Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Review Bird Haven Victorian Conservatory - Joliet

Bird Haven Conservatory, Joliet, IL Jul 2015
South of Chicago, in Joliet Illinois, there is a nice example of a Victorian Conservatory which was once common as part of large mansions and residential estates of the well to do.  I visited the Bird Haven Conservatory and was surprised by what I found and didn't find. I very much enjoyed the visit and recommend this as a day trip from Chicago particularly in conjunction with Midewin Tallgrass Prairie previously reviewed on this blog.

In particular I couldn't help but compare and contrast to Chicago's Garfield Park Conservatory which was built around the same time - but with a very different philosophy.  Also updates and additions to the facilities has shown some major differences.

  • At Bird Haven, typical to the period, plants are placed in pots within the conservatory. At the Garfield Park Conservatory plants were planted in the ground to provide a sense that one is actually in a tropical or other exotic environment. This approach was considered very radical at the time. 
  • Both facilities have been updated over time. At Bird Haven a very large brick structure was added adjacent and connected to the site. I thought this really detracted from the historic integrity. The Garfield Park Conservatory was also expanded - to accommodate groups and catering. In this case a similar glass structure and style was used. So it seems more cohesive. 
  • Updates on the inside of the conservatory were also a bit different - similar to the comment above. Some of the adds at Bird Haven, to me, detracted from the overall design. 




Please enjoy the additional photos.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Midewin Tallgrass Prairie - Restored lands park

Midewin Tallgrass Prairie - July, 2015

Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie has been on my bucket list for a while. It's about an hour and a half from Chicago. That's close enough to have a nice day trip and just far enough to take some planning. 

Thus, when I had the opportunity to take a trip to Joliet area to participate in a charity bike ride, naturally I took a side trip over to see this prairie restoration. 

Despite the near 100 degree weather and thunderstorms - I loved it! Around every turn were wide open spaces, blooms, bugs and a restorative calm. 

This location is the first national tallgrass prairie. It's massive at 19,000 acres, the largest piece of contiguous open space in northeastern Illinois.  The panorama below does little justice to the feeling you get talking around the park.  On this hot hot day - there were hardly any other people there. I felt like an explorer or pioneer woman!

Midewin Tallgrass Prairie - July 2015

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Review Antique Malls: Part 4 - Lake County (Zurko Productions )

This past weekend I had the opportunity to journey to the Antique Show at the Lake County Fairgrounds in Grayslake, Illinois. This is an event run by Zurko Promotions - details of which are on their website (linked here)   A really fun part of summer for me is going to garage sales, flea markets and these outside antique shows. I was super exited to head to Lake Country after a fun girls day to the Sandwich Antique Market just a month earlier. 


Lake Country Antique Show - Photo From Zurko Promotions
I should have taken heart in the photo provided on the Zurko website - that being a very large indoor room with vendors displaying on tables - i.e. not a great deal of larger items like furniture. 

What you see is what you get! Table with lots of costume jewelry, post cards, maps, buttons, bits and pieces. Lots of glassware too. 


There were also about 30 stands outside this main building. Five of which were selling beads - all the same merchandise and same price points. I enjoyed the exterior vendors more - unique furniture, old boxes, garden items. 


Read on the the 4th of my Antique Mall and Fair reviews...

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Review Chicago Antique Mall - Sandwich, IL Antique Fair (Part 3)

Antique Wrought Iron Fencing
I have given a few reviews of antique malls and stores around the Chicago area (link here.) In the summertime there is added adventure to getting to any of a number of larger antique events such as Sunday's at Sandwich Antique Show.  I remember going to an antique market in Sandwich maybe 15 years ago or longer. It was almost too overwhelming and too much to cover in a day.  Today the market is undergoing a bit of revitalization having contracted significantly since my visit years ago. Under new management and a few years into the rejuvenation. I really enjoyed my visit and highly recommend as a day trip.


Friday, June 5, 2015

Designing 360 Degree garden views

Walled Garden Flower Bed
Something my grandmother taught me about flower gardens was that the design needed to consider views from all angles. 

That is a concept that she mastered not only once but many flower beds and all year long too! 

I wish I knew now what she planted and where - but alas, I just recall the beautiful output of all her hard work.

Recently I saw a beautiful flower bed - brilliant despite challenges with sun and water.  In some views there are not so many flowers but a variation in leaf size and plant height creates interest.