Monday, February 21, 2011

family pictures and azaleas

Pat and I just spent a long weekend in Chicago scanning pictures from our moms' boxes of pictures. We’ve been doing this for 6-9 months or so. I want to hear the stories behind the pictures before the memories get too worn.

We’ve been regaled with stories of G-men breaking into my great-grandparent Drees farm house in Northern Minnesota during prohibition, carting my Uncle Matt off the hoosegow, but not before my Great-Grandma Drees whacked a G-man with a cast iron skillet. Pat found out the history about her family trips to Marshall Field during Christmas with tea in the Walnut room. Her Mom went as a little girl. Pat and I can’t tell our children and soon-to-be grandchildren any family story unless we know it.

I remember going to the Garfield Park Conservatory when I was little. When I got older, I wondered if this was a “fatherly” thing to do or if something drew my Dad to the park. I scanned a picture album from my Dad which had pictures from 1938. Within the folder album, I found my answer, page after page of pictures of tropical plants from the Lincoln Park and Garfield Park conservatories. Little did my Dad know, but a few years later, he would get to see exotic plants up close. Maybe my gardening comes from my Dad. We decided to visit the Garfield Park Conservatory on our way home. What’s an extra couple of hours?

The conservatory’s azalea display opened this last weekend. There were families with little kids enjoying the plants and flowers. The kids darted around exploring all the new sights. For a moment, one of those little kids was me.

About now, Pat asked "how come we can't get our azeleas to look like this?" I hid behind the "I don't know anything about sun plants" line. Oh yeah, azeleas are shade plants.

There was so much to show that I'll need another post.


Anonymous said...

Jim, What a beautiful way to connect with your childhood memories. It's so interesting to uncover early influences that may have interested us in gardening. Maybe you inherited gardening genes from your father! -Jean

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Jim and Pat,

My mother had a box of old photos that we used to love to look at. After she retired she put them all in albums. We never looked at them after that.

The Rhodies are beautiful. Mine bloomed last year by the middle of April - not too far away.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

They are not the Rhodies, sorry, they looks so much like my PJM's.


Jess said...

My grandfather AWOL'd from the russian army and caught a boat to NYC and got asylum which is how my family became Americans.... it seems that we live pretty tame lives now compared to back in the day huh?

As far as the azaleas, I can't help you...they bloom here with no help like crazy. I think they just like it here. When I lived up north mine didn't look nearly as good.

Stein said...

Wow! Beautiful pictures of rhododendrons, azaleas, camelias and so much more! I envy you to have these in bloom already. Here in Norway we wont see that happen until the beginning of April :-(
Have a nice day :-)

Regards Stein from Norway

Darla said...

Interesting family stories...our Azaleas get some hours of sun here...

Alistair said...

Hi Jim,Your story today was so very familiar, I didn't have a clue about computers until about five years ago when I was nearing the big 60. Once I got my head around it, the first thing which I did was to put together a family history, scanning old photos just as you have done. Azaleas, think they like the cool conditions of the Scottish Spring and early Summer.

Lona said...

Jim what a wonderful discovery it must have been to find that your Dad loved the conservatory.Who could blame him when they are such beautiful and peaceful places to visit. You must have gotten your garden bug from him.
What a beautiful conservatory it is. I love that all of the azaleas were in bloom. What a great time to have visited.
I am still trying to get my baby Golden Lights azalea to bloom. I thing every spring "maybe this year".Thanks for sharing the beautiful pictures on such a nasty day here in the hills.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for showing us the conservatory and all the beautiful azaleas. Great contrast to the wintery weather we are experiencing.

Mark and Gaz said...

Thanks for sharing these photos Jim! I enjoyed looking at them. I love Azalea blooms, so beautiful en masse in the spring!