2017 Spring Flower Show

mom and son in Show houseThe Spring Flower Show marks one of the most colorful times of year at the Conservatory, which is saying a lot for a building filled with tropical plants and flowers! This time of year the Show House is filled with hundreds of plants, each supporting anywhere from one to fifty flowers in all colors of the rainbow. In addition to our featured azaleas, tulips, snap dragons and camellias, this year’s Spring Flower Show celebrates baseball in Chicago!

Spring Training @ GPC2/18 to 5/14

baseballOn the heels of the Cubs’ World Series win, our annual show incorporates icons of Wrigley Field! Mixed in among the blooms you can find a few foul poles, iconic ivy-covered walls, and even a few ‘W’ flags.  Check below for more information on each feature and bring the new Spring Training Scavenger Hunt on your next visit!
Baseball Trivia Challenge: Scroll down to the bottom of this page for a few tricky baseball trivia questions – how many did you know?  Let us know @gpconservatory and #GPCSpringTraining!

Wrigley Marquee


In 1934, with thousands of tickets to sell each game day, William Wrigley, Jr. came up with a clever way to advertise tickets: a grand marquee at the entrance of the park on Clark and Addison. What started as a glamorous billboard slowly became a part of the Cubs’ tradition and is now a celebrated and beloved icon for Cubs’ fans.

Snap a selfie in front of our marquee!

#GPCSpringTraining @gpconservatory

Bleachers


Since its construction, Wrigley Field has gone through several renovations (and name changes!) to add more seating for excited fans. In 1914, as Weeghman Field, it held 14,000 fans. In 1923, as Cubs Park, it was enlarged to seat 20,000 fans. By 1926, it was renamed Wrigley Field and its capacity nearly doubled to just over 38,000! In the 90 years since, only 3,000 more seats have been added, for a total of 41,268 seats.

Photo credit: Chicago Tribune

Ivy-Covered Wall


In 1937, then-owner P.K. Wrigley made 2 radical decisions that would define Wrigley Field for years to come: first, he built a brick wall to separate the grandstands from the field, and then, in a stroke of genius, planted Boston ivy and bittersweet all along the wall. His reason? To make the stadium more park-like to impress visitors and investors alike.

Photo credit: Sports Illustrated

Yellow Foul Poles


As the second oldest baseball stadium in America, Wrigley Field has had a lot of unique and interesting people contribute to its long history and varied traditions. While all may be remembered, only a few have the honor of being memorialized within Wrigley Field. One such person was broadcaster Jack Brickhouse, who managed to keep spirits high for the “loveable losers” during the Cubs’ longest and worst stretches of play between 1948 and 1981. Each foul pole is marked with the words “Hey hey,” Brickhouse’s signature saying each time a home run was hit out of the park.

Cubs' 'W' Flag


The Wrigley family made a lot of decisions in the 1920s and 30s that are now hallmarks of Cubs’ tradition and culture: ivy-covered brick walls, the marquee, and of course, the stadium name, Wrigley Field. The Wrigley family also started the “Fly the W” tradition. As long-time boaters, the Wrigleys were familiar with the use of decorative flags on boats to help communicate and identify one another. They transferred this to the field with a white flag with a blue ‘w’ to signify a win and a blue flag with a white ‘L’ to signify a loss.

#flytheW

Wrigley Scoreboard


This 80 year old Cubs landmark is still in operation to this day with hand-operated scoring and digitized batter information. P.K. Wrigley hired nearby engineering students to help ensure that the 27 ft by 75 ft behemoth was securely anchored in center field above the bleachers. Our recreation is only 8 ft by 16 ft and is not even one tenth the size of the original!

Do you notice anything special about our version of the scoreboard?

Commissioner's Trophy


In 2016, the Chicago Cubs won the World Series for the first time since 1908 (the same year the Conservatory opened!) and claimed their first ever Commissioner’s Trophy in a 3 game comeback against the Cleveland Indians. This nearly 30 pound trophy stands 2 ft tall and boasts 30 pennants (or flags) that represent the 30 baseball teams in the National and American Baseball Leagues. At the Conservatory, we made our own version of this historic prize with 30 PVC pipes spanning 8 to 15 ft tall.

Photo credit: Chicago Tribune

Red Stitching


Baseballs are complicated. Not only are they made up of a combination of cork, rubber, wool, cotton and leather, but each one also has 108 double red, wax stitches that are always stitched by hand! Can you believe it? To this day, they still haven’t figured out how to make a machine that can accurately stitch a professional baseball. To honor these compact works of art, we decorated our  center flower bed with a few hundred of our own hand-made red stitches.

Did you notice the shape of the center flower bed? It’s shaped like one of the leather pieces used to cover a baseball!

Photo credit: flickr user Andrew Malone

Behind the Scenes


Those stitches didn’t sew themselves!  Just like baseballs, our center flower bed  covering was hand-stitched by staff at the Conservatory.  This photo shows members of the Chicago Park District hard at work days before the opening of the Flower Show preparing to sew over 500 stitches for the show.  Preparation for this one element included fitting and cutting 1,440 square feet of roofing material, tracing over 2,000 drill holes, drilling (as pictured above) all those holes, and using 650  feet of red parachute cord to stitch it all together. #DevotedCubsFans