Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Chicago: A Love Note

Spring in Chicago looks like this:

Spring in Tucson is more prickly.
I have to say, I miss the tulips.
They are not very successful in our Zone... whatever the USDA is calling it these days.
We don't have enough cool hours for the bulbs to fully mature.

The Midwest is just perfect for Holland's most famous export.
The merchants along Michigan Avenue pay to install seasonally fantastic displays along the sidewalk.

 From a distance or up close and personal, they soften the cityscape.
I expect flowers when I stroll through a park.
I love the tingle of surprise I feel every time I stroll down Chicago's upscale shopping district.
Someone took the time to remind me that there is earth beneath the concrete.

I feel the need to say "Thank You."

Little Cuter and SIR live in Boys' Town, a decidedly funkier neighborhood.
Filled with great restaurants and nail salons, several gyms and a hat store dating from the 1800's, there's no lack of nightlife or shopping opportunities. 
A public school sits smack in the middle, right on the main street.  Its parking lot hosts the Saturday Farmer's Market.  I had my first bacon cupcake there, and I mourn the transformation of Jane Addams' Hull House Center* each time I visit.

But mostly I am transfixed by the flowers on every street corner.

It's hard to feel hassled by traffic or the crush of pedestrians when a wrought iron bench puts you in front of this random planter.

Urbs in Horto..... City in a Garden.

It's about the most perfect city motto I know.

*From CBS Chicago Local News.  Here's the link to the whole article.
The original Hull House settlement was displaced by the construction of University of Illinois at Chicago campus in the 1960s, although the mansion remains as a museum on the UIC campus at 800 S. Halsted St.

Afterward, Hull House moved its operation to a former American Legion Hall at 3212 N. Broadway in the East Lakeview neighborhood, which became the Jane Addams Hull House Center.The Broadway facility offered art classes, adult literacy courses, child care and theatre programs to the working class residents of the neighborhood, the Chicago Reader recalled. It also became the home the Lakeview Pantry free food pantry, and several theatre companies, including the Steppenwolf.

But the Hull House Association decided to sell the building in 2002, and it was remodeled to become the fashionable Lakeview Athletic Club.


  1. I love those flowers too--and even in winter, they have the "cabbages" along Michigan Avenue in the medians. Can't wait to see what is planted at the end of May. I will say hi to the flowers for you. xoxo

  2. I love spring! It's one of my favorite times of the year. Everything here is really green and my allergies are in high gear too. But it's worth it.

    Thanks for sharing all the beautiful flowers.

    Megan xxx

  3. You forgot to include in this love note how my neighborhood introduced Dad to the idea of boys wearing skinny jeans :)

  4. Skinny jeans rolled up so that some ankle shows, to be precise!

  5. You should visit Prescott - we have corner planters all through downtown that are just beautiful with flowers in the spring and summer, also hanging baskets of flowers on those same streets bordering the Courthouse Plaza. (I'm not sure if we have any flowers up yet - if there were any already they got battered by last week's 16 inches of snow.)

  6. We haven't made it up to Prescott yet. With this recommendation, I'm moving it up on the list :)

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