Tiny Houses and Butterfly Gardens ...

Tiny House & Sanctuary of the MonarchAs I no doubt mentioned, we have a LOT of video still to edit from the events we’ve been to over the past few weeks … and we’re getting to these as quickly as we can. Today I decided to put two from the Chicago Flower & Garden Show together into one post, as, frankly, I didn’t have a lot of background info available on the specifics of the projects from either group being interviewed (to throw in a blockquote or two), so felt that they worked better doubled up.

The first of these was an exhibit by a landscape architect firm, Premier Service, which focused on the plight of the Monarch butterfly. Due to the prevalence of “monoculture” farming, these butterflies are having an increasingly difficult time finding their preferred plants (especially milkweed), and Premier had put together a garden, dubbed “Sanctuary of the Monarch”, which featured a couple of dozen plants – shrubs, annuals, and perennials – that would attract and support Monarch butterflies.

Additionally, they had interactive elements for kids to learn more about both gardening and the world of insects and other critters … and the garden was going to be donated to the El Valor organization after the show, to be part of one of their Early Childhood Education programs.

We spoke with Eric Tharp of Premier about their exhibit, and here’s what he had to say:

Right next to this exhibit was the installation by the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences, CHSAS, which we’ve written about in a previous post. They had a fairly ambitious display, featuring a fully equipped and outfitted “Tiny House” that people could walk through, plus a “fairy garden”. The whole presentation was developed by the students, and we spoke to two of them from the school’s Horticultural program (one of five “pathways” they offer), Estefany Perez and Mariah Rosito, who had been involved in the landscaping design for the exhibit.

As they note, the opportunity to do a project like this while in high school is “unique”, and it’s really remarkable that an urban center such as Chicago can boast an agricultural school of CHSAS’ size and scope.

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