Early arrivals on Thursday were treated to a tour of Rich's Foxwillow Pines in the northern suburbs of Chicago, a huge and amazing place. No wonder Mr. McGregor's Daughter loves this place! Rich himself greeted us warmly and entertained us with lots of colorful stories besides impressing us with his extensive knowledge of everything conifer-related. Laynee (left), Carol, and Dee (backs to the camera) took it all in.
A walk through back paths brought surprises at every turn, including giant hostas, and muddied our shoes.
Beckie and I opted for a later arrival at the Garden, which didn't allow us much time to see such a large area. We decided to first take the tram tour to give us an overview of the place, and I'm glad we did, because I believe this is the only way to see the large prairie area of the Botanic Garden. I learned so much more about the prairie; for example, there are actually three types of prairie, including the marsh prairie, which probably originally covered the land where I now live. Unfortunately, I don't remember the other two--the small notebook and pen purposely put into the large purse for taking notes remained at the hotel most of the time:)
The waterfall garden was another compelling place. Beckie and I climbed to the top, drawn by the rushing waters, and admired the view. Suddenly we realized we had only 20 minutes left to get back to the trolley for our return trip back.
Hurry, hurry down the slippery uneven slabs of rock--don't slip!
Hurry, hurry through the garden with trough after trough of potted annuals. Ok, time for one picture--but next time we will take time to see this area in entirety, too! We did make it to the trolley in time, fortunately.
On Saturday, most of the group began the day with a morning tour of Rick Bayless' garden in the heart of Chicago. After a sumptious buffet at Andie's in Andersonville, our first stop of the afternoon was at a community garden in the heart of Chicago. Surrounded by tall, older apartment buildings, this garden was a testament to the best of volunteerism and good will among gardeners.
Changing the camera settings resulted in a few good photos, but no i.d.'s have yet been made.
All too soon the weekend came to an end, and with just a few hours left on Sunday morning, Millenium Park seemed a logical place to return to, being within walking distance of our hotel. The fountain with changing images drew many visitors both Friday evening, when this photo was taken, and Sunday morning when little ones splashed happily in the shallow water.
Also difficult to capture completely were the hedges surrounding the gardens, meant to symbolize the "big shoulders" of Sandberg's poem "Chicago." Note the couple in the righthand corner of this photo--we saw several brides and grooms having their photos taken in the Lurie Gardens.
Like any typical tourist, Beckie and I couldn't resist a final stop at "Cloud Gate," aka "the Bean," for a reflective photo of the Chicago skyline. Besides all the wonderful people we met and all the interesting places we saw, Chicago has even more to offer and has a beautifully landscaped downtown. While it won't be the same as Spring Fling, Beckie and I are already talking about returning to the Windy City to see all that we missed this time!