North Shore Garden Club Centennial Garden Walk – A Very Special Day

On the day of the North Shore Garden Club Centennial Garden Walk, rain was promised.  Luckily, it materialized for just a short time and did not ruin a spectacular walk that included seven gardens from Highland Park to Winnetka. This walk was celebrating the club’s 100th anniversary.  Proceeds from the North Shore Garden Walk support philanthropic endeavors.


Green Roof bird feeder

This walk was an appropriate tribute to all of the work done in the past 100 years to promote the beauty that gardens provide.


Aviary and native plants

I had the pleasure of welcoming guests to the Winnetka garden.  I chose to share the story of this garden because it is charming, whimsical and beautiful.  It is a botanic garden and displays a myriad of perennials, dwarf conifers, grasses, Dr. Seuss trees, native plants and non-native “getting along”, a pond, an aviary and lots and lots of bird baths, birds houses and bird feeders-and birds. I also loved the raised vegetable garden.  Gary has been developing this garden for 15 years.


The nicest raised bed vegetable garden ever

The most unusual feature of the garden is the butterfly house.  The site is certified as a butterfly sanctuary.


Monarch WayStation

Gary Slack is the proud owner of this garden. His sister-in-law, Jan, was visiting from Colorado and helped answer questions.  She is a skilled painter and does portraits of animals.  She used her skills to decorate the butterfly house adding even more charm.  She shared to story of the butterfly house with me, which I found fascinating.


Gary Slack relaxing in his garden among some of his hundreds of bird houses

I think this story would make a lovely children’s book.  In the spring, Gary places an order in Florida for caterpillars and chrysalises and when they arrive, he places them in the butterfly house, which has everything a butterfly needs.  There are slices of fruit hanging, milkweed plants for laying eggs, other plants for interest.  I saw many monarchs flying around their home.


Jan who painted the butterflies


My understanding is that the butterflies that hatch live for a few weeks and the cycle repeats about three times.  Finally, the butterflies that appear later in the summer live for months and in early September, a release date is selected.  Neighborhood children are invited to hold the butterflies in their hands and release them to join other monarchs heading to Mexico.


Isabel and Sam Shee in their Sculpture Garden, Photo credit: Lee Frank


As people arrived, coming from other gardens, they were very enthusiastic.  Each garden offered unique features; terraced flower beds and vegetable gardens, a garden designed by Marshall Johnson, son-in- law of Jens Jensen with lovely fountains, a strolling garden, the Shee Sculpture Garden, and finally a garden that emphasizes water features.


Lee Frank and " the soft rhythm of undulating pools", Photo credit: Lee Frank

Now, past president, Lee Frank, was everywhere, checking to be sure all was going as planned.  When the day ended, there were hundreds of enthusiastic visitors.  Kudos to Jessica Lundevall and Deborah Zionts, co-chairs for this event, and all who worked on the garden walk.  It was a successful event, and everyone appeared to have had a great time.  A bonus was all the learning that took place and the great new ideas attendees took home to try in their own gardens.


Thank you, Lee, Photo credit: Lee Frank

The North Shore Garden Club website tells its story.


Photos: B, Keer unless otherwise noted.

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