Walking the garden walk(s)

July 14, 2013

If it’s July, it must be time for Chicago’s garden walks:
Sheffield Garden Walk and Music Festival…

My friend and former Chicago Gardener of the Year Laury Lewis is back in the studio to answer gardening questions but primarily to promote the 45th year of the Sheffield Garden Walk and Music Festival, Chicago’s best garden party of the year.

A $7 suggested donation gets you in–$10 after 3pm. What separates this garden walk from others is the full range of activities that are part of the event. In fact, even though there are more than 90 gardens to view, I would guess that most people think about the music when they talk about this weekend. So let’s get right to the lineup for July 20 and 21:

July 20
6:00 pm – Gaelic Storm
3:45 pm – Carbon Leaf
2:30 pm – Archie Powell & The Exports
1:15 pm – Vintage Blue
12:15 pm – The Outfit

July 21
6:00 pm – Big Sam’s Funky Nation
3:45 pm – Flow Tribe
2:00 pm – Funkadesi
12:30 pm – School of Rock

There’s even live big band music at the Little Sisters of the Poor (Belden at Magnolia) provided by Barry Winograd 2-5pm on Saturday and the Alternatives Little Big Band 1-4pm on Sunday.

Among the other treats provided by this festival are kid’s activities, architecture tours, food, drink and a lot of fun. It’s all organized by the Sheffield Neighborhood Association and its more than 450 volunteers. The not-for-profit association provides support for neighborhood schools, local institutions and community projects. In addition, proceeds are allocated to the association’s Beautification Program, a 7 – 10 year plan to maintain Sheffield as the Garden District of Chicago.

Let’s get a list of the events:

Guided garden tours boast some of the most beautiful blossoms in Chicago, including award winners. Tours leave at 3:30 pm Saturday and Sunday from the information booth in front of St. Vincent DePaul Church (1010 W Webster Avenue)  These tours fill up quickly, so visitors are encouraged to sign up in advance.

If you’d rather view the gardens on your own, you can get a guidebook with garden and festival information as well as maps to help navigate the walk. Gardens are open from noon to 5:30 pm.

Guided architecture toursalso leave from the information booth and are offered at 2 and 4 pm on Saturday and 1 and 3 pm on Sunday. The featured sites include the McCormick Row House District—landmark buildings with over 100 years of history—and other Victorian-era wonders.

Kid’s Corner features a ferris wheel, petting zoo, pony rides, face painting stations, arts and craft areas and more. Story Time with the Chicago Public Library, a special visit from the Chicago Fire Department, and various musical activities are all on the agenda for the weekend. Kid’s Corner is located on Kenmore between Webster and Belden and is open from noon to 5:30 pm. Free admission.

Food and drinks are available all weekend from local restaurants like Robinson’s Ribs, Quang Noodle, Derby Bar & Grill, and Beyond Borders Food Truck. Separately, the St. Vincent DePaul church will once again be offering food and drinks and Friends of Mayer will be serving in kid’s corner.

The location is Webster and Sheffield, just one block from the Fullerton El stop. The 11 and 74 buses can also bring CTA-riders to the Sheffield Garden Walk and Festival but for those who drive, 12-hour parking will be available for $6 at the DePaul garage at Clifton Avenue, just south of Fullerton. In addition, bike racks are available on the DePaul campus.

For more information on the 2013 Sheffield Garden Walk & Music Festival, go to www.sheffieldgardenwalk.com.

…and the 55th Dearborn Garden Walk

The Dearborn Garden Walk is the grandaddy of Chicago garden walks, celebrating its 55th year in 2013. There’s always a theme associated with this event, and this year it is the life and works of Nobel Prize winning author Ernest Hemingway. The walk takes place on Sunday, July 21 from 12pm-5pm. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the gate.

So what exactly does it mean to have a Hemingway-themed garden walk? The North Dearborn Association describes it this way:

During the walk, guests will have the opportunity to follow the adventurous and well-documented life and times of Ernest Hemingway as they tour garden vignettes inspired by his life and works. Chicago designers are set to create dramatic outdoor spaces utilizing a variety of outdoor tables, chairs, colorful cushions, linens, floral decorations, and other accessories including fine china, crystal, and flatware. From Cuba, Paris, and Spain with a nod to Oak Park, Illinois, this will certainly be a most spectacular interpretation of all things Hemingway.

As an added perk to the program this year, visitors will also have the opportunity to listen to Hemingway author and scholar Dr. Nancy Sindelar, a member of the Board of Directors of The Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park, Illinois and author of the forthcoming publication, Papa’s Places. Dr. Sindelar will be speaking at dedicated times throughout the afternoon at the Hotel Indigo at 1244 N. Dearborn Parkway. Stuart W. Hubbard, a former Associate Professor of English at the University of Kansas where he taught undergraduate classes on American Literature and Composition and Rhetoric, will be leading an informal discussion on “Ernest Hemingway in Chicago” outlining his early life in and around the city and the effect the area had on his personality and writing. Hubbard’s discussion will take place in the rear courtyard of Hemingway’s former residence at 1239 North Dearborn Parkway.  Access to the courtyard is through the hallway of the building in which visitors will have the opportunity to take a look at a collection of Hemingway memorabilia that will be on display.

By the way, all advance ticket purchasers are automatically entered in drawings for goods and services from neighborhood businesses. Admission includes a Dearborn Garden Walk program with a map for a self-guided tour of the gardens, live jazz and classical music in select gardens, and guided architectural walking tours of historic Dearborn Parkway.

I’m pleased to welcome Greg Hodapp and Woody Olsen. They’ve been involved with the Dearborn Garden Walk for over twenty years, and have co-chaired the event since 1994. For ticket purchase information, please call: 312-632-1241 or visit online at: http://www.DearbornGardenWalk.com .

One more event: The Chicagoland GreenBuild Home Tour

If you’re not particularly into gardening but you do appreciate green living, here’s another event next weekend. The Chicagoland GreenBuilt Home tour is Saturday, July 20 and Sunday, July 21.  This self guided tour will showcase sustainable, healthy homes in Northern Illinois. What’s in store? 16 exceptional, award-winning, and nationally-recognized Chicago area homes which highlight sustainable building practices that are attractive, practical and affordable. All homes on the tour have undergone third-party verification through programs such as: ENERGY STAR for Homes, LEED for Homes, the National Green Building Standard, and Passive House.

During this two-day tour event, you will see how some of your neighbors are living in energy-efficient homes that encourage health and well-being, and learn ways the built environment can contribute to a healthier community. Homes will be open from 10 am – 6 pm both days.

You’ll need to buy tickets online in advance.  And if you are looking for builders, contractors and designers and homeowners they have a list of contractors that were involved in these healthy green homes. Be sure to check out Solar Service, where our very own Lisa Albrecht works as a energy system designer.