This weekend my dear friend Maria and I headed over to the Chicago Botanic Gardens to check out the Antiques & Garden Fair.
My dad's bank, the wonderful Northern Trust (plug), has been hosting the event for years and has never once mentioned it to us. To think that we could have been enjoying all the beautiful inspirational sights and SHOPPING this whole time. But no, I had to find out about it in my favorite mag, Country Living (another plug) years later. Antique stores and florists from all over the country come in with their merchandise and set up in tents in the center of the grounds. Admission in to the gardens is free but tickets for the tent were $15 - unless your dad works at the bank - then they're free! Which was a very good thing since parking was $20. It was so worth it though. There were tents and tents of vendors. We actually got lost several times.
bad attempt to show the tents - total afterthought
I wish I had taken more pictures. I had the intention of taking a ton of pictures to share with everyone but I was enjoying myself so much I forgot all about my camera....so I must confess I just shot a few pictures on my way out. Also a note about the pictures - I am not a good photographer and I do not have a good camera so carry-on with low expectations.
One room we entered was centered around this midsummer's picnic (well that's what I labeled it). A very long low table was placed on grass with pillows and blankets surrounding. It was casual , comfortable and yet elegant. You can kind of see the urns filled with large baguettes and all the rich, full outdoor plants. I pictured it set out in the middle of a garden at dusk. All the guests sitting around, eating, talking, laughing with lots of wine of course and as the sun falls and the night darkens it is illuminated by large candles in lanterns and perhaps a large tree strung with lights. Of course it was displayed in a brightly lit, standard room so use your imagination.
Here's Maria modeling it for me. We decided that we would like to use this as inspiration for an English Garden Tea Party! I will be back later this summer to let you know all the details for that event. Now that I shared it on the internet I have to follow through on this party - and that is what I call blog accountability. I hope it works.
Here is another pretty scene. I love the old, beautiful window frames tat were turned into a gorgeous trellis structure. Another thing that I want to replicate in my own yard is the random, full foliage. Nothing seems planned or placed or too neat and linear - it feels wild. Not in a nasty, overgrown way but in a cozy cohesive way. Well you may not get that from this photo - but that was what I got from it.
An orchid arrangement in a hall leading from one tent to the next.
I think this was my favorite florist at the event. I couldn't get great pictures because the booth was so crowded but he made wonderful arrangements from people passing by - I have never seen such huge, beautiful flowers. Unfortunately we weren't able to snag a free bouquet but we had fun watching him create. Each one was gorgeous. He had a lot of my favorite flowers too. Ranunculus, peony, and hydrangea oh and a beautiful, unique rose which I had never seen. I am definitely going to the garden center next weekend and picking out some rose bushes and even a climbing vine rose I think. I wish we could grow ranunculus in Chicago - at least I have a lot of peonies that are blooming soon!!
After some shopping in the various antique booths and buying a few small things each we decided to head out and tour the grounds and enjoy the sun. We first came upon a walled english garden which is my absolute favorite thing.
It is early spring so not too many things are blooming yet but you get the general idea. That blue door inspired us enough to initiate a mini photo shoot - very senior class photo-esque!
Yeah....we're dorky but I am totally in love with that door! It would be so fun for engagement pictures or wedding pics or even a family photo. I highly suggest checking out the Chicago Botanic Gardens (plug again) if you are in need of a) a great date b) a girls trip c) are engaged or planning on proposing d) a day with the family (there were lots of little kiddies running around) or e) just a reason to go
Well before I go I will leave you with a few pictures from our walk back to the car.....