Saturday, June 6, 2009

Spring Fling Finale

It's hard to believe that a week ago today I was waking up in Chicago and boarding a bus for an activity-filled day of Spring Fling. Since I've returned home, I've been very busy catching up here--watering the garden, napping, weeding, napping, planting more homeless plants, napping, mulching, and . . . did I mention napping? As a result, my intention of carefully sorting through all my photos to choose the best ones to accompany a sparkling, comprehensive commentary of the weekend's events never materialized. Instead, here's a last look at Spring Fling with minimum narration and minus blog links for the sake of time.

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.

Back at MMD's, a few more arrivals took the later tour of Squirrelhaven. At this point in the weekend, I wasn't sure about bloggers' wishes for anonymity, thus the back view of (l-r) Tina, Lisa, Gail, and Frances with MMD and her "apprentice gardener" facing them.

After the "scenic route" to the hotel that night--we were "too west of west"--it was straight to bed for an early morning train ride to the Chicago Botanic Garden.

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 tram tour also gave us a glimpse of areas we weren't able to visit, like the Japanese Gardens. These, along with the Model Railroad Garden, will definitely be on the "must-see" list the next time we visit the Chicago area.

So many plants to ooh and ahh over, especially those Icelandic poppies I think we have all pictured. My eye was also caught by these simple Canterbury bells. I love the colors, but mainly I was excited to see them since I planted some seed given to me by Cheryl. I hope mine turn out this well!

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.

Next, a stop at Carolyn Gail's garden where there were ample opportunities for everyone, including Jessica above, to take photos of a fantastic urban garden.

And some time to chat. Linda, aka Garden Girl, was one of several Chicago Gardeners who deserve many thanks for organizing such a fantastic weekend.

Before we left, Frances was the lucky winner of one of Carolyn Gail's paintings. I know Frances made sure this lovely artwork was well-cared for the rest of the bus trip:)

The final stop of the afternoon was at the Lincoln Conservatory. While others visited the fabulous lily pond and other areas of the Conservatory, several of us chose to hike a few blocks to the nearby Peggy Notebaert Museum to see the butterfly exhibit. Being a butterfly lover, I didn't regret my decision, but only wished that vanity didn't get in the way of wearing much-need reading glasses: the camera was on the wrong setting for much of the visit, resulting in blurs of color instead.

We were told upon entering that the butterflies were "awake," and they certainly were in a constant state of motion. This blurry photo must be shown, though, as Lisa explained we were watching a mating dance.

Changing the camera settings resulted in a few good photos, but no i.d.'s have yet been made.

I thought this was a Buckeye at first, but on closer inspection, I'm not so sure.

This has to be the most colorful butterfly I've ever seen;
it's certainly not one I would see in my garden.

Not to be completely outdone by Frances' butterfly magnetism, one small butterfly
chose to land on my leg . . . and then he flew to Frances:)

My intention was to also take lots of photos of the bloggers who attended Spring Fling, but somehow I never did. Saturday's dinner of authentic Chicago-style pizza did give me a chance to get a photo taken with Monica (left) and Beckie (right). Sorry, ladies, being very unphotogenic, I chose the most flattering photo of ME.

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.

The breathtaking river of salvia in the Lurie Garden, pictured on nearly everyone's posts, including a previous one of mine, was hard to capture in a photo, even though I tried from many angles.

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.

There's more to the Garden than just the salvia, however; one area is devoted to prairie plants, including this "Prairie Smoke." I first saw this on one of Mr. McGregor's Daughter's posts as well as seeing it in person in her garden. I know I'm not the only garden blogger who wants to add this plant to my garden!

And for a more traditional plant-lovers, the Lurie also had the perfect white peony.

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!


  1. Fantastic photos Rose, I feel like I've been there myself. So lovely to go with fellow bloggers.

    The waterfall garden looks very enchanting.

    Now I can put a face to your name too :)

    How are you? I seem to remember you were poorly recently?

    S x

  2. Rose I have enjoyed seeing your photos of the SF. I am amazed that this fun time is already seeming to have happened a long time ago. It was such fun. I don't have lots of photos of people. Hmmmmm If I go to another SF I will have to remember to take more people photos.

  3. I thought that was wonderful "sparkling, comprehensive commentary", Rose. Thanks for the nice rundown of the weekend's events!

    And I'm envious of all the napping you got to do this week. I had to go to work every day. I won't say whether or not I was napping any of the time I was at work...

