Hyde Park Garden Fair Committee


Hyde Park Garden Fair Committee: 53 YEARS!

a programmatic committee of Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference.

This page brought to you by Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference and HPKCC's website, www.hydepark.org. Join the Conference!

HPKCC program home. Committees. About HPKCC. Quality of Life Hot Topics and Issues. Visit More gardens.
Garden Fair Release May 2013. Garden Fair Website.

Visit Garden Fair's revamped website. Chicagoland's largest and oldest continuing garden fair. Thanks for your participation! We wish to see you at the 2011 next sales and the next lecture series. "QUALITY PRODUCTS AT REASONABLE PRICES."
In the Hyde Park Shopping Center Courtyard, 55th and Lake Park, 1500 block of E. 55th St. Nearing 60 YEARS!

Link to volunteer for the Gardcn Fair including day before the sale- www.SignUpGenius.com/go/508044DACA92CAA8-garden/2068358.
THANK YOU EVERYONE!!! See you in September and next May.

The spring sale is held Fri (9-6) and Sat (9-4) after Mother's Day.
Fall Sale 2016 is on the 3rd Saturday in September, 9-4 pm.

Questions about the Garden Fair or practices of suppliers- http://www.hydeparkgardenfair.org/headerpages/contact.html. For example, the GF has confirmed the suppliers use organic practices and use NO pesticides including neoniotinoids.

Profits from the fair support the Committee's own projects, including plantings in Spruce Park and Nichols Park, and other gardening initiatives, such as Growing Home in Englewood.

2015, at the end of the fair, 24 nonprofit organizations received leftover plants for schools, churches, and community gardens of various sorts, from North Kenwood to Woodlawn.

Look for the Garden Fair contingent at the 4th on 53rd parade on July 4, and mark your calendar for the Fall Garden Fair, Saturday Sept. 19 from 9 am to 4 pm at 55th and Lake Park. We'll have bulbs and fall-flowering plants.

The Garden Fair Committee is a committee of the Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference. Proceeds via the GF Speical Projects Committee beautify community spaces and help fund programs of the Committee and the Conference. 80 kinds of bulbs from Holland, 150-200 chrysanthemums, asters, and houseplants. Experts on hand. Questions? Joy Rosner, joyrosner@aol.com.

The sales support the work of the Conference, neighborhood public gardens and beautification. Specifically,
we do a free give-away to neighborhood parks (Nichols, Spruce, Elm), schools (including Akiba Schechter, Ray, Murray, St. Thomas, Shoesmith), churches and synagogues (Augustana, 1st Unitarian, Quaker House, St. Paul, St. Thomas, United Church), community gardens (Ada Mckinley, Canter, DARE, Genesis, 62nd, 71st, Oasis), and parkway gardens, and then the remainder is given to gardening programs and community gardens in surrounding neighborhoods via the Resource Center. Nothing goes to waste.

The Hyde Park Garden Fair Committee, a program of HPKCC, thanks our neighbors for your enthusiastic support of the 56th annual Hyde Park Garden Fair. We thank our loyal shoppers, who made this a banner year for the fair, aided by favorable weather and the desire for something colorful after a dull spring.

Our energetic volunteers make the fair possible by helping committee members to receive deliveries and set up departments the day before the fair. During the fair, they add up purchases, work the cashier's tent, and do all sorts of jobs that need to be done during the fair. We're always on the lookout for new volunteers, so if you are interested, send an email to hpkcc@aol.com and we'll contact you.

From DNAinfo:

All plants at Hyde Park Garden Fair are guaranteed hand-selected.
The 56th annual Hyde Park Garden Fair kicks off at 9 a.m. Friday and runs through 5 p.m. Saturday in the Hyde Park Shopping Center, 5500 S. Lake Park Ave.
As always, a team of volunteer gardeners with decades of experience each has combed nurseries across three states for the best plants.
“We go out and pick the plants and that’s not true for many other places, even some botanic gardens,” said George Davis, who’s in his 15th year at the garden fair. “When you come here, you’re getting a lot of effort.”
He said volunteers went as far as Fort Wayne, Ind., this year to find plants.
Visiting the nurseries in person, the garden fair buyers often find beautiful plants that are practically unheard of to even experienced gardeners — like the chocolate shogun astilbe from Japan that’s available from growers in the United States for the first time this year.
“It’s a great plant: it handles total shade, it’s drought tolerant and has beautiful plumes of flowers,” said George Rumsey, who found the plant and is one of the lead organizers.
Also on hand will be exotics like African varieties of basil and classics like black-eyed Susans and impatiens.
Rumsey said there is a special focus this year on plants that are particularly beneficial to butterflies and bees and all plants are guaranteed to have never seen pesticides linked to health problems in bees.
All sales from the garden fair pay for the plantings in the formal gardens at Nichols Park, Spruce Park and other parks across the neighborhood, as well as urban agriculture and gardening programs across the South Side.

volunteer contact call George Rumsey, 773 955-4455. .

