Wicker Park Garden Club Plant Sale declared a success thanks to volunteers and shoppers


Ready for business on a dreary Saturday morning


Plants are in the Wicker Park Field House waiting to be taken out for the sale

"Shoppers had us so busy, we didn't realize we were freezing, at first," said Denise Browning who heads up the Wicker Park Garden Club's (WPGC) Annual Plant Sale and declared the event a success. Held on May 9 and 10, approximately $4,000 was earned to help facilitate the care and maintenance of the 10,000 square foot Wicker Park ornamental gardens over the next year.


Doug Wood (r) stands ready to answer shopper questions


The Event
After the sale opened at 10 a.m., under gray skies with a bone chilling breeze, shoppers began encircling the 50 tables with more than 2,080 plants nestled in groups. Grouped by garden type (shade, full sun, etc.), it was easy for gardeners to focus on plants for specific areas of their gardens. 


Denise Browning in planting mode

Bedecked in aprons, expert gardeners were roaming among the rows of tables, offering help about specific plants and gardens in general. 

Bill Shores, Shores Garden Consulting, Inc., [Rick Bayless' gardener], gave a presentation "Growing Vegetables in Containers - Anywhere." 

By the close of the sale there were herbs and vegetable plants as well as some ornamental plants. To push out more help to other gardening efforts, WPGC donated the herbs and vegetable plants to Nature's Farm Camp.


Plant food being bagged by Linnea Levy, Betsy Tandy, Jim Angrabright, Richard Tilley, Donna Forsberg and Doug Wood

They are a new organization that provides an overnight summer camp for kids to connect with nature from the growing through the preparing of food. The 50-acre farm is out in the country between Freeport and Rockford in Orangeville. 

The left over ornamental plants will be added to the Wicker Park Gardens. 

Shoppers and Volunteers
Success for the sale is because of the buyers and those who make the event happen, with the cooperation of the Chicago Park District. WPGC members spend  innumerable days before the event, starting 11 months before the event.


Sam Marts waters some plants as Susan Fontana and Linnea Levy check out some plants


Months of Prep Time -- 11
During four meetings a year, they plan what types of plants they want for the next sale. Then they take a day, mid week before the sale, to go to the organic growers, where they purchase the plants. 

On the Friday before the  sale, a truck delivers all the plants and Garden Club volunteers spend another half to full day unloading the truck, pricing the plants and putting them on tables in the Wicker Park Field House, ready for the beginning of the sale. 

Those volunteers and more from around Chicagoland, come to the two-day sale and spend another 9 to 10 hours. They then work those gardens and other garden events for 12 months a year. 


Diane Mason and Paula Collins participate in cleanup efforts

These are the stalwarts who come from across the City...month after month: Jim Angrabright (Logan Square), Denise Browning (Wicker Park), Paula Collins (Uptown), Susan Fontana (Wicker Park), Donna Forsberg (Graceland West). Linnea Levy (Wrigleyville), Sam Marts (Bucktown), Diane Mason (Riverwoods, IL), Betsy Tandy (West Rogers Park), Richard Tilley (Wicker Park) and Doug Wood (Wicker Park). 

Hats and garden gloves off to the Wicker Park Garden Club and those who support them with funds, time and/or talent! The quality of life in the area is better off for your dedication!



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