A couple weekends ago, Steve and I travelled to Chicago, and took the opportunity to visit the Garfield Park Conservatory.
Parking and admission were both free! We were particularly excited to visit the Desert House and Fern Room. Unfortunately, both were closed during our visit. Thankfully everything was free from the gas it took to get there, so despite the disappointment we did our best to enjoy our visit.
The Aroid House was full of lush plants and there was even a lagoon with koi.
The Children's Garden was really neat, and had the kids been with us I know they would have loved it. Horticulture Hall and the Show House had a lot of pretty stuff too.
Outside, there was a nice display of carnivorous plants. The Drosera spp. were especially gorgeous in the sunlight. Further down the path was a vegetable and fruit garden. Steve took interest in the key limes particularly!
As we continued on, I realised that we were outside of the closed Desert House. Further down the path were succulents! We saw beautiful orange Sedum adolphii and quite a few other species.
Although I love succulents, I have to say that by far the best outdoor area was the Monet Garden. It was like walking through a painting. To add to the experience, as we strolled down the main allée a bunny hopped, bees buzzed, and butterflies fluttered. The weather was absolutely perfect.
Before leaving, we hit up the quaint little gift shop. Proceeds from purchases help fund improvements in the Conservatory (much like the renovations that were being done on the closed areas we were hoping to see, I'm sure!) and such things. The prices for all the items we looked at were extremely reasonable, especially for the plants. There was a decent selection available for purchase, as well as a few for viewing only.
Steve snagged a small egg-shaped terrarium kit with fern seeds for about $3, and I chose an adorable Gasteria spp. (tagged asa Gasteria brevifolia 'Variegata') as well as a nicely sized Euphorbia tirucalli 'Firesticks'. The Fire Sticks were not brightly coloured but that is fine.
All together our purchases were about $16. If we were eccentric millionaires with a spacious mansion I am sure we would have bought out the whole store. There were so many awesome items and cute trinkets.
After our conservatory visit we grabbed some roasted corn and other delicious grub at Taste of Lincolnshire. There was a live band and we had a great time!
We intend to visit the Conservatory again so we may visit the display houses that were closed. I can't wait!