LOOKING FOR VOLUNTEERS....including strong hands for set up day, Thursday.

It's a never ending rule that the GF always can use more volunteers. If you've never done it, give it a try. It can be a lot of fun, a lot of work, and a great chance to socialize with your neighbors and fellow gardeners.

Feel free to give me a call (my work number is 773-955-4455, leave a message if I'm not there) or email, and I'll put you in touch with our volunteer coordinators. We need help on Thursday, May 14 (setup day) from 7:00 am until mid-afternoon. Then on Friday and Saturday during the Fair, the needs is for cashiers, adder-uppers, cleaner-uppers, and especially people to help at the end (after 5:00 on Saturday, when everything has to be taken down).

To view May 2011 FLASH about the Spring 2011 Garden Fair
Poisonous Houseplants (in pdf, from On the Safe Side -Timika Hoffman Zoller, HPKCC Safety Chair)

The April 2009 Conference Reporter was all about the Garden Fair! View in pdf.

Meetings and events

Volunteer coordinator: Nadine at nfost@aol.com. Talk to someone: George Rumsey, 773 288-3716.
The http://www.hydeparkgardenfair.org website will tell you exactly what plants many of the departments will be selling.

...Proceeds from the fair go to supporting gardens in several local parks-- including Nichols Park, Elm Park, Harold Washington Park, Kenwood Park, Spruce Park (Norah's Garden), and Washington Park . Money is also donated to Growing Home, a Chicago-based non-profit program that offers agricultural employment and training opportunities to former prisoners and those once homeless....

The Fair held wonderful 50th Anniversary gala reception for members, volunteers and friends May 31, 2009. Highlights included a Resolution from the Chicago City Council thanks to Ald. Preckwinkle and Hairston (who also spoke), a proclamation by Mayor Richard M. Daley, recognition and presentations to surviving founder members and primary leaders and volunteers from over the years, particularly past president Bam Postell and present leader Lesley Bloch; a spectacular revolving slide show, Mr. Howard's granddaughter singing "Summertime," a stellar pianist, a buffet, and a presentation cake were also featured.

There was also a wonderful talk by Bam Postell, photo exhibit and audiovisual show on the Garden Fair's 50 years at the Hyde Park Historical Society July 18 2009.

For info, volunteering, gift certificates, special purchases call George Rumsey at 773 955-4455.
Specifically to volunteer- call Nadine at nfost@aol.com or Sue Purrington at 773 363-4368

At the Fair: Help Desk of experts.

You can preorder set-asides for nonprofits, churches et al for pickup 4 pm on the Saturday of the sale. Depends on what's left and demand. Contact Lesley Bloch, 773 947-8313.

The Garden Fair has been planting the formal garden in Nichols Park, the garden at the corner of 53rd and Lake Park, Norah's Garden on the south side of Spruce Park (54th east of Blackstone) and other open spaces around the neighborhood. Proceeds also help support the work of the Conference.


Hyde Park Garden Fair Committee float in the 2005 4th on 53rd Parade and Picnic. MR Shaughnessy

Above, Hyde Park Garden Fair Committee float in the 2005 4th on 53rd Street Parade and Picnic. Mary Rose Shaughnessy. Below, at the Fall 2005 sale HPKCC board member Patricia Morse touts the latest iris and other bulbs and (left part of right photo) Marianne Smigelskis discuses mums and bulbs with 5th Ward Alderman Leslie Hairston.

Trish Morse of the HPKCC Board touts bulbs. Marianne Smigelskis discuses bulbs with 5th Ward Alderman Leslie Hairston.



The Garden Fair float at the 4th on 53rd  Parade 2004 Garden Fair float at 4th on 53rd Parade, 2004
Formal Garden in Nichols Park, one of the Garden Fair's respnsibility The Garden Fair's float at the 2004 4th on 53rd Parade. Nichols Park formal garden, one of the responsibilities of the Garden Fair.

About the Fair, its offerings, and its history

There are 10 diverse plant departments and 1 non-plant department. In early spring the Garden Fair Committee visits nurseries to hand-pick over 50,000 plants, emphasizing varieties suitable for city gardens—for example, those that are shade tolerant or fit into smaller spaces or on porches and patios. Experts are on hand at the sales from the departments. Certain supplies such as mulch are also available at the Spring Sale.

