Studio Brunstrum

Guys, Dolls, Gardens, Pool Time & Pasta

July 29, 2015

A.K.A. Channing Tatum, with Matt Bomer and the other cast of male entertainers,as they call themselves, (they are NOT strippers- too good for that) won’t win an Academy Award but the film is very entertaining and great eye candy!

Sound likea movie or title of a novel? It pretty much sums up  my weekend which ranged fromsunshine -a little pool time until it poured rain -to the sublime – the DearbornGarden Walk on the Gold Coast followed by Italian food – to pure escapism –watching the movie "Magic Mike XXL"in Evanston – a definite "chickflick."  "Magic Mike" A.K.A. Channing Tatum, with Matt Bomer and the othercast of male entertainers,as they call themselves, (they are NOT strippers- toogood for that) won’t win anAcademy Award but the film is very entertaining and great eye candy! Dare, I admit that?Oh, yes!

Let’s focuson flowers, however. This year marked the 57th Annual Dearborn Garden Walk, one ofthe oldest garden walks in the nation, and it was a memorable experience. The five of us found the best of urban gardening inmore than 20 spectacular private gardens. I loved "discovering" so many floralsanctuaries off of alleys and gangways that you would never know are there.

My 3personal favorite gardens of the day included:

1.     GrahamFoundation for Advanced Studies in Fine Arts. I thought this was a residencebut it is not! It is in my own backyard but I never knew it existed. Thehighlight here is the collection of architectural fragments in the courtyard ofthe Prairie-style Madlener House, built in 1901-02. You can visit the house andcourtyard Wednesdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. For moreinformation visit I wantto go back!

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2.     A privateresidence on North LaSalle with an enormous tree anchoring the mostly shadedgarden. An inviting path winds from the back of the house to the rear of theyard and in between is a koi pond, low enough so you can sit on the edge and peerin.  Very natural and inviting, not fussy – my favorite style.

3.     Anotherprivate residence on North Dearborn included a two-story coach house and acourtyard. The vintage oversized square and circular bricks embedded in theexisting running brick walls of the courtyard were fabulous. I had some ofthese in my garden in Libertyville that I purchased many years ago at theSandwich Antique Fair. I had not thought, however, to embed them in an existingwall. Very clever! Mine were sprinkled amongst my flowers in the garden. Thepair of over-scaled street lamps hung as sconces on the brick wall was alsoclever. Two winding staircases and a beautiful carved antique metal fence withbamboo planted behind topped off the space. Does anyone know if the owners rentthe coach house? If so, let me know, I would move again. Seriously.

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Next up,Old Town. Overheated from the sun, we needed to quench our thirst so we dinedoutdoors at Orso’s for some Old-World Italian food in their back garden beneaththe grapevines..  It’s very quaint and shady, and again, I did not know itexisted even though it’s a 40-year-old restaurant and have eaten inside and onthe front patio. A neighborhood secret!


Susan Brunstrum
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