The Garfield Park Conservatory, another side of Chicago

We are back from Lake District where we had an amazing time, but we still need to sort out all the pictures we took ! The weather was fabulous, so .. I let you imagine the number of pictures that are involved in this process ;-) ! I will therefore post more pictures about our previous trip to Chicago that took place during summer 2013 while I’m sorting out the new ones :-)

So back in time, we spent two days in Chicago, and even if I really enjoyed seeing all the architectural wonders or visiting the coolest fountain of the world, I have to admit that the visit of the Garfield Park Conservatory was also a highlight of this trip ! I don’t think this is the kind of destinations that is featured on the bucket list of people travelling to Chicago, but to me, it’s really a gem of the Chicago’s suburb. But I have to confess something… I’m crazy about botanical gardens, parks, spring gardens…  everything that involves flowers, so obviously, we HAD to go there (so… I may be a bit biased ;-)) !!! Admission is free, even if a donation is highly recommended.

This conservatory was built in the beginning of the twentieth century and houses today thousands of plant species that are on display throughout eight rooms. The Palm room is very impressive as it includes so many different species of palm trees as well as other tropical species. The Fern room is also very nice and when we visited the conservatory, there was some Chihuly artworks on display in this room :-) This artist is amazing, and one day, I really have to share pictures of his exhibit in Seattle with you.

For people from Chicagoland, it could be interesting for you to know that for Earth Day (April 22), the room that has been destroyed by the terrible hailstorm of 2011 will be reopened. I think it’s worth a visit ;-)

We also walked through the Oak Park Historic District. We passed in front of different houses designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and we even saw the birth home of Ernest Hemingway

It was the end of the day, so we didn’t manage to visit anything but walking in this area was nice enough. I’m a bit ashame to admit that before this trip, I’ve never heard about Frank Lloyd Wright :-( I was really surprised to heard that he was considered as one of the founder of modern Architecture. I quite love the colours of the first house in the gallery below. I could imagine these colours for my future house ;-)

Our visit of Chicago was great, we loved the city ! And the road trip around the Great Lakes was amazing. I hope to be back one day ! It was really a charming part of the US, so different from the West, but as enjoyable, in a different way :-)

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71 responses to “The Garfield Park Conservatory, another side of Chicago

  1. I can see that you love flowers! What a wonderful collection on your sidebar. And I see you like visiting conservatories / glasshouses as much as I do. I love Chihuly’s work, would dearly like to see it for real, but so far I have only seen examples on blogs. An extraordinary sculpture. And thanks for all the visits to my blog – they are much appreciated.
    Jude xx

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  2. I’m also crazy about botanical gardens and conservatories. Mt Coot-tha in Brisbane is one I particularly enjoy. I love to see the highly unusual plants in particular. Thanks for sharing this interesting collection! I also enjoy architecture so the buildings were a bonus. :-)

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  3. The conservatory is so nice! (We went when it was frigid in December so it was a great break from the cold). I wish I’d seen the Frank Lloyd Wright houses while I was there, but you can only do so much unfortunately!

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  4. Wow, I am definitely adding this to my Chicago list! I’ve never been, but I really want to visit. This looks like a must see, especially for nature lovers. :)

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  5. Thanks for your bias to the flowers, quite beautiful place and certainly it gives to Chicago another image to the usual of the buildings and the river. About Frank Lloyd Wright usually his two most appreciated landmarks are Kaufmann Residence or fallingwater, a design that modified the way to make architecture where the home is flying above a little waterfall in middle of a forest; and the Guggenheim Museum of New York, a white building that is like a natural cyclone in middle of the city. He’s with Louis Kahn (another US citizen) my favorite architect.

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    • I didn’t even know the two most appreciated landmarks of FLW :-( No wonder why it didn’t ring any bell at that time :D

      I’ve googled the places, and it looks indeed very spectacular. I can see why his work is appreciated. The little house above the waterfall is gorgeous. Everything fits well together. As for the museum in New York, the inside is stunning !!!

      Concerning Louis Kahn (I’ve learnt so much this morning, I had to google it as well !!!), I’m not such a big fan. It’s a bit too “massive” for me. It’s not flowing, I don’t know how to explain. I love how FLW’s work fits in the environment but for LK, you can’t miss it. It’s striking out. So… It’s less appealing to me :-)

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      • It’s ok to don’t know, instead I should made a disclaimer: I know about them because I studied architecture ;-)
        If you like flowers perhaps you could find interesting Tadao Ando’s Awaji Yumebutai, and if you like integration with nature perhaps the designs of Legorreta could have a happier architecture, although they are massive, and that’s because I like strong messages in design. Thanks so much for actually searching, I feel a bit guilty because we are in middle week and sure the time, your time, in internet is always short. Greetings.

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  6. When I think of the Garfield Park Conservatory, I think of the Chihuly glass nestled in all the plant life – isn’t it a great combination?! When his pieces were first put there, there were many more, and it was an amazing exhibit. We are lucky to keep some of them permanently. I commend you for venturing out of the city to see the conservatory and Oak Park!

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    • When we were there, they were struggling to keep this few pieces of Chihuly glass because it costs so much money. I hope they will have enough donations to keep the few remaining pieces.

      Like you, I think Chihuly art pieces fit perfectly amongst the vegetation :-)

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  7. Beautiful job on the pictures! The pink flower is absolutely gorgeous!! Looks like an amazing place. I’m sure it was lots of fun :) x

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  8. I have been to Chicago countless times (and even went to college right there), but I haven’t been to any of these places! I think I may have to put them on the to do list!

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  9. Flowers and fabulous buildings – love it!! You are definitely selling me on Chicago. Looking forward to your Lake District posts too – we were at Windermere on Monday, the sunshine makes all the difference!!

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  10. We love to see FLW’s architecture. We need to get over to Oak Park, as that was an important piece of his history. We will also have to check out Garfield Park.

    When you were in Grand Rapids, did you get to see Frederik Meijer Gardens? If not, check out my November 9th post on it.

    Jim

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  11. What a beautiful Botanical Garden. The houses look very cute, like they are from another era. They look too beautiful to step foot into. Can you actually go inside? Great close-up shots of the flowers. They are very pretty. I like Botanical Gardens too but I try to avoid visiting them in the middle of spring since I get very bad hayfever! Pity, because that’s when the flowers bloom beautifully :D

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    • It’s possible to visit the Frank Lloyd Wright museum, and to take an audio tour around in order to have explanation about all the houses designed by him, but I don’t think you can enter in them, it’s private properties. You can visit the birth home of Ernest Hemingway as it has been converted to a museum as well.

      Oh, it must be terribly annoying to suffer from hay fever. Have you suffered from it your whole life or is it recent ?

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      • Visiting the home where Hemingway was born sounds very, very cool. That would be an honour since he’s a great author.

        Hayfever has been something I’ve had for my life. It must be in the genes as my dad has it too. The days to really avoid going near flowers are the windy spring days! :D

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  12. How fascinating to see Frank Lloyd Wright’s Nathan G. Moore House – the pre-1900 original with the 1920s remodelling. So interesting to have a domestic residence revamped by the original architect 20 years later. And what an architect! Lovely photo can really see the details.

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