Around the second Tuesday in July, the weather channel becomes our viewing choice. The weather feature on our very smart phones are clicked more often than our text messages, often while on our knees praying to the garden gods for decent weather. There is always a storm with thunder and lightning and downpours during the second week of July. This is actually appreciated on Wednesday or Thursday, for the storm (as long as there aren’t strong winds) affords free and much-needed moisture and the lightning does whatever the magic of lightning is. It charges leaves to grow bigger and greener and stronger.
By the second Friday, we are on a first name basis with our favorite weather person (mine is Tom Skilling) and we really start to fret and fuss. An unspoken cone of silence hovers around the members of the Elmhurst Garden Club as bubble balloons of barometric thoughts hover over our heads.
The gardens are checked by committee members, and the chair of the Faire in the park grows anxious as spaces are marked, and remarked, and the hope of a good day increases with the summer heat.
The homeowners are on high-anxiety; visiting garden centers for one more (or ten) plants to put here or there – and what about the weather? The rain, if it comes, is good early in the week and it does provide free watering, the soil is wet and soft so weeds are easier to banish from the landscape (at least until they turn their backs, for every gardener knows how weeds like to hide and then poke their impudent heads when someone comes over) – just no rain, please, late in the second week of July.
By the second Saturday in July, the die is cast – hopefully not overcast – and we do, in whatever our manner, pray for good weather for the second Sunday in July.
This Sunday, July 10, the garden gods truly did shine upon us! It dawned a most perfect day for the Elmhurst Garden Walk and Faire.
The vendors, club members, vendor chair Georgia and Elmhurst Park District employees were already busy as the clock showed 6 am. Have you ever seen an outdoor fair arise at the crack of dawn? It is really a sight to behold.
By the time the bells tolled nine from the churches along Cottage Hill and surrounding streets, much of the Faire was readied, while at the seven featured gardens, the homeowners were putting the last finishing touches in their gardens, as well as setting tables, tuning in music and working the most amazing garden magic, while members of the club set up ticket tables, and cars began to arrive, ticket holders eager to see what there was behind the garden gates.
Oh, yes, dear readers, this year dawned with the best weather imaginable for the 21st Elmhurst Garden Walk and Faire. It was an amazing event, with gardens large and small, whimsical and romantic, from resort amenities to urban farm. Most of these photos are from the day of the Garden Walk, though a few are from the preview walk (for homeowners to see each other’s gardens and members of the club to see the gardens if they are working on the day of the event).
These are two friends I admire and have learned so much from, on the day of the preview walk. They look like they know a secret, just inside that lush arbor.
This entire garden (right) is vegetables, anaerobic and aerobic composting, and more. Much more. The family is involved in the entire operation – a truly remarkable farm to table cottage industry – all in their city-sized back yard. This photo was taken two weeks prior to the walk. The corn was several feet taller on the day of the walk. The bed to the left is potatoes of several varieties, now underplanted with arugula. Turnips, carrots, garlic, leaf vegetables, tomatoes . . . and they sell their produce curbside once a week.
This garden, below, was a delight – and the gardener delightful. I am always in awe of those who learned Latin – and remember it. In June, he had more than 250 Allium bulbs in bloom – and yes, he could properly name them all.
It was a good day for gardeners, nature enthusiasts, artists and art buyers alike. The garden gods shined down upon us on the second Sunday in July and it will keep on shining as the actual proceeds are counted and we allocate the funds from this year’s walk with scholarships and local endeavors.