Photo of the Week - June 30, 2013

Leaves in a Stream
Seattle Japanese Garden

Washington Park Arboretum
Seattle, WA
June 30, 2013

Photo of the Week - June 23, 2013

Garfield Park Conservatory
Fern Room

Chicago, IL
June 23, 2013
 
If you ever have the opportunity to visit the Chicago area, be sure to check out the Garfield Park Conservatory. The massive glass atriums which comprise most of the conservatory's 4.5 acres were constructed between 1906 and 1907. Designed by Prairie Landscape Architect Jens Jensen, the glass galleries are amazing to see. One large gallery is devoted to hundreds of types of palms, while another features the region's most varied collection of cacti and arid plants.
 
For my money, the fern room steals the show. Jens Jensen designed the room to mimic what he imagined Illinois might have looked like in the age of the dinosaurs. The lush ferns and ever present water remind one of the deepest jungle. Most remarkable is the sound created by the waterfall at the far end of the fern room. Jensen had the mason lay and re-lay the stones to get just the right symphony of sounds.
 
"After Jensen designed a prairie-like waterfall in Chicago's enormous Garfield Park Conservatory, he complained to the workman who'd built it that it sounded like a fast-flowing mountain cascade.
 
The workman rebuilt the waterfall several times, but Jensen still was displeased. Only after he suggested that the workman listen to Felix Mendelssohn's "Spring Song" did the workman build the waterfall correctly--so its water, as Jensen said, "tinkled gently from ledge to ledge, as it should in a prairie country." (Chicago Tribune)
 
Be sure to pan several hours at the Conservatory - you'll want to explore every nook and cranny.
 

Photo of the Week - June 21, 2013


Optimo Hat Shop Window
Monadnock Building

Chicago, IL
June 21, 2013

Photo of the Week - June 21, 2013

Renoir's model watches as Macy's window gets dressed

The Loop
Chicago, IL
June 21, 2013

Photo of the Week - June 20, 2013


The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe
Stained Glass Window
Riverside Public Library
Riverside, IL
June 20, 2013

One of the marvels of travel is the 'unexpected discovery'. Often, while on a journey to something important and worthwhile, we make a wrong turn and end up in the most pleasant of places. Such is the case of the woodland walk that turned into an hour at the Library.

Riverside, IL has the distinction of being one of the world's first planned suburbs. Famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead designed the community in 1869, incorporating winding streets that follow the sinuous curves of the Des Plaines River. The community features numerous parks, as well as a central square.

Riverside Public Library was dedicated in 1931. It was designed by Connor and O'Connor in a stone Tudor style with exposed beams and stained glass throughout. Upon entering the library, one immediately feels the welcoming warmth of the place. Art is visible throughout. Intimate seating areas dot the corners of the building, including a fireplace nook for reading on a cold winter's day.




Among the many intriguing touches throughout the building are the various pressed tin figures of humans and animals which are sandwiched in window frames. Like the stained glass windows which illustrate Brothers Grimm and other Fairy tales, the tin figures seem to tell stories.

A fisherman casting in the Des Plaines River with the Riverside Public Library in the background at the left.

Article on Olmstead, Riverside and planned community

Photo of the Week - June 3, 2013

Purple Martins at nesting boxes
Boston Harbor Marina
Olympia, WA
June 3, 2013

Photo of the Week - June 3, 2013

Rufous Hummingbird feeding on Red Hot Poker Plant
Boston Harbor Marina
Olympia, WA
June 3, 2013

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