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Chicago Flower & Garden Show blooms; more green tonight in Michigan City: Adventures in Everyday Living March 19th
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Editor's Blog

Chicago Flower & Garden Show blooms; more green tonight in Michigan City: Adventures in Everyday Living March 19th

If grey skies and 40 degrees don’t match the 70 and sunny in your head, bridge the gap at CFGS, open through Sunday, March 22nd. Also fill your inner green space at Lubeznik and Shoreline Brewery in MC tonight.

The Green Space I’ve Been Yearning For at Navy Pier: Once again the Chicago Flower & Garden Show has come to the rescue in that uncertain period when winter hopefully, finally, maybe, changes into Spring. Thanks to the wonderful hospitality of the folks who run the show I was not only able to get a glimpse at the fabulous displays, but was lucky enough to get a feeling for how much this show has evolved in terms of the level of interactivity and education. Of the 21 displays in the festival hall this year---many with multiple designers and collaborators---three are hosting competitions (horticulture photography, tablescapes and window boxes) and all are informational.

My own top four favorites include the miniature Versailles designed by Connie Rivera and tended by Fabrice Ancel, entitled “Que la Fete Commence,” and styled for a “continental garden party,” by City Escape, at 3022 Lake St. in Chicago. You can contact City Escape at 773.638.2000 and at cityescape.biz. Next, the Gardens of Mackinac bringing a version of the Michigan island into the city, built by Barnwell Landscape & Garden Services and designed by Jack Barnwell of Mackinac.

The exhibit that benefits both Cook County Farm Bureau and Ronald McDonald Charities is called “Serenity in the City: Growing Green for the Body & Soul,” is a replica of a rooftop garden located 16 stories up near Lurie Children’s Hospital, just about a mile away. The spiritual connection garden was designed by Dan and Karen Biernacki and Greg Stack and built by Ted’s Greenhouse in Tinley Park. Brian Helfrich of Aquascape has created a pond, waterfall and fountainscape ecosystem for the show and stocked two of the waterways with schools of goldfish that I could not tear myself away from without making a ham-handed video that I’ve attached. The exhibit, which features a fire pit, multilayered hardscapes, a resort-level outdoor kitchen and wet bar as well as a meditation hut, is an ecosystem in an environment onto itself that took nine days to put together. If you cannot make the show, you can visit Aquascape’s Water Gardening Store called Aqualand in St. Charles, Illinois or online at aquascapechicagoland.com where you will find a schedule of events through Labor Day.

Also worth noting, a weeping garden by Todd Mohr and Rich Eyre along with Tu Bloom Designs and built by Rich’s Foxwillow Pines Nursery, Inc.; a Monarch Sanctuary built by Premier Service in Lemont, Illinois; and a habitat created by Lurvey Landscape of Des Plaines specifically designed to attract birds, bees and butterflies.

Also at the show, culinary demos by Mariano’s starting at 11:30 today and tomorrow, Friday evening by Devon Seafood Grill, along with Harry Caray’s Restaurant Group and the RBA National Cake Decorating Competition all day on Saturday and Sunday. On the gardening symposium side of the stage schedule there are classes on edible gardening, pruning basics, houseplants and terrariums in the lineup. For more information about the show check out chicagoflower.com.

Feed Your Head, Art and Green Drinks in MC Tonight: “Pipelines & Borderlines” and Undiscovered Secrets of Lubeznik starts at 5:30 at the Lubeznik Center for the Arts, 101 W. 2nd St. and then an hour later adjourns to the regularly scheduled green get-together at the nearby Shoreline Brewery. The Lubeznik portion of the program is an open gallery viewing of “Pipelines and Borderlines: People Can’t Drink Oil!” at Lubeznik, which has been host to several green exhibitions from Smithsonian’s “Earth from Space” to the current “Steamroller Printmaking Project” with two incorporated images of the NIPSCO cooling tower. These events are sponsored by Save the Dunes and supported by 219 GreenConnect. Suggested donation is $5 and $2 for students. For further info, call Dennis at 219-874-4076.

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