Category Archives: Events

Chicago Events This Weekend (and next), 5/5 – 5/13

If you can make it to Wicker Park this weekend, visit the actual Wicker Park (field house) where they’ll be having a plant sale Saturday 5/5 & Sunday 5/6. Proceeds benefit the Wicker Park Garden Club’s maintenance of 10,000 sq. ft. of gardens within Wicker Park itself and the garden club’s 7 month lecture & workshop series (Saturday’s lecture is on raising chickens).

I walked the pup to Wicker Park today and it’s beautiful right now- the gardens are lush with greenery, white iris are in full bloom, and birds are singing. The garden club is setting up the plant sale today and they have a great mix of annuals, perennials and veggies. Gardening experts are on-hand to give advice on the best plants for your garden.

This weekend at Navy Pier is Green Festival 2012, an event dedicated to sustainable economy, ecological balance, and social justice. If you happen to subscribe to email updates from the Organic Consumer’s Association, check your inbox for a code to get into the festival for free (otherwise tickets are available at the door).

Version Fest  kicks off its big first weekend in Bridgeport with a blend of pop-up shops and rotating list of food trucks. Version 12 lasts for the full month of May in the Bridgeport neighborhood. Don’t miss Enoch’s Doughnuts, I wrote a blog about them a couple months back and according to their Facebook page they sell out fast.

Last event for this weekend is gazing at the “super moon” on Saturday night. It’s everywhere in the news but you might have needed a reminder. Chicago’s looking pretty cloudy so you might have to use your imagination on this one.

Next weekend you don’t want to miss THE CITY’S ANNUAL FREE PLANT GIVEAWAY!

Second TulipMania! and Mother’s Day Plant Sale
Saturday, May 12 and Sunday, May 13
Hours: 10 am – 3 pm
Where: Garfield Market Gate (on Central Park Ave, just north of the Main Lobby entrance)
Cost: Tulip bulbs are free!

Every spring, the City of Chicago and Chicago Park District pull all of the tulips from downtown and Chicago parks to replace them with warmer season plantings. TulipMania is an event that recycles these bulbs so they can be distributed to the public for free. Tulip bulbs are given on a first come, first served basis. They go fast, and the line begins to form early. Tulip bulbs are given away in mixed bags and yours may include varieties like “Maggie Daley,” “Rococco Parrot,” “Princess Irene,” and more!In conjunction with the tulip bulb giveaway, the Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance is hosting a Mother’s Day Tropical Plant Sale in the Garfield Market Place, which will include a variety of tropical houseplants, succulents and a limited supply of garden seedlings. There will also be Hail Storm Glass pieces by artist Beth Berger Martin on sale to raise funds to rebuild after last summer’s hail storm. All plant sale proceeds benefit the Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance’s programming and aid in the reconstruction efforts.

Weekend Recap: Pretending It’s Spring

The first official day of Spring is over a week away, but don’t tell that to this weekend. It’s been a gorgeous weekend in Chicago, especially compared to rest of the week which I spent in the Upper Peninsula of MI.

Yesterday was major grocery shopping day. If you’re in Chicago and are not familiar with Stanley’s Fruit & Vegetable Market on North & Elston, for sure check ’em out. The store is divided into half organics and half conventionals. Most of the organics are so affordable you can even buy them in bulk without going broke. Check out their spinach- longest spinach stems I’ve ever seen in my life!

Whole Foods surprised me with cartons of these bright organic sweet peppers (grown in Florida) for only a couple bucks each. I’ll be trying out this pickled pepper recipe tomorrow. Refrigerator pickles in March!

We still managed to spend about $200 in groceries yesterday, so needless to say we didn’t leave the house today. I spent a few hours on the roof (and yes, it was the first day of the year that I wore sunscreen) prepping soil and even putting in a few potatoes that had started sprouting in the kitchen. Last year I grew potatoes in regular round plastic planters and they did great. I didn’t even buy seeding potatoes, I used what was emerging from my pantry! It’s quite early for planting, but potatoes like the cold and I can always carry them inside if we get extended freezing. If you have kitchen scraps or manure, throw them in a pot and cover with your potting soil. Spuds thrive in the gunky junk. Here are some other potato planting tips.

Last year’s strawberry plants are sprouting up and the roses are pushing through their burlap winter coats. It will be interesting to see how this early warmth will affect the garden. I don’t imagine the harsh weather is over yet, so I’ll have to keep my hands out of the dirt for awhile longer. But today sure felt good!

Next weekend I’ll be checking in from the Chicago Flower & Garden Show at Navy Pier.


