May 07, 2013

Garfield Park Conservatory

Joe and I have been living in Oak Park for about a year and half, and we take the green line nearly every day. It goes right past the beautiful Garfield Park Conservatory and we tell each other all the time that we'll go there one day.  We've even sent friends and visitors there but still haven't made it ourselves.  We even have a friend who works there!  And we still never made it out.  Until now!

We were having a lazy Saturday morning, and the weather had finally picked up to something sunny and 60's.  Joe was milling around on facebook and saw his friend's post that there was a plant sale going on at the conservatory.  As soon as he said it I jumped on it- it's beautiful out, we can appreciate the weather and finally go! So we walked our little Oy, boxed him up, and off we went!

Prepare yourself for an overwhelming number of pictures!

it's that pretty and we haven't even made it inside yet!


 Joe loves plants that catch water and/or bugs in the bottom.

 Bananas!  Who knew they looked so weird?

(Alluaudia montagnacil)
Southwest Madagascar

We found our way to the Seedling Sale to catch up with our friend Naaman.
Unfortunately, we don't have any yard and most of the plants were needing a little more sunshine and space than a pot in window can deliver.

Horticulture Hall:

isn't this magnificent? 

Out into the Monet Garden:

The Monet Garden is intended to imitate Claude Monet's garden in Giverney France.  The flowers are planted in color blocs with slight vairations to challenge him as an artist.  The plants rotate throughout the season- this is the first round with bulbs- hence all the tulips.

Plus there was an oversized chair!  Not really sure why.

And back into Horticulture Hall:

Chinese Orange 

And from there into the Palm House:

 Mosaic Plant

Mosaic Plant 

Lipstick Palm
Cyrtostachys renda

And then our favorite-  THE FERN ROOM.
Designed to look like what Chicago may have looked like during dinosaur times!
Not only are we both dinosaur fans, but ferns are Joe's favorite plants period, so he was pretty geeked out.

weird, hairy vines!

 Wart Fern
(Microsorium grossum)
Australia, Polynesia

 just look at all that moss!

 my favorite.

a gigantic pinecone!

Giant Dioon
(Dioon spinulosum)


One of my favorite stories was about the creator Jens Jensen's total fussiness about the sound of the waterfalls.  After taking apart the stone mason's work several times he told him to listen to Mendelssohn's Spring Song.  Apparently that was the key- it was finally made to Jens Jensen's liking.

(Nechodomi araceae)
Puerto Rico

Back into the Palm House:

Spindle Palm
(Hyophorbe verschaffeltii)
Rodriguez Island

And into Sugar from the Sun:


We stepped out into the Sensory Garden:

And then through to the Desert House:

Pearl Plant 

 Crown of Thorns
(Euphordia milii)

 Window Plant

And into the Aroid House:

 White Flamingo Flower

 totally weird.

And back to the Palm House:

 Carnauba Wax Palm

  Carnauba Wax Palm

Carnauba Wax Palm


I'll reiterate that Joe loves these plants.  His small child explorer loves to see what's hiding in those little buckets of water.

Silver Nerve Plant

Cinco de Mayo!

We finally caught up with Naaman, and he recommended we explore the back patio and outdoor gardens.

There's the trusty green line train!

Joe got curious...

And then took over the camera.

We didn't manage to find Naaman's bee hives, so now we'll just have an excuse to come back later in the season when the rest of the outdoor flowers have come out to bloom.  

I cna't recommend the conservatory highly enough.  It is beautiful and amazing and pictures can't do justice for being immersed in so much nature.  And did I mention it's free?!  (although I encourage all who visit to donate).  You can't get much better than that.  

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