Lake Geneva Garden Club and Olmsted 200

We were honored to have our great friends at Lake Geneva Garden Club host A Garden Club of America Flower Show at Yerkes Observatory. What a week! LGGC put on spectacular events and exhibited the pleasantries of their hospitality in our Ann M. Drake Family Library, Hagenah Rotunda, and our new Yerkes Programs Room. Our east and west corridors came alive with photography, sculpture, and displays. The flower show had its competition on Friday, highlighting historical treasures and stunning botanica from the Geneva Lake region. The show was open to the public and free of charge on July 23rd and 24th. We were counting at the door: over 700 people came to the show!

Yerkes Observatory is proud to be a part of the Olmsted 200 events celebrating the 200th anniversary of Frederick Law Olmsted’s birth. Olmsted and his son John Charles designed our grounds with their comprehensive plan implemented from our ribbon-cutting in 1897 well into the first decade of the 20th Century. The Olmsted firm also designed the grounds at the U.S. Capitol, Central Park in Manhattan, the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago, the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina, and the towns of Kohler, Wisconsin and Riverside, Illinois. We’re very proud to be in this lineage. We’ve worked hard to restore our fifty acres of natural splendor and add our own touches to modernize the ecology: a welcome garden by Roy Diblik from Northwind Perennial Farm, an oak savannah, a pollinator meadow, an apiary designed by Bee All About It, and much more. A big thanks from the YO staff to our vice-chair Tom Nichols for orchestrating all these successes. About six weeks ago, we began building five miles of trails through our fifty acres. The trails, designed by the brilliant firm Parkitecture from Madison, will go through the woods, ellipses, meadows, and groves of our site. We reckon the Olmsteds are smiling down on us from a garden in the cosmos.

Thanks to the Lake Geneva Garden Club for making the inside of Yerkes Observatory look stunning with their show “Celestial & Earthly Treasures.” We’re so happy to be connected to these creative and thoughtful people. It was also a much-appreciated midsummer break for our tour leaders whose voices needed a rest from our first two months of guiding thousands of enthusiastic visitors through our restoration and rebirth. The Flower Show undoubtedly inspired us to finish our first summer strong!


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