Friday was the first day of Spring and I decided to celebrate it by attending the annual Chicago Flower & Garden Show at Navy Pier (http://www.chicagoflower.com). Temps flirted with 60 degrees but it remained quite chilly enough near the lakefront to require this convenient respite. We are still enduring roller coaster weather in the Midwest. Who knows when Spring (or Summer) will actually settle in?!
This year, The Chicago Flower & Garden Show focused on education, particularly programs for kids which teach them to start their own vegetable gardens, the importance of spending time outdoors, beneficial connections between insects and gardens and much more. There were talks on eco-friendly and sustainable gardens as well as the popularity of public gardens in urban spaces.
It was my first time attending this show in the nearly 10 years I have been living in Chicago. I am glad I finally made it. It was so lovely to wander around the various themed gardens at the show. I particularly gravitated toward a couple that featured fountains. Water calms me down as much as music does. Since I was flying solo, I really allowed myself to get lost in the look, fragrance and sound of it all. Very relaxing and meditative which is great because I did not take a proper vacation this Winter.
Almost all of the plants from this this show get donated to community organizations, including schools and charities.
Tony Abruscato, the Director of the Chicago Flower & Garden Show said “There are two things you can’t buy: true love and homegrown tomatoes.” Right on, Tony! I could not agree with you more. I so wish I had a small garden of my own but living on the 23rd floor of a high-rise makes that difficult 🙂 Maybe, I can convince the condo board to free up some of the planters by our pool for a veggie garden and a small cafe/bar Hmmmm…
My thumb might be a slightly paler shade of green than I would like but, at least, I haven’t killed any of the house plants I’ve kept over these years 🙂
Another fun segment of the show was the “Garden Gourmet.” Local chefs and culinary celebs gave food demos, shared cooking tips, answered questions and treated us to some tasty bites. It was my pleasure to meet Sarah Jayne Grueneberg, former Executive Chef at Spiaggia and Top Chef runner-up. Also, I met the lovely, Chef/Author/TV personality, Ina Pinkney, who ran a wonderful breakfast spot here called Ina’s Kitchen until 2013.
The Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences was represented at this show. It was established in 1985 on the last farm in the city of Chicago. Who knew? A group of students from this school worked hard to build a Tiny House, Big “Little” Garden. These tiny houses are becoming a way of living a lifestyle which is based on simplifying and downsizing one’s environment by reducing one’s ecological footprint and mortgage payment. A smaller living space encourages people to spend more time outdoors and use limited garden space efficiently. This was not only fascinating to see and walk through but it was really interesting to see how schools are teaching kids to play a very active role in impacting the world in which they live. Ayesha Beard, a junior at this high school, worked on the project and she gave me a tour. Very cool!
Lastly, the Chicago Flower & Garden show was filled with a wide array of exhibitors and vendors. I took a nice slow stroll past the Gourmet Goodies confection stall for a quick drool and snack. You should check them out at http://gourmetgoodies.us.
The Chicago Flower & Garden Show ended today and I had a great visit there. Although I attended solo, I met some really fun and interesting people. It was a great way to relax and breathe in a bit of Spring before it actually arrives 😉
I highly recommend you plan to visit the show next year. Until then, enjoy my photos. If you need another quick fix of warmer weather from inside, you may want to consider a visit to Garfield Park Conservatory http://www.garfield-conservatory.org.
ROAM. REVEL. REPEAT.