young, full of energy and totally, totally nice.  But did you know this girl has the World’s Straightest Posture?  Seriously – she does!  You’ll NEVER see her slouch.  And should you meet her in person, call her name and she’ll whip her head around with the cutest ‘surprised’ look on her face – every time.  She cracks me up.

My poor guests – they couldn’t get away from me mobbing them.  

Here I am mauling Katie Elzer-Peters.  Many of you know she’s an amazing writer but did you know she secretly likes to get dogs a little tipsy?  She claims it was an accident, but I have my doubts.  She’s unbelievably funny, in a very dry sort of way.  An absolutely joy.

Um…I believe that’s YOUR hand, Katie, giving my dog the wine?

Never have I met two more charming landscape designers than John Black and Galen Fultz , and lucky me, they’re both from Northern California.

It’s always great to meet designers who are so talented yet so humble.  These are two awesome guys and you should really check out their websites for design inspiration!

Matt Moore and Christina Salwitz – another pair of super interesting people I finally got to meet in person.

Matt is another local, and I’m so glad to finally get the scoop on his company as they make a brand new, totally organic, worm-casting infused brand of magic soil, called Terra Vida.  This soil is SO amazing, I’m using it on my next big job and I can’t WAIT to see the results!  You can be sure I’ll be writing a post about it.

Christina is another character – such a pistol, so funny, so talented, and has worked in a gazillion different nurseries and is a fountain of nursery information!  Just watch where she sets her drinks down, though, as she’s another one who likes to get innocent dogs tipsy.

And here we have sweet, shy Jenny Peterson.  Such a unassuming little wallflower, that one. NOT.  Elayne, with Annie’s Annuals, hand-knit this viking hat for Jenny who promptly snatched it out of her hands and wore it ALL night.

And did you know that Jenny stayed with me for 3 nights?  And I can honestly say she’s one of the sweetest, funniest people ever.  A very cool chick, indeed, who likes to sleep in late, has a devlish twinkle in her eye, and is always up for a good laugh.

And not to be outdone is our own, lovely Susan Morrison.  “Sorry Jenny – that hat is MINE.  Plus, I can make the horns stand up better than you can.”  That’s just a small example of why I love Susan so much.

Susan was my partner-in-crime, and co-hostess, helping me coordinate this party.  I’ve really been lucky to have spent a lot of time with her over the past 6 months and let me tell you not only is she, hands-down the FUNNIEST designer I know, but she’s so dang SMART!

True, this photo is misleading, but trust me on this.

Here’s an exception to the whole ‘Twitter Party’ thing.  Many of you may have heard of (or probably READ) the hugely popular Town Mouse/Country Mouse blog…well guess what!  Here they are in person, and NO they don’t use Twitter!

Yep – that’s Renate Kemp (Town Mouse) and her co-writer Country Mouse.  They specialize in native gardening and mouse-ears.  It was fun to watch many of the guests exclaim in surprised joy ‘THAT’S the MICE’!!!???  Yep – that’s the elusive mice all right.

Want some great gossip?

I found out Daffodil Planter’s REAL NAME! Yep.  That’s her, pointing out Debra Baldwin’s article to Susan.  And and her name is…drumroll please….Charlotte Germane.  Is that an AWESOME name or what!!??  Why she’s been keeping that hidden from us is beyond me.  If I had a name that beautiful, I’d be telling everyone who came in contact with me. I’d probably even have a T-shirt made with my name across the front of it.

She’s another very, very witty person.  Makes me laugh CONSTANTLY.


And last, but never least, is our most revered Elayne Takemoto, from Annie’s Annuals.  Yes, this photo is actually taken at the show (striking a pose while eating a donut), but I couldn’t find one of her ANYWHERE except in the group photo above.

Elayne arrived at the party with her two co-horts Kelly Kilpatrick and Claire Woods and the three of them were truly one of the best combination of people ever to grace Los Altos.  They are SUPER funny, SUPER cool, SUPER down-to-earth, not a pretentious bone in their body and as you would imagine, FULL of plant knowledge.  I’m a huge fan of these three!

To end this post I’d like to show you another version of our group photo. Charlotte Germane suggested this idea, and Susan Morrison created the signs.  A good friend of ours, Katie Swanberg (known as GardenPunk) has been seriously, seriously ill.  We missed meeting her in person and wanted to let her know we’re all thinking of her.

And that’s Twitter for you.  None of this would’ve ever happened without it.  So what are YOU waiting for?

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  • I just saw your blog, loved the photo of John and myself. Thank you so much for your kind words! That was such a special evening.

  • Oh, I forgot to say, I was thrilled to see the mice in person!

    and while I haven’t had personal contact with the rest of your troupe, I enjoyed getting to meet them, too.

  • I’m sure Katie and Christina were feeding your dog wine for the antioxidants…health is important. (I’m sure that’s why you were drinking it yourselves, right?)

