Sunday, July 29, 2007

Lil Chitweed in the Big City

I'm back from my visit to the big beautiful city of Chicago, Illinois.

I did not have an internet signal strong enough to allow me to post to the blog with any ease (I lugged my laptop along for just this purpose), but I did have my camera with me to share the sights of the city when I got home.

I went to Chicago for work (poor me), to the Chicago Gift Show at the Merchandise Mart. I finished up the shopping for our Market's Fall and Christmas seasons, and started a bit on Spring '08. This show is always easy to navigate, the displays are wonderful, and the reps who work it are among the nicest people you'll meet anywhere (this goes for the people of Chicago as well...such nice people in general).

I will say the show was not the busiest I've ever seen it. It was almost too easy to navigate...there weren't any buyers I had to wait in line behind at any showroom.

Hmmm... Was it the weather that was, shall I say 'perfect' mid 70's that kept people from the showrooms? Were they busy reading their copies of Harry Potter? (I was so jealous of Hubby sitting in the hallways reading one of our 2 copies as I worked each showroom) Or were they out enjoying the gardens?

Along with the Gift Show, I love going to the City of Chicago in the Summer for a multitude of reasons:

  • The food is fantastic, I've never had a bad meal. (Greek town is always a must, and sushi, and deli, and Tai, and steak, and Italian, and Brazilian, and, and, and...). I gained 4 pounds in the 6 days we were gone...and I walked almost non-stop everyday (in the hotel 'til midnight reading Harry Potter doesn't count).
  • My good friend Steve lives there (Holla! Steve G...)
  • The Magnificent Mile is the place to shop (even if it's only of the window shopping variety).
  • Navy Pier is a nighttime treat (although a hairdo whipped up by the the famous Windy City out on the Pier is a fright to behold).
  • The gardens. (?) Yes, the beautiful gardens.

This purple is a plant I didn't recognize...anyone know it? It's not a reminded me of a non-vining sweet potato plant...sort of)

The gardens are everywhere. They are in front of hotels, restaurants, shops, museums, churches, and city buildings. There are private rooftop gardens we could only see from our hotel windows. Gardens are on top of buildings, along edges of buildings, and filling balconies where people live.

These Hydrangea flowers must have been 10-12 inches across, and were the most beautiful shade of green. They were part of a flower bed we passed while walking to the 'Brazzaz' restaurant.

Gardens line the streets, and are in the middle of streets. There are even gardens in places where people couldn't possibly enter, the gardens are there just because people can see them from other very public places.

There are gardens all along the river. This was a shot I took from a across Wacker Avenue. The people on the tour boat are looking back a a couple getting married on a bridge over the river (I hope the happy couple's photographer had better luck better than me in getting their picture).

Here is the surprise I had this year:

'Allegory', by Theresa North, International Academy of Design and Technology

I just love them!

In the middle of beautiful gardens along Michigan Ave. were these torso dress mannequins.

These gardens were along the Magnificent Mile a.k.a. Michigan Avenue., the shopping Mecca of the City.

A close up of caladiums in another bed along Michigan Ave.

It is a public art installation created by fashion design students from the The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago, and the International Academy of Design and Technology, and well known designers located along the Magnificent Mile. Each torso dressers mannequin is 'planted' in a garden bed and is sponsored by an organization or business in The Magnificent Mile District.

This one is called 'Cultivating Knowledge', by Stanley Smith, Oak Street Design, Loyola University Chicago

There are 30-some torsos all told, I saw about 12 in our evening walks. They are so unexpected, and interesting. The gardens they are set into are colorful, thoughtfully designed to look good from all angles, and well maintained.

For more and much better pictures than mine, check out this website.


  • I go to the big city and get great ideas for my garden? Yep.
  • I go to the big city and find new plants I need to get my into yard, and for the the Market to sell? Yessiree.
  • I go to the big city and decide I need to add a dressers torso mannequin to my garden? Well, no. But it does make me think the unexpected should be a part of every garden...and what I want that unexpected 'something' to be is totally up to me. A lil' bit of the big city, in my lil' garden.


Boston BookEd said...

Great shots! I haven't spent any time in Chicago, so these are good to see. I've heard that city in particular is going greener than most. Boston ain't bad, but surely could take some lessons. And I agree with you - more urban art/garden combos please.

Owin & Irena said...

love the garden torsos. very quirky. sounds like the windy city fits the bill for garden tourism.

Yolanda Elizabet said...

Reading Harry Potter just burns off those calories, doesn't it? ;-)

Thanks for taking me on this lovely trip around Chicago! How wonderful to see so many gardens there. Loved the dresser torsos, great fun! I like a bit of the unexpected in the garden.

chigiy said...

I look like you had a lovely trip. You took some great shots.

ladyluz said...

Really enjoyed your trip round Chicago - a real good read - loved the public art and gardens.