Tuesday, April 28, 2009

When Garden Geeks Get Married

Apparently I'm somebodies wife as of Friday April 17th, 2009.

The ceremony took place at the Oak Park Conservatory which is about 5 minutes from my house.

When we were trying to decide where to get married, there were really only two places that we even considered. One was the Unity Temple in Oak Park and the other was the Oak Park Conservatory. Both are in our community (keeping things local really appealed to my inner-hippie) and both quite lovely for completely different reasons.

The Unity Temple is a smallish Unitarian church designed by famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Because we are an inter-faith couple we really appreciated the symbolism of the Unitarian church (embracing and celebrating diversity) and even though I'm not exactly and architect aficionado, I could totally see myself bragging to all my friends that I'd gotten married in a historical church designed by FLW. But, when I walked into the Oak Park Conservatory, I knew that was the place.

If you know me at all, you'll know that nothing terrifies me more than the thought of people sitting on pews staring at me wearing a big white dress. The Oak Park Conservatory was the perfect size and atmosphere for people to be standing with us instead of staring at us which is what we both wanted. It was the perfect canvas for our perfect day.

If you love gardens and you are getting married I'd recommend checking out your local conservatory. It's like having an outdoor garden wedding without the risk of the weather ruining everything. We were surrounded by beautiful sweet-scented flowers. My favorites were the giant snapdragons that you see in the pictures. The deep red ones were amazing against the lighter pastel colored ones. The other nice thing was that our our guests were able to roam through the other garden rooms before and after the ceremony which kept them occupied with no effort on our parts.

I also loved that the flowers in the conservatory served as instant free decorations for our ceremony and obviously made a beautiful backdrop for our pictures. Spending a million dollars on flowers to decorate a church that would then be discarded just seemed so wasteful to me. This way we were able to use what was already at the conservatory and our very reasonable rental fee went to support the conservatory which made me feel good, too.

In case you're wondering, the wedding was lovely. We had 10 guests and besides the part where I started crying hysterically while trying to say my vows (like ugly-face crying where I had to say "can you please give me a moment") which started a chain reaction of crying which included grandfathers and photographers, everything was just perfect. Our dinner reception was right down the street from the Oak Park Conservatory at Philander's Restaurant in the Carleton Hotel. They were great to work with and I'd recommend you check them out for dinner, or your private party.

Did you get married in a conservatory or an outdoor garden? How was it? I'd love to hear about it. And you know me, I love the funny ones so please let me know if there were any storms or bee stings!

garden photos courtesy of Shannon

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Macy's Flower Show, Belatedly

2009_0403image0052 First off, I'd like to publicly apologize to Macy's for being such a slacker loser and not posting my review of your fab flower show until way after it's all over. You see, what had happened was...I was getting married and ...I had a lot of work to do at work and ...I'm planning this Garden Blogger's Spring fling thing and um...there's the community garden and the remodeling and something about a dog...and I'm sorry as I can be.

2009_0403image0039 Wanna know how you get a garden geek to look at cute dresses and cool jewelry? Put a wig made from roses on it, that's how! Is this awesome or what?

Besides the fact that these rose-wig-wearing mannequins were sitting in the middle of a beautifully arranged garden, the lighting at this display was amazing and I believe it was responsible for grabbing the attention here. Sexy.

Macy's flower show theme was "Welcome Back Color" and I gotta say I really was so happy to see the color in their displays when we previewed their show back on April 3rd. Sure, I went to the Chicagoland Flower & Garden Show last month but as much as I loved most of the displays there, they were trying to be all artsy-fartsy and this was just manure-free jaw-dropping out right pretty-ness which any girl can appreciate.

2009_0403image0071 The flower show was drenched in these loud vibrant colors and I don't know if they planned it this way (and I forgot to ask) but the colors in the gardens and on the mannequins did a great job of drawing out the merchandise in the area with complementary colors which made me want to buy huge bright blue so-not-me bags and so forth. Great job marketing, Macy's!

2009_0403image0019 Despite the rose wigs and the loud colored mannequins, nothing topped the gaudiness of the pink flamingos found all throughout the show. Garden Girl, MrBrownThumb and I nearly out right begged to take these giant topiaries home where we'd proudly display them in our yards because, well, they're cool and who cares?

I hope you had a chance to visit the Macy's Flower Show this month. If you did, I'd love to hear what you thought of it. And if you didn't, I bet you've got some tulips of your own blooming by now. I know I do!

Thank you Macy's for the private tour. The show was beautiful and it was great to learn about all the hard work that goes into the planning and execution of this type of event. Outstanding work!

If you'd like to read more about the Macy's Flower Show please visit GardenGirl and MrBrownThumb who both reviewed the show on their blogs.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Zero Emissions Lawn Equipment, Here I Come!

Now that I'm hip to the green movement it really pains me to use my nasty, gas powered weed trimmer because I'm fully aware of the damage I'm doing to the environment. Not to mention, sometimes I have such trouble just getting it started (curse those string cranks!) that I just put the thing away and storm in the house to pout, never having cut a single weed. Well, those days are over (hopefully)!

Environmental rant: Did you know that, until recently, emissions from this type of equipment were completely unregulated? Because of that, using one of these gas-powered pieces of equipment actually produces way more pollution than you would on a cross-country drive to your favorite grandma's house in your full-sized bad-gas-mileage-getting automobile.

The nice folks over at Troy-built sent me this fancy new zero emissions battery operated trimmer to try. I plan to try it side-by-side against my old gas-powered Homelite trimmer then tell you all the gory details here.

Side note: we just had another snow storm a few days ago so while I'm anxious to try this new equipment, I'm starting to wonder if Mother Nature is planning to just skip Spring and Summer all together this year.

Are you a zero-emissions lawn equipment convert? Or have you tried them and hate them? I'd love to hear about your experience.