Hobart Garden Club competing at Chicago Flower & Garden Show

Jennifer Strickley, past president of the Hobart Garden Show, shows her “The Four Seasons of Chicago” fairy gardens she created for the Chicago Flower & Garden Show.

This year a creation of the Hobart Garden Club is competing for best of the Window Box Competition at the Chicago Flower & Garden Show, which runs through Sunday at Navy Pier in Chicago.

“We saw that the show was having a window box garden competition for garden clubs so we applied and received permission to enter, says James Pavelka, president of the Hobart Garden Club, noting the Garden Clubs of Illinois chose 15 entries for the contest. “The theme of the Chicago Flower & Garden Show is Garden Tales and all the clubs will have their window box themed gardens on display.”

For the competition, Hobart Garden Club past President Jennifer Strickley designed a fairy garden titled “The Four Seasons of Chicago.”

Describing it as a delightful garden showcasing Chicago’s different seasons, Pavelka says that winter is the first season highlighted.

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“Her winter garden shows ice skating in several city parks,” he says. “The second scene takes place in the spring when people are planting flowers and tending animals. Summer features visitors enjoying the many neighborhood parks.”

Strickley’s last garden season is structured around the National Garden Club's second early reader book, “The Saved Seed: A Journey Through a Seed's Life.” The story, written to educate elementary children about the life cycle of seed plants, follows a smiling pumpkin seed from Halloween through the seasons as it morphs first into a seedling, then a vine and, a year later, a new pumpkin. The book’s illustrations demonstrate how kids can nourish and grow their own pumpkins from simple seeds.

“Jennifer’s fairy garden shows a fall harvest of pumpkins,” says Pavelka, noting a variety of plant materials were used for these landscape, like miniature lime cypress, violas and Gerber daisies.

In the past, Pavelka also has participated in the event, one year creating a three-dimensional quilt therapy floral carpet garden. Another year, he and John Zunica, a violin maker in Crown Point, designed a 6-foot-by-6-foot dollhouse with miniature landscaping called the Fiddle Maker's House and Garden.

“The Flower Show has a long history,” says Pavelka, noting it dates back to 1847 and started off as a flower and fruit exposition. Over the years it’s grown in scope, now it’s about inspiring, educating and motivating the next generation of gardeners and attracts about 40,000 visitors annually.