I had never been to the Chicago Botanic Garden before. Actually, I didn't even know that such a place existed. Part of the Forest Preserve District of Cook County and nestled right off of a major expressway, sits this absolutely fabulous place!
I had specifically chosen Sunday, October 19th to visit because not only would their Farmers Market be set up for visitors BUT the Midwest Fruit Explorers Show & Sell would be happening as well. And that, well, that made my homesteading and self-sufficiency senses tingle. That sounds like a truly enjoyable time to me. Add to that the opportunity to be outside on a lovely day during my favorite time of the year and well, it just can't get any better than that. Oh wait, I got to drink hand pressed, fresh apple cider...that was pretty amazing as well.
The garden is a 385-acre living plant museum. As part of the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, it's flowers, trees and shrubs are there as exhibits for everyone to enjoy.
One of the most amazing things that I learned was they grow fruits and vegetable on site to sell at their Farmers Market.
They also had local vendors there selling their produce, honey/bees wax items and ferments. It is a stunning location to have a Farmers Market.
We got to walk around the Fruit & Vegetable Garden, which is an island located in the North Lake. It was so cool! We got to see how they use cold frames to extend the growing season, how they are utilizing small spaces and vertical gardening in addition to ornamental planting of vegetables. Oh, and the bee hives! It was so neat to see the bees so active.
From the Fruit & Vegetable Garden we made our way to the Model Railroad Garden. I have to admit, I really didn't expect my 10 year old to be into the whole thing. He outgrew his obsession with trains in 1st grade, so I really was expecting him to amuse me about the whole thing. He actually had a lot of fun.
As we made our way through the garden, which was decorated for Halloween, there were garden staff handing out Halloween treats to the kids as they made their way along the path. Both Chris and I though that it was pretty neat how famous places were represented in the garden. We were even able to find places where we had visited, like Mount Rushmore. Will enjoyed all of the pumpkins and the water features.
From the Model Railroad Garden we made our way around the garden to the Regenstein Center. We entered off of the greenhouse, which was a pretty neat experience. But, first, we had to stop by the water, which Will enjoyed greatly.
The Midwest Fruit Explorers Show & Sell was quite interesting. Members from the organization where on hand to explain the different types on fruits and nuts that were on display, and discuss their uses as well as their history.
We got quite a lesson on apples, complete with the true story about Johnny Appleseed.
We had a lovely day at the Chicago Botanic Garden. I am looking forward to going back there again. Hopefully to check out their Winter Farmers Market, the Fruit & Vegetable Garden (again) and the Model Railroad Garden (again)!
You can find out more about the Chicago Botanic Garden by clicking here.