Back to the Burbs

I spent the day away from RBG today with an early departure to the Chicago suburbs for a morning presentation (“A Passion for Plants”) to members of the Landscape Design Association (LDA).  I grew up in the suburbs (Villa Park, IL) so know how traffic can be around the Chicago area.  My destination was the lovely Friendship Park Conservatory in Des Plaines, IL (just north of O’Hare Airport) and we had a great morning.  My presentation (2 hours) included lots of RBG history, plenty of colorful images, etc. and we talked about how we combine plants and design/prepare our annual beds every year.  My travels were safe in both directions and I enjoyed touring the conservatory as well.  This was my first visit to this venue which also hosts many events, educational opportunities and weddings.

I arrived early enough to walk the surrounding park and saw some neat woody plants in many locations.  I had an interesting morning touring the park as two gentlemen were looking for a lost dog (which I hadn’t seen…yet) and after they departed to continue their search, their dog (all 150 lbs of muscle) came trotting up to me after crossing four lanes of 45 mph traffic. He was a friendly boy but resisted all my efforts to grab his collar for a tag.  He was wet and muddy and soon I was as well.  After about 30 minutes, a conservatory employee joined me and we luckily kept him occupied until the owners circled back to grab him (tears in eyes).  I needed that good karma and was happy the help with the reunion.  Back to work tomorrow to continue ordering and getting ready for a busy spring which includes a Spring Symposium, compost sale, Spring Plant Sale and so much more!  I think my attendees today will be visiting often as the majority had not yet made the trek.

nice paperbark maple (Acer griseum) specimen!

nice cluster of seven-sons-flower (Heptacodium miconioides) with beautiful bark!

nice winter silhouette of weeping European beech (Fagus sylvatica ‘Pendula’)

neat planter for “belly button” height gardening!

the conservatory had lots of color and was very well tended (above and below)

this dried arrangement (near the bathrooms!) tickled my fancy (love the milkweed pods!)

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