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Garfield Park Conservatory: Volunteering and Tour

Posted by Ron Wolford -

Jerry Hossli has been quite the tour guide and chauffeur during our stay in Chicago's Medical District, and this week was not an exception. This Master Gardener has shipped us to meetings and gardens around the area this past week, and we couldn't be more thankful! One of our stops this week was the Garfield Park Conservatory, where we were able to volunteer and take a tour of the grounds.

We were able to get a little special treatment when arriving with Jerry, and he took us to our work site after introducing us to the volunteer coordinator. We worked in the outdoor space outside of the conservatory for an hour, pulling weeds and beautifying the space before he took us on a tour. We were given a tour of the nine greenhouses behind the facility where extra plants are cared for a stored until they can be put back in their rightful places. Many of these rooms, some containing ferns, cacti, bougainvillea, azaleas, and more, were completely full as a result of construction happening in the conservatory.

Next we traveled outdoors to see the Demonstration Garden, the Labyrinth, and the Carnivorous Plant Bog. We were able to tour the Sugar from the Sun room, full of reading and interactive activities for kids. Everything we saw was exotic, tropical, and impressive in every way. Trees reached as high as the 65-foot ceilings, and we were able to witness the rare Double Coconut Palm sprout! We could have easily spent another two hours enjoying the scenery and natural surroundings.

I absolutely recommend this venue for field trips, family vacations, or a weekend date night. It's free to the public, and many volunteers work hard to make it as beautiful as possible. Plus, admission is free! Our entire experience was beautiful and educational, thanks to Jerry as our guide. We can't wait to go back to the Garfield Park Conservatory!

Shelby & Ilana


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