The proceeds from the Fair help to support the Hyde Park/Kenwood Community Conference and to beautify Hyde Park-Kenwood neighborhood through various gardening projects. One major project is design, purchase, and planting formal gardens at Nichols Park north formal garden. Another is planting and paying for maintenance of the plot at the city parking lot at 53rd and Lake Park. The Garden Fair at one time planted and maintained the Berm along 55th Street and they helped choose the present plantings maintained by the University under a maintenance contract.

Teachers and other individuals may apply for grants to use plants for public projects such as parkway and street corner plantings. Plants and bulbs are donated directly to churches, synagogues, schools, hospitals, and other non-profit organizations, as well as money and plants for sidewalk planters along the main commercial streets.

The Garden Fair Committee has had an impressive 45 + year existence,the first sale having occurred May, 1959. (Before that of the Botanic Garden- and it's a tad bigger.) The Fair's founders included the respected environmental activist and Hyde Park Herald editor Lee Botts. Pam Postell was president for many years into the mid 1990s. It is an affiliate program committee of Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference. HPKCC is grateful for the help for its programs (and others programs) provided by the Garden Fair from proceeds from the sales- and of course the many who buy the plants!

In short, the Garden Fair Committee manages two large annual fairs and designs, plants, and maintains several neighborhood gardens. To many other projects the Garden Fair Committee members donate their time, talent, money, and labor, including the Nichols Park Wildflower Meadow.

President: Lesley Bloch, 773 947-8313. HPKCC contact/liaison: George Rumsey , Top


Feature from the Autumn, 2004 Conference Reporter:

The Garden at 53rd and Lake Park: An 18-Year Garden Fair Project

By Leslie Bloch, Garden Fair Chairperson

Way back in 1986, the city of Chicago proposed to totally concreted the 53rd St. Lake Park corner. Norah Erickson, a gardening advocate and an active member of the Committee, immediately realized this idea had t be nixed. The spot was perfect for a small public garden. The Garden fair committee agreed to take it on. Within several years (with the support of then-Alderman Tim Evans), the garden grew with an extension going around the corner on Lake Park. Graced with flowering shrubs and well tended perennials the garden thrived for many years.

Norah and Bill Erickson devised an ingenious system of connecting soaker hoses to water the entire garden by sections from the faucet on the side of the building which now houses Hollywood Video. It was possible to shut off the water to any one of the three sections so that another could receive a gush of water. The two of them spent many hours enriching the soil, planting additional perennials and cultivating Norah's beloved sunflowers. Bill acquired a trash can, which he beautifully decorated with painted multi-colored flowers. A hand-painted marker, followed by a steel marker, were set deep into the soil to identify the garden's sponsor. After ten years of devoted service, and many awards, Norah gave it up in order to concentrate on the garden bordering the edge of Spruce Park on 54th St.

The care o t he garden became the responsibility of the committee. Members worked diligently to maintain it as best they could over several years, taking turns weeding, planting, watering, and picking up the wind-blown trash. Unfortunately it was never as consistently beautiful as it had been when the Ericksons nurtured every plant. Water was a big problem. The hoses had been pierced by accidental trowel punctures, resulting in a loss of pressure. Mere trickles of water here and there simply weren't sufficient for good care. The summers were scorchers. None of numerous watering strategies worked. Hoses were stolen. The faucet was destroyed over several winters by cars mistakenly backing into it. The garden had become a chore, and embarrassment.

But now as we look back on the successful Summer of 2004 with perennials selected by the Committee and a glorious Fall of blooming mums from the Bulb and Mum Sale in September, we can honestly say the garden is once again a delight to behold. Thanks to Angela Smith, the director of Executive Suites at Aegis Properties, Hyde Park Bank, and the bank's lumber, the faucet has been repaired and provided with an indestructible steel cover. George Franklin of S&G Franklin installed a Toro watering system. Arrangements were made with the SECC Flower Power project for regular watering during the Summer. And best of all, the Committee hired Roy Powell to care for the garden two afternoons a week. Our recent planting of bulbs for plants in the Spring will lead the garden into another successful season.


