Sunday, March 30, 2008

Memorable Water Features

Next month the Garfield Park Conservatory on Chicago's west side turns 100 years old. Growing up in Chicago in the 1960's, the conservatory was a popular spot for grade-school field trips.

Oddly enough, the thing I remember most was how few restrooms there were and how long my class stood in line waiting. When a kid's gotta go, she's gotta go, and apparently that trumps beautiful flowers and mini-rain forests, at least in this former kid's memory. Several decades later, other water features seemed much more memorable.

One of several water features in the conservatory.


And another.


Another view.


The Persian Pool, a lagoon in the Aroid House. The yellow lily pads were created for the conservatory's Aroid House by world-famous glass artist Dale Chihuly.

I had a delightful day with Middle Child last Sunday. I'm grateful for her indulgence during the conservatory leg of our trip, as I took oodles of photos, some I'll share in future posts. I'm glad to say that during this trip to the conservatory, the restroom, home to some necessary but much less interesting water features, was not the most memorable part of my visit.

8 comments:

  1. You sure those class trips and long restroom lines weren't here in New York City? I seem to remember the same thing!

    Love the photos, some day I'll have a water feature (not one you can swim in).

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  2. Wow. A water feature makes any garden just that much nicer. And these are spectacular.

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  3. Just a quick reply to your comment... the grounding of "MN" does not appear to be successful, as it is now "slnaining"...a bizzare combination of sleet, snow and rain. Whaaaa?

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  4. There is something about water features that just draws and soothes me. Outside our 'feature' is a wild pond brimming with plant and animal/insect life, nothing like a fountain or pool...in my office I have this nice copper fountain that I run sometimes because the sound of water is like the sound of classical piano--instantly relaxing. These are wonderful photos, and how nice that Middle Child went with. I'll look forward to your future posts on the conservatory.

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  5. Funny thing is Melanie, although the restrooms have been remodeled, they're still as small as they every were.

    Nancy, Aren't they just gorgeous?

    Jean Ann, I hope it's better today. It seems to have worked here. Mother Nature is cooperating all of the sudden. It's 55 degrees here this morning!

    Jodi, I'd rather have a natural water feature any day! We have our own occasional water feature since our neighbor's willow tree started dying.

    There's a swale across the back of our property that only filled after heavy rain. Now it fills after light drizzle. Mallards now visit and swim in our little stream, and birds drink from its 'banks' and eat the insects the water attracts. Unfortunately it also makes a good mosquito-breeding area too.

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  6. What a treasure is that conservatory, small bathrooms and all. Those yellow lily pads are stunning, what are they made of?
    Frances at Faire Garden

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  7. Maybe there weren't any interesting water features at GPC when you visited on school field trips. As kids are so attracted to water features of any kind, it seems like you would have remembered them.

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  8. Francis, They're actually glass. Aren't they pretty?

    MMD, You may be on to something. I'm sure they've made lots of changes since I was a kid.

    I really don't remember much about the conservatory from childhood. I know I went on field trips, and my mom took me there when I was a kid too. I remember going there, just don't remember much about it except standing in line for the restroom.

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