4 Surprising “Green” Chicago Websites

1. The above picture isn’t a mockup of some lofty futuristic eco-architecture. It is now and it’s Chicago’s City Hall. If you’ve never explored Chicago’s Green Roofs project, you’re in for some surprises. For instance, did you know that nestled in that photo above are beehives that produce salable honey? If you’re curious about which city rooftops are green (or where to buy some of that honey) check out the city’s Green Roofs page or take your binoculars up to the Skydeck of Willis Tower and see for yourself.

2. A little more visible from our vantage point are the city’s Green Alleys projects. Chicago’s Department of Transportation began the green alleys pilot project in 2006 and renovated more than 100 alleys by 2010. What is a green alley? Check out the city’s comprehensive and well-illustrated Green Alley Handbook. Who knew your back alley could be a marvel of modern eco engineering. By the way, there’s a lot more to these alleys than just pretty landscaping. Take a look.

3. Being a relative newcomer to Chicago, I was very pleasantly surprised by the city’s incredibly progressive Sustainable Backyard Program. Residents can get cash rebates from the city for buying rain barrels, compost bins, native plants and trees from local retailers. A great way to help the environment while supporting local business and spending more time outdoors. Unless extended, the rebate program runs until 12/31/2012 so make this your year for creating a more sustainable backyard. Oh, and if you’re a retailer wanting to learn more about getting involved with the rebate program, consider attending the upcoming workshop on March 1st.

4. Finally, to learn more about any green & growing topic imaginable, check out the list of free and low-fee workshops offered by the Chicago Center for Green Technology. Learn about anything from how to install green countertops to finding out how the city uses vegetable oil from local restaurants to produce biofuel. Their building also contains a staffed resource center and free exhibits throughout the year.

Big Weekend for Wicker Park… Renegade Style

At llam this morning the 2011 Renegade Craft Fair opens in Wicker Park. I personally think this will be one of the best events of the year in Chicago. Here’s why:

“Chicago’s biggest and best indie-craft event will feature over 300 of today’s brightest makers of handmade goods, live entertainment, hands-on crafting workshops and so much more! Food, beverages and libations will also be available! At the Renegade Craft Fair you can expect to find only the best indie-craft and DIY artisans! Featuring both local and national talent, shoppers can anticipate a vast array of independently designed jewelry, clothing, paper goods, home + garden goods, posters, artwork, plush objects, bath + body products, and so much more!!”


Update re: New Urban Grower Chicago Store

Just a quick update this morning before heading out to Taste of Chicago. I was contacted yesterday by the folks at the new Urban Grower store on North Ave. They will not be having their grand opening until mid July. If you marked June 28th on your calendar, scratch that and check their website for updates. They are only having a soft opening this week. Hey, can we get in on that?

Here’s my completely unsolicited wish list for their rooftop supply stock. Anybody care to add anything?

  • Happy Frog potting mix
  • Fox Farm granular fertilizers
  • Regional native seeds
  • Micro irrigation supplies
  • Cold frame kits
  • Vermicomposters

Hope you don’t mind that our gardening fantasies are running wild at your expense, UGC. It’s just that those of us in Wicker Park are thrilled to have an alternative to that gigantic orange store right down the road from you. Best wishes on your GRAND opening!

“Seedlings 4/29/11″ – Upcoming Chicagoland Events

  • This Saturday is the Green & Growing Fair at Garfield Conservatory. The winner of One Seed Chicago will be announced! One Seed Chicago’s website says: “The fair runs from 10:00am – 2:00pm. Garden activities for kids, demos, green & sustainable vendors, plant seedlings for sale, food, music and garden fun for the whole family!” Free admission.
  • This weekend is also the Midwest Daffodil Society Show at Chicago Botanic Garden. Saturday April 30, noon – 4:30 p.m. and Sunday May 1, 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • Saturday is mulch day at the Wicker Park proper. Here’s the info as posted by Alisa over at
    Registration Required at, sign in When You Arrive on Saturday, April 30 – 9am-1pm. Wicker Park – 1425 N. Damen. Mulch the trees in the Park, Learn the basics of mulching for good tree health and give back to your neighborhood park.
    Bring Gloves; Wear Closed Toed Shoes and Cloths that can Get Dirty.
  • AND another opportunity to get dirty: “Chicago Together – Day of Service 2011” is coming up on Saturday May 14th from 9am – 12pm. Reserve your spot on their website. Lots of sites around the city to volunteer doing clean up, garden prep, etc.
  • Planning ahead: World Fair Trade Day – Daley Plaza, May 6th; GreenFestival – McCormick Place, May 14th-15th;                                     Muscoda Morel Mushroom Festival – Muscoda, WI, May 14th-15th

Do you know of a Chicagoland gardening or green related event? Leave a message or comment and I’ll add it to the next edition of Seedlings.