Yesterday, I visited the Chicago Flower and Garden Show for the first time. The big exhibit hall on Navy Pier was full of blossoms and greenery. The show gardens were impressive, with waterfalls, koi ponds, fire pits, trees, playsets, garden sheds, and gazebos-- all brought indoors for the week long show.
The structural elements of the gardens were surrounded by flowers from all seasons-- strikingly different than the melting piles of snow outside. Forcing is easy for Spring bulbs, but these gardens had a wide array of plants including tree-sized rhododendrons and crabapples.
Besides the dozen, or so, show gardens, there were demonstrations-- cooking, potting, gardening-- and a "marketplace" where vendors pitched everything from bulbs and cut flowers to home saunas and kitchen devices that slice and dice. The show also had smaller exhibits, like windowbox gardens from various garden clubs.
Rather than drive all the way to Chicago, I took the South Shore Line (or the NICTD, its less- charming modern name) from Michigan City, IN to downtown Chicago. The train was on-time and was much easier than driving through heavy traffic. The round-trip fare, at $17, cost less than parking and tolls. This was another first for me and I would do it again.
I teach economics at Kalamazoo College. My wife is also an economist. We were on sabbatical in Europe for the 2014-15 academic year. (Salamanca, Spain, followed by Oxford, UK.) We were in Uruguay for the 2006-7 academic year.