    By the way, Daffodil Planter’s real name IS Daffodil Planter. But I agree with you about the witty part. We first met in person at a horticulture class, where we proceeded to whisper and giggle like badly-behaved 8th-graders at our lab table in the back.

    Thanks for letting me eavesdrop on your party!

  • Great post and pics, Rebecca! You and Tom throw the meanest (and by that I mean best) party. Throughout the night as people showed up, I tried to guess who they were by their avatar–I was only stumped by Daffodil Planter!

    And, I have to add in my defense, I wouldn’t have wanted to sleep in late at all if I weren’t in the most comfortable bed in the most beautiful guest room!

  • Rebecca, Your party, garden, home and family are just the best! I think the photos show how delighted we all were to be there. It was such a great setting in which to see our online friends “come to life”. Sorry I missed the early arrivals who departed before I hauled in from Nevada City.

  • You forgot to mention your garden — possibly the most amazing garden I’ve ever seen. I liked it better than the show gardens, honest, and probably spent too much time looking at everything…and not enough time meeting everyone.

    Regardless, thanks so much for having us (and feeding us) all!

    • You are all SO WELCOME. Seriously – the pleasure was all mine. It was a very self-serving event, you know…I was just dying to meet you all! I’d do it all over again, too!

    • What a compliment, Townie! Thank you so much! I can’t wait to see your native garden – while I realize they’re very different gardens, I’m sure yours is equally as amazing!

  • Okay, I’m officially jealous I wasn’t there! Before I managed to hide it pretty well, I thought. But after seeing you all in pictures, I can just imagine how much fun you all had…

    Next year, I’m there. I’m so there. 😉 Teresa

  • I feel like I was there!!!
    And I ALMOST was!
    It looks like such a wonderful time, and I SO agree with you about Twitter! I get alot of grief from some of my friends about twitter (“hurry up and post what you’re having for lunch!”), but they don’t KNOW. They don’t know what we do – the kind of support, the kind of information, and the kind of FUN we have while taking those all-important breaks from designing or writing.
    I feel I’ve met some of the best people EVER via Twitter, and YOU are the SWEETEST!!!
    (I hope I didn’t scare you at the garden show with my crazy smile and semi-stalking behavior … that’s what I do when I like someone!)
    Thank you for posting this! It looks like the LOVELIEST party and the good time LEAPS off of the screen!

  • Just so you know, I’m slouching while I read this. Them were some good times!

  • DANG! Where was I? Oh yeah. Glad I was able to slip in later and get the low-down, but this is a great report. How you managed for the warmest day of spring to fall on your tweetup day I’ll never know…thanks for being such a wonderful hostess to all our out-of-town SFGS guests; meeting you was no doubt a highlight of their trip!

  • Looks like a lot of fun! Perhaps I’ll make another one of your shindigs- you seem to have a knack for entertaining Rebecca!

    • Claire – I wish you could’ve stayed longer, too! At least we got to meet, though, right?

  • Rebecca, you realize that this post is going to make a lot of people very envious that they didn’t hop on a plane to the Bay Area and join the fun too. Yes, I’m envious.

    What a great post. I really enjoyed reading about everyone and getting the secret scoop on them. Everyone looks like they’re having sooo much fun!

    I know exactly what the experience was like for you, because that’s how it was for me when I hosted a happy hour of garden bloggers from all over the country a couple of years ago. It was so amazing to meet in person all these great people that I’d only known through blog comments and the occasional email.

    Twitter makes it even easier. I resisted Twitter for a long time (worried it would eat up free time, and it does), but now I really like it too. It does allow you to “meet” so many talented and interesting people. Getting to meet them in person must be the icing on the cake.

    • Hi Pam – so it seems you know EXACTLY how great it was since you had your own tweet-up! I agree, Twitter can eat up valuable time, but it also introduces you to ‘valuable’ people so I think it’s a fair trade! I love the people I’ve met! Someday you and I will meet….maybe at the GWA event this Fall? I’m looking forward to it!

  • It was such fun meeting everyone in person. Thank you, Rebecca, for hosting. I feel like I made new friends.

    • Thanks Patty – I definitely made new friends – and cool ones, too! I’m so glad you made the trek out here!

  • Absolutely wonderful post! I love the photos and hate that I couldn’t be there!

  • No doubt, Rebecca. Twitter crosses a lot of boundaries. I can’t thank you & Tom enough for having us all over. It was soooo cool to be able to socialize with such a diverse group of plant geeks. And don’t worry, I’ll wear my Cloak of Invisibility when sneaking into your back yard on those sunny afternoons….

  • What a fun party! The food was fabulous, the garden gorgeous, the hostess delightful, the dog adorable, the daughter stunning, the guests a never-ending source of great conversation and laughter. Thank you, Sweet Rebecca!

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