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  4. Rose girl ! I almost feel like I was hurring along with you guys !
    That was a great tour .. loved all the butterflies and plants and bloggers : ) I wish Kingston would have a Spring Fling here one day !

  5. What a lovely post. I enjoy seeing all the bloggers and too funny on the picture of you Monica and Beckie. Ha! It IS hard getting a flattering photo of all folks in the picture. I think it looks fine. That Japanese garden is so gorgeous! And the green butterfly too-my favorite. So glad no broken bones coming down the slippery slope and you made the trolley. That would make for some memories indeed.

  6. Dang, I wish I'd known there was a butterfly museum! And we missed the lily pond, too. Oh, yeah, and I didn't take the tram tour at CBG. Well, that makes some things to see on another visit!

    It was great to meet you and Beckie, and I hope to see y'all in Buffalo next year! We'll have to make more time to visit ... I'm sorry I didn't get more of a chance to get to know y'all!

  7. It's interesting you took some very similar shots as I did. Thanks also to you and the many other bloggers who are taking the time to do multiple posts with descriptions! I've uploaded another version of the photo of the three of us here--if you think you look OK there, feel free to use it. :) I'm sorry I missed the butterflies but am waiting for them in my own garden.

  8. Suburbia, It was a wonderful time, meeting other bloggers. I've been much better the last few weeks--fortunately, the 6-week virus only lasted 2 1/2!

    Lisa, I was surprised when I went through my photos how few "people" pictures I took, and how many of those didn't turn out well. I really wanted a photo of the four of us!

    Carol, It's been fun reading all the different posts on SF; I'm seeing so many things I missed. This is the great part about being retired--you can nap in the afternoon any time you want:)

    Joy, We were hurrying in part because I wasn't sure of the way out:)

    Tina, Monica has a much better photo of us I should have used! I do want to go back and see the Japanese garden--they're one of my favorites.

    Cindy, Somehow I heard about the butterfly exhibit before we left, but I didn't realize it was several blocks down the street. There was so much to do it was hard to see everything. I'm looking forward to seeing you again in Buffalo!

    Monica, Your photo is SO much better than mine! Maybe I can edit this post... I really enjoyed getting to spend some time talking to you at dinner that evening. And I saw my first butterfly here yesterday--hooray!

  9. Wonderful pictures and loaded with interesting things to read.
    Lovely waterfall, japanese garden, butterflies & moths,plant trough with water behind it. These are the ones that stuck in my brain.
    Lovely to meet other bloggers!

  10. I'm sorry you got lost in Barrington Hills. It's quite lovely, but in the dark is not the best way to appreciate it. You may think that you aren't photogenic, but my photo of you with the Alliums turned out wonderfully. I'll try to email it to you.

  11. Fabulous post Rose.....I am amazed at just how much you crammed into the weekend. The gardens are lovely...and the waterfall so pretty....I do so love to see water.....
    It must have been a fabulous opportunity for so many to get together.....and having the same interest there is always something to talk the bloggers that were not there of course....

    Enjoy your weekend Rose and be sure to have plenty of naps!!

  12. Hi again...forgot to say how beautiful the butterflies are.....such stunning colours.....
    and one came to say hello, perfect...lovely photographs......

  13. Hi Rose,
    This is a great wrap-up! I love the butterfly pictures! And I am very jealous of your napping opportunities!

  14. It looks like you had a very good time! Wish I could have attended but had to work. :(

    I remember a field trip to the Chicago Botanic Garden (probably when I was in college) but I'm sure it has changed in the last 20 years! (OMG it's actually been TWENTY YEARS since college?)

  15. Oh how I wish I could have went. It looks like you guys had such a great time and you saw some beautiful things.

  16. Rose, this was a great Reader's Digest version of the weekend! I'm SO glad I got to meet you and enjoyed talking with you and Beckie on the bus on Saturday. There just wasn't enough time to visit with everyone, I don't think. So many things to see and do!

    I agree - another trip to Chicago is in order. We will be back there in a couple of months, when our older daughter Kara runs a half-marathon there.

    I hope we get to see other again sometime. Maybe in Buffalo? :-)

  17. Thank you for the tour........that was awesome!


  18. What a fun filled weekend you & the other garden bloggers had at Spring Fling Rose. Thanks for sharing more lovely photos of the trip. :)

  19. I agree with everyone - your photos are fantastic! Thank you for posting so many flowers, butterflies, fellow bloggers, a waterfall, and everything! I just felt as if I was there with you all.

