Janet Soesbe, Community Program Manager at Urbana Park District, tells us about a great Park District road trip to Chicago to see the annual Flower and Garden Show.
On Thursday, March 15th, a small group from the Urbana Park District visited the Garfield Park Conservatory and Navy Pier for the Chicago Flower and Garden Show. The 25 that went sure got their money’s worth!
Our first stop was the Garfield Park Conservatory – what a treat! The facility, designed by famed architect Jens Jensen, was erected in 1907. Often referred to as "landscape art under glass," the Conservatory occupies approximately two acres inside, where thousands of plant species are on display throughout eight rooms. Our group took in the vibrant colors of their Spring Flower Show and were delighted by the otherworldly succulents and cacti in the Desert House. The Fern Room took us down a flight of steps past two Loredo Taft sculptures and into a close, swampy landscape featuring a lagoon and moss-covered outcroppings.
Several of the attendees are avid gardeners and walked through the Conservatory, commenting on plants they’d like to try and others they’ve had less success in growing. All of us probably took hundreds and hundreds of photos of the gorgeous plants, flowers, and trees –some of which were more than 60 feet tall!
We were very pleased with the addition of the Conservatory to our annual trip to Chicago. We’ve been attending the Chicago Flower and Garden Show for years now, and the wild abandon of the naturalistic landscapes at the Conservatory were the perfect complement to the show gardens at Navy Pier.
At the Pier, not only did we see and smell 18 large, pretty gardens filled with creative ideas for window boxes, water gardens, and re-purposed home items, we shopped in the marketplace. Several of our attendees came home with flowerpots, bulbs, and artisan gift items.
Everyone had whatever they wanted for lunch from any of the dozen different restaurants at the Pier. One of our ladies spent a good deal of time walking outside along the Pier, enjoying fresh air and the fantastic views of Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline. This trip was a perfect respite from the chilly March weather and really got everyone excited for spring!