One of the great perks of getting to go on a tour for my latest book is the ability to visit different cities around the country and have some downtime to visit the conservatories and botanical gardens. Out of all my travels over the years, Chicago was never on the list. Of course, when I visited The Windy City, it was literally the rainiest day on record since 1943. (Perhaps a more apt name at that moment could have been The Rainy City).
Soggy conditions didn't dampen my mood, however, and I made sure I landed nice and early at O'Hare so that I could fit in visits to both the Garfield Park Conservatory, for which this blog post is dedicated to—and the Lincoln Park Conservatory, which will be the topic du jour in a subsequent post.
Going to Chicago in March is a crapshoot, but going to Chicago in March during the rainiest day in recent history means that I only got to check out the indoor components of the conservatory. The outdoor gardens are nearly six times larger than the indoor ones, but believe me: there is plenty to see in the greenhouses! As a matter of fact, I completely ran out of space on my camera, which didn't even happen when I went to the forests of Costa Rica. Sure, I was killing some time, but I tell you: this was one of the more beautiful spaces that I've seen; and best yet—it was free (donations accepted) to attend, as it's part of the Chicago Parks System, making it even that much more special. I would add this to your "Must See" Conservatory list; and I just found out I'll be going back to Chicago in the summer months, so hopefully in a few months time, I'll be posting more photos from the outdoors. Hope you enjoy the virtual tour of 200+ images! 🌿
Cacti at Garfield Park Conservatory
Rows of pastel hues lined the glass walls and center aisle of the Conservatory's cacti and succulent room. There were ample specimens to ogle over.
Flower Room, Garfield Park Conservatory
The blossoms in this room were most impressive. The pinks and reds were almost "too much" for the eyes. I thought my pupils needed to adjust to the barrage of color until I overheard another passerby say the same. Too much of a good thing? I'll let you decide...
Aroid House, Garfield Park Conservatory
Philodendrons, Anthuriums, and Monsteras—oh my! I got to discover many new varieties of Aroids, which I hadn't had a chance to see at other conservatories. So step inside and see a little of what I saw!
Fern Room, Garfield Park Conservatory
Someone shared that the Fern room at the Garfield Park Conservatory was built in the 1930s. Admittedly I'm typing this and have not checked on that statistic, but my golly—if that's the case—well done to those who had constructed it. It was by far my favorite room of the entire Conservatory: lush, verdant, and intoxicating!