    What a wonderful adventure. I hope this is a yearly event and you can go again next year.

  20. Thanks again, dear Rose. (wish I could have been in the Chicago-style photo - flattering or un-flattering - with Monica, Beckie, and you :) After all, I'm a 'Thelma & Louse' goupie and 'head' of your fan club!

  21. Maggie May, Thanks it was a great weekend, and I had fun reliving it through posting these photos.

    MMD, Thanks for the photo--it is much better of me! Don't worry, we weren't lost for long, and it will be added to the vacation stories we now laugh about.

    Cheryl, My only regret is that I didn't meet all the bloggers I would like to, but it was a start. We did see a lot in a weekend, which is why I've taken so many naps since coming home:)

    Rose, The butterflies were awesome; you'll have to take your kids to see it some time.

    Laura, This was my first time to the Botanic Garden; based on some of the displays, I'm sure it has changed a lot over the years.

    Susie, Wish you could have come, too!

    Kylee, I enjoyed talking with you, too; I agree there wasn't enough time to have a good visit with everyone.

    Bellamere, Thank you, and thanks for visiting!

    Julena, glad to have you back!

    PG, It was hard to choose from all the photos; we did see a lot in a short time.

    Wendy, I think this will become a yearly event. Next year it's will be in Buffalo, NY; I hope I can go.

    Joey, I keep telling Beckie, Thelma and Louise need to make a road trip to Michigan:)

  22. After reading the Spring Fling posts I almost feel like I was there. I enjoyed seeing your photos of the gardens and the bloggers.

    You're right about he prairie smoke. It's on my list.

  23. Wonderful photos Rose. I was so glad we got to visit the butterflies together. None that I was aware of landed on me! But, you, Frances and Lisa were butterfly whisperers. I didn't get to see as much of the Botanical garden as I wanted either and I got there early...more time must be scheduled there and at Lincoln Park the next time I visit Chicago! What a wonderful city! Like Lisa I didn't take many people photos (and not nearly as many plant photos as others.). Was I talking that much? Let's say I was really looking at everything. gail

  24. I forgot to mention, I too loved teh Canterbury bells--one of my favorites! (But NOT the Tales--oy, that was hard reading!)

  25. I have loved reading all these retrospectives of the Chicago events, which were wonderful. I enjoyed meeting you and hope to see you in Buffalo next summer!

  26. As I read your very concise commentary, I sensed another Adventure with Thelma and Louise was needed to go back and spend some time on the areas that you had to rush through. As I read the close of your blog, you confirmed my suspicions! I look forward to hearing all about the continuing saga!

    The butterflies were beautiful--what an amazing sight that must have been. Nice to see all the bloggers and put faces with blogs (it will be a cold day in Texas before anyone gets a glimpse of my ugly mug ;-)!)

  27. It's lovely to see your face at last!

    Sounds like a fab time was had by all.

  28. We all saw just a bit of a different view didn't we? Love these photos recapturing the fun and beauty of this Spring Fling!

  29. Hi Rose, your commentary was quite sparkling and the photos wonderful. It is hard to believe it was such a short time ago we were west of west. The butterflies loved you too, but you may have not been as sweaty as others in our party. :-)

  30. Rose, you tell the story of your visit so well. It's wonderful to be able to put faces to the many bloggers who seem so familiar yet mysterious, and it doesn't diminish my admiration for any of them. If I ever get to visit Chicago again, I'll know just where to go, thanks to you. I can see why you're so smitten with those butterflies.

  31. Marnie, There have been so many posts on Spring Fling, I think every angle has been covered for anyone not attending!

    Gail, I thought I saw so much during Spring Fling, but then I see photos on other blogs and think, "how did I miss that?" I'm not the butterfly whisperer that Frances is, but I like that image:)

    Monica, But Chaucer is so clever!:)

    Elizabeth, I am certainly going to try to make it to Buffalo!

    MG, Ah yes, another adventure is needed here:) I've gotten a little braver about showing my face here. Of course, one of the surprises at Spring Fling was how much younger everyone else seemed to be!

    Liz, I am getting braver, but I m
    Layanee, It has been fun seeing all the different perspectives of SF, not to mention seeing some things I really did miss.

    Frances, I think Gail was right--you are the true butterfly whisperer:)

    W2W, I've been to Chicago quite a few times, but this was the first visit for all of these places. I do hope you get to Chicago again, and if you're driving up through Illinois, look me up!


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