Welcome Mary Anne

My family is going through the annual Spring cycle of graduations and a wedding.  Of course,  all of the usual remarks about leaving behind one life and moving forward into a new and wonderful future come to mind. I too am moving, literally to another state.  We are downsizing and casting off our home-owner way of life.  Hopefully my future will be wonderful and include travel and new crafts and not home repairs, painting and stress.

 I am, of course, ambivalent about moving away from my baby who was conceived in ignorance and confusion.  I had so many sleepless nights concerned with doing the right thing.  There are just so many “dummy” books you can read.  I had provided all of the security and protection I knew about and I had to finally let her move out of my office and into the mysterious unknown.  New people, far more skilled than I,  changed my baby’s visibility.  Under Dr. Marilyn Moore’s guidance over 100,000 people wanted access to her musings.  With that movement into the world wide web came predators: the unwanted viruses, google bots and malware.  It happens to the best of them, they tell me, even the Government gets hacked. This Grandma knows her limits.  It is time for someone younger and more experienced to take over.  Happy days.  Up steps Dr. Mary Anne Mohanraj an experienced writer, blogger, Professor, and very important to GCOPRF,  an avid gardener.  Mary Anne, our new web master, has already posted articles to our web site.Mary Anne_0405  Garden Club is very fortunate to have such a multi-talented person to provide her youthful outlook even as we approach our 100th anniversary. Let us all welcome Mary Anne.  I would be happy to have you all read her posts and leave a few comments.  A regular dialogue between the members and Mary Ann would be a great way for her to get to know us.  Good bye.   Have a great summer.

Linda Zwierz

Scholarship News

At the 2016 Oak Park and River Forest High School Honors Convocation on May 10, the Garden Club awarded scholarships to seniors Liam Berg and Graham Smith. Both Berg and Smith will enter college in the fall: Berg to study environmental science, and Smith to study environmental economics. The Garden Club funds its yearly scholarships with proceeds from the annual Garden Walk. The 2016 Garden Walk will take place on Sunday, June 26. Tickets are available here.


Elmhurst Expedition

Today the garden club hosted a fun expedition to explore nearby Elmhurst (where I’d never been).  Elaine Allen and Marilyn Brumund led the trip, starting at the Wilder Mansion, where we enjoyed plantings by the Elmhurst Garden Club (they hold their meetings there), and a small but adorable conservatory.
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Marilyn B. and I were trying to figure out how we could fit a tree peony in our gardens…
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A highlight was the fabulous spinning kaleidoscope sculpture — now I kind of want every conservatory to have one of those.
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From there we walked to the nearby Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art and browsed the fascinating array of carved stone and gems.  It’s truly amazing what artists can do with carved stone:
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I know you can’t see the details in this screen, but they’re all carved stone, lovely and elegant.
This exhibit from my native Sri Lanka shows that in addition to the artistry involved in carving stone wrinkles into an elephant’s skin, sometimes, you just want to sprinkle some shiny bling all over your art:
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What can I say?  My people like the sparkly.  And anyone who appreciates sparkly gemstones will be impressed by the replicas of the Cullinan Rough (the largest gem quality diamond ever found) and the nine major stones it was cut into:
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Cullinan IV through IX_0414
I had no idea this museum was so close; I might suggest a field trip there to my children’s elementary school, as I think they’d love it.  Plenty of enjoyment for both children and adults, and the gift shop has a tempting array of stone and gemstone jewelry.  I bought some geodes for my children to smash open — hopefully they’ll find something sparkly inside.  The natural stones on display were stunning in their variety.
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Next was a delectable lunch at Cafe Amano; I particularly enjoyed the house soup (sweet Vidalia onion soup infused with cream & aged Cognac served with garlic crostini & Gruyere cheese, mmmmm….), and the delicious crusty bread with pesto butter.  May have to drag my husband back for a lunch date — I gather the place is hopping at night, but is nice and quiet for lunch.
After lunch we stopped briefly at the Elmhurst History Museum to see the exhibit “Patios, Pools, and the Invention of the American Backyard.” A fascinating history of the evolution of the backyard in America, from the late 1800s to today, in a beautiful old house worth appreciating for itself.  (There’s also a nicely-curated exhibit of local Elmhurst history upstairs, worth checking out.)
A lovely trip all around — thanks again to Elaine and Marilyn B. for taking us out!
 Mary Anne_0405
Photo credits:  Elaine Allen (3, 8, 9, 10, 13, 16, 17, 18, 21), Mary Anne Mohanraj (1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 11, 14, 15, 19, 20), and Marilyn Moore (12).

May 2016 Luncheon

Colorful centerpieces by Cherie Fedota and Sue Milojevic

It was gray and dreary outside on May 4th, but inside the Oak Park Country Club it was bright and festive. The Garden Club was holding their annual spring luncheon and their theme was Cinco de Mayo. It appears Frida Kahlo’s influence was seen in the ladies hats and with the “Azul” color theme at the raffle table (Frida’s home was known as La Casa Azul).  Sue Milojevic and Cherie Fedota featured bright orange lilies in their colorful centerpieces.

Wonderful creativity was in evidence in the hats:

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Many hands make light work and thankfully Garden Club members share the work and enjoy the results!   Thanks so much for the tireless contributions from all of the Board members and to all the others who contributed to the success of this event.

Much appreciation to Elaine Allen Elainephotographer, who memorializes our events.

Mary Ellen Warner and Ruth Rowe worked on the raffle plants.  Shirley Henderson contributed her beautiful glass sun catchers. Jackie Paine, Delia Vargas, Barbara Graham and Linda Zwierz contributed items.  Alice Blanchard and Cindy Rossi sold raffle tickets.  Sue Milojevic and Cherie Fedota created table centerpieces.  Barbara Graham handled invitations, reservations, table cards and more. Ken Zwierz and Bob Graham handled the money at the front desk. My apologies in advance to anyone I failed to mention.

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Floral Arrangements_1319 [421689] Floral Arrangement_1326 [421691] Floral Arrangement_1325 [421692] Luncheon Speakers_1321 [421686] Floral Arrangement_1317 [421693] Floral Arrangement_1302 [421694] Floral Arrangement_1298 [421695] Floral Arrangement_1296 [421696]













Barbara served 2 terms as President with distinction
Barbara served 2 terms as President with distinction


After four years of progressive thinking and excellence in all she put her attention to, Barbara Graham leaves her post as President of Garden Club.  Barbara certainly deserves a rest but please Barbara, not until after completion of the June tea and Garden Walk!


Sue Milojevic begins her term as President
Sue Milojevic begins her term as President

 Sue Milojevic assumes her new post as President.  Sue has been a long standing, tireless worker as a Garden Club Board member and  has worn many hats in terms of responsibility:  Sue has been in charge of Programs for the last four years;  editor of the club newsletter , the seedlings; chair of Garden Therapy for seniors; Directory creator; frequent floral designer for numerous events; coordinator of the holiday decorating at Cheney.  Let us all give Sue a  helping hand ushering  in the club’s 100th anniversary.  It all started in March 1917.