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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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!
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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).