Vegetable Growing Basics for Container Gardening

Guidelines abstracted from material from Betty McCarthy's Garden Fair lecture February 7, 2007

Light requirements:

Temperature preferences (soil)

Suggested Container sizes

Special consideration of location

Selection of available books (sample)

Container Gardening for Kids. Ellen Talmage. Sterling. NY: 1996

Incredible Vegetables from Self-Watering Containers. Edward C. Smith. Storey: 2006

Gardening in Containers. Alvin Horton, ed. Ortho Books:1984

Movable Harvests: The Simplicity and Bounty of Container Gardens. Chuck Crandall and Barara Crandall. Chapter, Shelburne, VT: 1995

The Bountiful Container.... Rose Marie Nichols McGee and Maggie Stuckey. Workman P, Ny:" 2002

The Edible Container Garden: Growing Fresh Food in Small Spaces. Michel Guerra. Fireside of Simon & Schuster. NY: 2000.

Selection of websites for general information - do a simple search for lots more.

Cornell University: soil less mix: http://counties.cce.cornell.edu/chemung/publications/container-growing-amending-soil.pdf; suitable vegetables with seed sources and ratings: http://vegvariety.cce.cornell.edu/

University of Illinois Cooperative Extension service: www.uiuc.edu and search "yard and garden," "food and nutrition."

Federal: start with usda.gov/gardening. National Agricultural Library at lincolnnal.usda.

Others: www.gardenlist.com (given as "gradenlist.com"). www.gardenforever.com (esp. for those with aging and disabilities). www.gardenweb.com/forums (specific and interactive).

Selection of vegetable seed and plant catalogues

Burpee. 300 Park Ave., Warminster PA 18991-0001. 1-800-888-1447, www.burpee.com

Cook's Garden, The. PO C030 Warminster PA 18974, 1-800-457-9703, www.cooksgarden.com. Esp. for salad greens, culture, recipes.

Johnny's Selected Seeds. 955 Benton Av, Winslow ME ? 1-88-564-564-6697, www.Johnnyseeds.com. Envir and socially responsible, excellent selection of seeds, herbs, flower, many organically grown. Cultural info.

Kitchen Garden Seeds (John ScheepersJ). 23 Tulip Dr, PO Box 638, Bantam Ct 06750-0638. 1-860-567-6086, www.kitchengardenseeds.com.

Le Jardin du Gourmet. PO Box 75, St. Johnsburg Ctr VT, 05863-0075. Good but small selection incl. edible flowers, in very small inexpensive packets.

Nichols Garden Nursery. 1190 Old Salem Rd NE, Albany OR, 97321-4580, 1-8-422-3985, www.nicholsgardennursery.com. Herb specialists, wine-making, seeds guaranteed to be untreated, website has blog.

Park Seed Co. 1 Parkton Av, greenwood SC, 29647-0099, 1-800-845-369, www.parkseed.com. Includes certified organic. cultual info.

Renees Garden Seeds. Online only www.reneesgarden.com. Was "Shepherd's." Delightful, wide range, good cultural.

Richters. 357 Highway 47, Goodwood Ontario LOC IAO Canada, 1-905-640-6641, www.richters.com. Outstanding herb, rest small but choice.

Territorial Seed Co. PO Box 158, Cottage Grove, OR, 97423-0061, 1-800-626-0866, www.territorialseed.com. Wide array, excellent cultural.

Totally Tomatoes. 334 W. Stroud St., Randolph, WI, 53956, 1-800-345-5977, www.totallytomato.com. But some seeds, plants, peppers, eggplant, salad vegetables.

[And here is an additional suggestion from a reader: ForFarmers.com
URL: http://www.forfarmers.com/
Description :ForFarmers.com is a marketplace for buying and selling various breeds of garden, landscape, fruits, horticulture, flowers, plants, seeds, crops, vegetables as well as agricultural jobs and a wide range of services.]

[For as starting bibliography on organic gardening, see above:]


Tips for sustainable Gardening: Use-Conserve-Avoid

Brought to you by Hyde Park-Kenwood Community Conference Environmental Sustainability Task Force (distributed at the Garden Fair sale)





Book citations courtesy of Anna Viertel, Coordinator of School Gardens, Chicago Botanic Garden

Permaculture Websites:

http://www.sustaincup.blogspot.com (posts events and seminars)

Courtesy of Bill Morrisette


Gardens of Hyde Park page. View more gardens. 61st Community Garden.

Parks/Other Parks and Open Space. LILAC. Lake Park Corridor

Suite of park photo galleries- index in the Park News web home for Jackson, Osaka, Nichols, Midway.....

Green, Growing events and announcements in Green Resources and Calendar including info on gardening volunteers, the Mayor's Landscape awards.

See park and green links in Parks/Other Links.

The Fall 2003 Mum and Bulb Sale

Garden Fair Sale in full force Garden Fair Spring  Sale
Garden Fair sale Garden Fair Committee and  HPKCC volunteers