Tag: 2019

Holiday Gathering and Boutique, December 11, 2019

Decenber 11, 2019

Join us for a festive Holiday Gathering and Boutique featuring items made by members and suitable for a hostess gift, Secret Santa exchange, or little something for friends and neighbors. We will begin at 11:00 AM to allow more time to socialize and of course shop the holiday boutique.

The holiday boutique is a special part of the Garden Club of Oak Park and River Forest December program. The holiday boutique sells holiday gift items made by members. The gift items include: garden coasters. soup mix, cookies in a jar, Boxwood Trees, Christmas aprons, ornaments, Yule Logs, homemade candies and cookies on serving dishes, bird seed wreaths, vanilla, and vinegars.

Refreshments will come out at noon including tea and decaffeinated coffee. Members volunteer to design and set up the centerpieces in the dining room and on the tables. Members that would like to volunteer to use their creativity to design and make the centerpieces should contact Kathy English of the Hospitality Committee, kathryn_english@comcast.net.

Presenter : Andrew Pavarrano. Andrew of Andrew’s Garden in historic downtown Wheaton will demonstrate unique European floral designs, https://www.andrewsgarden.com. The presentation will begin at 1:00 PM. Four floral arrangements will be raffled off. More information about Andrew can be found on the Speaker Biography page.

Please direct future speaker recommendations to Joan Meister, joanmeistr@icloud.com

Join us and bring friends for a lovely afternoon.

Andrew Parravano December 11, 2019

Andrew Pavarrano

Andrew Parravano is known for his garden-style and artistic floral compositions that masterfully combine colors, textures and remarkable fresh flowers. A beautifully designed garden envelops the senses and inspires and enlightens us. That inspiration, combined with a love of European gardens and floral design, forms the basis of Andrew’s designs. Andrew’s Garden quickly became the “go-to” source for beautiful and unique floral designs in the Chicago area as well as couture designs for weddings and other events.

The inspiration for Andrew’s Garden grew out of a loving fascination with European-style flower shops. We are not confined by catalogs of floral arrangements or coolers of ordinary flowers. Rather, you will find a vast array of unique and even unusual flowers displayed artfully right in front of you. We are especially known for our selection of big, bold and beautiful roses. We source our flowers from all over the world, many coming to us directly from Holland or Ecuador. We have added to the experience inside Andrew’s Garden by including unique gifts from local and regional artisans as well as fine European purveyors.

At Andrew’s Garden, we aim to provide a European-style floral experience including the highest quality couture floral designs and impeccable customer service. Our favorite compliment when a new visitor walks in the door is the exclamation, “I have not been a in shop like this since I was last in Paris!” And don’t miss our floral design classes! Generally scheduled monthly, we cover everything from garden arrangements in your favorite vase to patio garden pots and holiday centerpieces. Register early though, they usually sell out!

Andrew has a degree in Ornamental Horticulture and Landscape Design from Michigan State University that was later followed by a Masters in Social Work. Andrew’s natural talent along with a lifelong desire to own his own flower shop eventually brought Andrew back to his roots. Andrew’s Garden is owned by Andrew with his wife, Tonya. Andrew and Tonya met at Michigan State – so if you walk into the shop with any MSU gear on, you are likely to hear “Go Green!” from one of them. (They are now proud parents of a Spartan alumni too!) After nearly 20 years as a successful banking & business law attorney in Chicago and then Wheaton, Tonya joined Andrew at the shop full time in 2018. Tonya is a Member of the Board of Directors of the Downtown Wheaton Association, a Member of the Board of Directors of the DuPage County Convention and Visitors Bureau, and is a long-time volunteer and Immediate Past President of the Board of Directors of Anima/The Glen Ellyn Children’s Chorus. She is also active with the Wheaton Chamber of Commerce. Tonya brings strong business and organizational skills to the shop and, most of all, she loves exploring gardens around the world with Andrew and dreaming of new ideas for Andrew’s Garden.

Forest Bathing: Health Benefits of Nature

November 13, 2019

12:00 PM at the Chaney Mansion, 220 N. Euclid Avenue, Oak Park, Illinois. Free parking is available on the street

Presenter Jane Grillo: Learn what science has now proven but what gardeners have long known, working outside in a garden and walking in nature is beneficial to health.

This month’s speaker works with a variety of garden clubs, schools, church groups in expanding their understanding of nature and the environment. She worked at The Natural Garden and Midwest Ground Covers, both located in St. Charles, Illinois. She has designed and coordinated a handicapped accessible therapy sensory butterfly garden at a therapy facility.

We start the meeting at 12:00 PM with light refreshments including tea and decaffeinated coffee. Members volunteer to set up the centerpieces and refreshments. A short business meeting precedes a one hour garden related presentation at 1:00 PM. The meetings are free and open to the public; guests are always welcome.

Members that would like to volunteer to use their creativity to design and make the centerpieces and set up refreshments should contact Kathy English of the Hospitality Committee, kathryn_english@comcast.net.

Please direct questions and speaker recommendations to Joan Meister, joanmeistr@icloud.com

Jane Grillo November 13, 2019

Jane Grillo

Forest Bathing: Health Benefits of Nature
Presented by Jane Grillo at Oak Park River Forest Garden Club Meeting

“Forest Bathing” was developed in Japan in the ‘80s and has become a component of their preventative healthcare.  An ever growing number of articles and studies are being published about the positive effects that spending time in nature has on one’s health and wellbeing. This interactive presentation will cover a little of the history and benefits of Forest Bathing and then discuss some of the activities you can do to help awaken your senses, be mindful of your surroundings and build a deeper connection with nature while spending time in green spaces, outdoors or in.

A little background on our speaker:

Janie has a BS in Biology from SUNY at Fredonia (1975). She has been employed for over 16 years in the green industry working for plant nurseries located in St. Charles, IL.   Growing up in a family of gardeners, Janie has always enjoyed the beauty of plants.  In 2001, her gardening interests turned to planting for butterflies, pollinators and sensory gardening.   Her experience includes designing/coordinating a handicap-accessible butterfly and sensory garden, raising and tagging monarch butterflies, and speaking to garden centers, clubs, garden and trade shows and a variety of other venues. Janie is in the midst of her practicum to be certified by the Association of Forest and Nature Therapy Guides and Programs (ANFT) as a nature/forest therapy guide.  Learn more at www.butterflyjane.com

The Five ways to Preserve the Harvest, September 11, 2019

September 11, 2019


In this interactive presentation, food blogger and cookbook author Emily Paster will cover five ways to preserve your garden harvest from canning to freezing to drying and root-cellaring. Emily will offer an in-depth description of water-bath canning, a versatile and accessible method of home food preservation suitable for many common fruits and vegetables grown in home and community gardens. You will also walk away with Emily’s “Freezer Cheat Sheet” which demystifies the process and benefits of freezing local and home-grown fruits and vegetables as well as an overview of safe water-bath canning procedures, fermentation and suggestions for helpful resources for further study.


Emily Paster is the author of two cookbooks, 2016’s Food Swap: Specialty Recipes for Bartering, Sharing & Giving and The Joys of Jewish Preserving published in 2017. She is the writer and photographer behind the website West of the Loop, which has been called “a family food blog to savor.” As the founder of the Chicago Food Swap, a community event where handmade foods are bartered and exchanged, Emily is a leader in the national food swap movement.
If you need further information, consult her professional websites: