This past Saturday, under bright sun and blue skies, Mike and I spent a day at the Chicago Botanic Garden, one of the most beautiful places in the Chicagoland area. It was such a perfect way to spend the first day of October, that I felt inclined to share this poem by my Great-Aunt Sue.
When I am especially happy,
The world seems so grand.
I see the brilliant colors
Of this bright and beautiful land.
That’s when I know it’s October,
When I walk amid the trees
With colors yellow, green, and red,
All blowing in the breeze.
Each turn in the road
Brings its special beauty;
You can get lost in color, color,
Color that goes on forever.
Oh, October, your skies are blue,
No other month can compare.
Though they have a beauty of their own.
None shine as brightly as you.
The Lovely Author, My Great-Aunt Sue at 99:
In addition to the beautiful show that nature was putting on, the Chicago Botanic Garden also had many displays and events set out in celebration of Fall, including a Farmer’s Market:
We simply had to pick up a few treats for ourselves, including:
- A handmade Pomegranate Truffle from Katherine Anne Confections (and we got to meet Katherine Anne, herself!)
- A spicy, sweet mixture of marinated vegetables in River Valley Kitchen’s Spinach Artichoke Dip Mix, which is excellent mixed with hummus or cream cheese.
- Cinnamon Pecan Butter from Futter’s Nut Butters, so full of flavor just a spoonful can give a bowl of oatmeal a total make-over.
- Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes from the Botanic Garden’s Green Youth Farm program, which teaches Organic Farming to Chicago area teens. After a quick rinse, Mike and I snacked on these as we browsed the rest of the gardens.
The Chicago Botanic Garden always has a lot of events going on and this past weekend was no exception. In addition to the Fall Market, there was also a Hawaiian themed event hosted by Food Network Magazine and the Hawaiian Islands. There were cooking demonstrations, lei making, and lots of samples of traditional Hawaiian fare.
In addition to chocolate and macadamia nuts, I also sampled a Tea made from Coffee Cherries (the husk around a coffee bean), ginger, and nettle leaves. Nettle leaves, I’m told, have many healing properties including stress reduction and improved cholesterol.
I also tried a sample of Poi (pictured above: right), a Polynesian staple food that is hypo-allergenic and requires no refrigeration. It’s made by pounding Taro Root (known as Kalo in Hawaiian) and kneading water into it. This poi was made in the traditional way by two men in loin cloths, seated across from each other on a wooden bench. It had the consistency and taste of a dough, and I liked the plain flavor and chewy texture. Mike had his with a little bit of dried fish on top.
Around the Botanic Gardens
In addition to the special events, we also spent plenty of time wandering around to view the regular exhibits at the Gardens, including:
- The new Science Center & Rooftop Garden
- The beautiful Green-Houses
- The Bonsai Trees (Mike’s Favorite)
- And countless beautiful gardens and landscapes
Overall, our day at the Chicago Botanic Gardens was the perfect way to celebrate the start of such a beautiful month.
I’ll end this post with one final tribute to the month of October:
- A perfect bowl of veggie chili, from the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Cafe
Have you ever been to a Botanic Garden?