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The Wicker Park Garden Club is excited and working hard on the COMMUNITY GARDENS IN THE PARKS EXHIBIT for the 2009 Chicago Flower and Garden Show - Navy Pier - March 7 - 15

CONTACT: Doug Wood, WPGarden Club, 2128 W. Evergreen, Chicago, IL 60622 (773) 278-9075

DESIGNERS - Denise Browning, Jim Angrabright, Leslie Zimmerman, Richard Tilley, Amy Brinkman, Susan Fontana, Doug Wood

Community Gardens in the Parks Information:

GARDENS IN THE PARKS - EXHIBIT THEME - The 2009 Chicago Flower & Garden Show highlights garden themes that promote environmental consciousness such as rain gardens, xeriscaping, habitat gardens, roof gardens, non-invasive plants, composting and recycled materials. The Community Gardens in the Parks exhibit has a working title of 'Paradise in a Parking Lot' in reference to Joni Mitchell's lyric - 'they tore down Paradise and Made a Parking Lot.'  The idea here - is that this garden was once a parking lot and it has been recycled into a Community Garden.  Remnants of the Parking Lot are present: asphalt pieces, car stops, parking meters, barricades, and 3 support pillars - towers (from the parking ramp) that serve as living wall components.  The transformation of Parks after gardens are installed in them include – increased public usage, lower crime rates, enhanced community programming, and increased event scheduling – all benefiting the surrounding neighborhood and Chicago at large.  The Wicker Park Garden Club, coordinators of this exhibit, have done this work in and seen these benefits in their west side Chicago neighborhood.

View the complete exhibit and design information here.

 The following greening initiatives have been included in the Community Gardens in the Parks exhibit: 

  • Recycling - Paper and Plant Materials into homemade paper for Kite

  • Sculpture. Also all plants used in the exhibit will be recycled into Park Gardens.

  • Conservation of Water - rain gardens

  • Alternative source of energy - solar panels

  • Conservation of Energy- cooling - Living Walls

PLANT LIST - The plant list includes plants used in this exhibit and the times they are forced in preparation for the Navy Pier Exhibit.  All plants will return to the conservatory after the show and be housed there until they can be moved outside and located in Chicago's Parks.

ARTISTIC COMPONENT:  We are working with Michael Thompson, Chicago Sculptor and incorporating his 3 dimensional and two dimension work. There is a great similarity between the kites and solar panels. The kites would be hung above the exhibit with a solar panel - and work as an extrapolation of the form of the solar panel and add height to the exhibit.  Also, the surface patterns of the two dimension kites provide the patterns used in the plant materials when designing the living walls.

KITE MATERIALS: We will make paper from recycled plant materials and recycled paper to be used on the kites. The volunteers from around the city and children in our children's Park Kids Grow Programs will make the paper and work on the kite constructions during the January to March workshops. We plan to auction the kites to raise funding for the community gardens that participate in the program.

For Details on the Park Kids Grow Project click here.

LIVING WALLS - The exhibit will feature 3 towers that incorporate ETL living wall component - each tower will hold four 20in X 20in panels.  The towers are to be remnants of an old parking structure with downspouts attached to them that feed into the rain garden. Plants that can be used for the walls are included in the plant file

RAIN GARDEN: The topography of the exhibit funnels all water into the rain garden area.  We will feature plants that (for the most part) are hardy to the zone 5 region.

VOLUNTEERS TO GROW PLANTS-INSTALL SHOW-BE DOCENTS AT THE SHOW - We have recruited members of the Community Gardens in the Park groups, Master Gardeners, member of  Wicker Park Garden Club members, and other gardeners from all over Chicagoland to work on forcing the plants and then installing them at Navy Pier.  All Docent will be  given a background in green technology. We will offer a 10 week class in January for learning the principles of forcing and to work Saturdays 10am-1pm in the Conservatories. The yearly Wicker Park Garden Lecture Series (November - April)  is  focused on the topic of conservation and greening.  In addition, we can discuss the topics designed into the exhibit with those who view  it and have materials on hand for economic initiatives given to home owners who incorporate these ideas.

THE LECTURE SERIES – All docents for the show attend this year our November-February Lecture Series focusing on Green Technologies. See Lectures section for more information.

SPONSORS: The Chicago Park District & Parkways Foundation – The Park District is funding plant purchases and conservatory space before and after show as well as support in the techniques of forcing the plants and installing them at Navy Pier.  Parkways Foundation is funding the kite project and artist stipend.  The Wicker Park Garden Club has designed the exhibit, recruited and trained volunteers, and coordinates with Park District personal.,

Many people have contributed to this exhibit, and we'd like to extend our thanks to all that who have contributed to the show

Park District Consultants - The Conservatory Staff:  Mary Eysenbach, Miguel del Valle, Steven Meyer, Unni Koch, John Refetto, Adam Schwerner - Director of Natural Resources

Parkways Foundation Staff:  Brenda Palm, Cameron Robbins

Community Gardens in the Parks and Environmental Staff:  Liz.O'Callaghan, Brendan Daley, Jane Schenck

WPGarden Workshop Instructors - Coordinate with Conservatory Staff:  Doug Wood, Leslie Zimmerman, Jim Angrabright, Denise Browning, Richard Tilley, Larry Clary, Amy Brinkman, Susan Fontana, Vicki Spacko

Paper Making Teachers - WPGarden:  Doug Wood, Denise Browning, Leslie Zimmerman, Amy Brinkman, Petrina Patti

Collaborating Artist:  Michael Thompson, Sculptor

Volunteers – Teachers, Docents, Installers: Click here to download information relevant to preparatory lecture and research materials:

Thanks to these folks and many others for your time and efforts: Jennifer Albom, Jim Angrabright, Elizabeth Bowles,Amy Brinkman, Denise Browning, Ann Cata, Larry Clary, Iris Colon, Anne Comeau, Arielle Corbett, Marni Curtis, Ginny Davis, Laurie Dettmer, Karen Dorff, Arcelia Eschotto, Susan Fontana, Sandra Forkins, Donna Forsberg, Jackie Gaensslen, Sue Gasper, Ann Glapa, Frank Glapa, Susan Goss, Liz Gould, Diane Handelsman, Vanessa Harris, Jerome Hossli, Lianne Howard, Madiem Kawa, Amy Kelly, Linda Khalouf, Marian Koch, Edith Koniecyko, Natalie Koniecyko, Dan Lynch, Eva Mannaberg, Sam Marts, Jalaine May, Rosalie McMenamin, Ruth Melulis, Patsy Mendez, Jane Michalski, Timothy Thilleman, Betsy Minor,Mia Moore, Gloria and Al Needlman, Donna Nelson, Mary Oellrich, Michael Oster, Marilyn Parsons, Petrina Patti, Petrina, Cameron Robbins, Pam Rock, Rolando Salvela, Nancy Schmitt, Brian Shea, Vicki Spacko, John Sweeney, Jacquelene Tanaka, Maureen Taylor, Peggy Thoma, Richard Tilley, Joseph Vallee, Rosemarie Wade, Bonnie Webb, Marilyn Witney, Douglas Wood, Grant Wood, Laura Young, Joyce Yuen, Leslie Zimmerman, Dorothy Zukoski

Call for Volunteers!
We need volunteers to assist with garden tending and watering.

Please contact us at for more information.



Come visit our garden
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Chicago Tribune article about the flower and garden show exhibit


See what Mr. Brown Thumb thumb's blog had to say about the exhibit - with video








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