Monday, June 28, 2010

Cantigny in June

The fireflies arrived in number last week, and so have tiger lilies in patches along the streets and in yards. Dragonflies flit around and mosquitoes focus on their targets. The Summer Triangle rides high in the sky during the few hours of dark, because the days are long. The sunshine bears down on us and the air steams. High summer has come.

June has also been a Rain Month this year, inspiring a lush landscape all around. So we figured it would be a good time to visit Cantigny, former estate of Col. Robert R. McCormick, a newspaper owner (the Chicago Tribune) back when that meant something. Namely, that Col. McCormick was wealthy enough to have a sprawling estate in then-rural DuPage County that's now a museum and garden.

It's an incredible garden. Or rather, 22 individual gardens on about 30 acres. But it wasn't that way during the colonel's residence: "In the 1930s, experimental farms served as practical laboratories," notes the Cantigny web site. "These laboratories tried new species of plants, tested theories of planting and harvesting, and investigated new practices in raising productive farm animals. One of the most successful experimental farms was Col. McCormick’s at Cantigny.

"After McCormick’s death in 1955, the Board of Directors decided to change Cantigny's focus from agriculture to horticulture by hiring famed landscape architect Franz Lipp to design and build a world-class garden. In 1967, Lipp began construction of this horticultural masterpiece, which is one of the largest display gardens in the Midwest with more than 160,000 annuals, perennials, ground covers and flowering shrubs and trees."

More than enough to delight visitors of all ages.

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At 9:35 PM, Blogger Geof Huth said...

What a shockingly beautiful photograph, for so many reasons. Makes me want to be a newspaper publisher, so I can die, my home can be turned into gardens, and people can take beautiful pictures of their children in those gardens.



At 2:34 PM, Blogger EllBee said...

That is a great lesson in Cantigny history. I like the way you write. I just happen to work at Cantigny and so enjoy your writings about our wonderful park.

Can I send you a few free one day parking passes? Email your address to, and I will send them to you right away.

Lisa Bryant
Communications Officer


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