Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Chicago Garden, The Back Story

Under Construction....

The back story: I grew up in Chicago surrounded by asphalt and concrete. Gardening entered my life only after moving to Newport street. Sean may remember opening the back door on frigid mornings so our well-trained puppy could make his way to a designated spot alongside the garage.

Newport was my home on and off while doing graduate work in sculpture in California, and then an M.F.A. in New York. The brick garage, its ancient wooden barn doors piled high with snow and ice in winter when the alley was plowed, functioned as a welding studio, and a sequestered place to work with resins.

The garden only began to take precedence when I suffered burn-out with the art world. One show a year; the constant hustle of part-time teaching positions; grant writing; securing gallery representation. 

After years of yearning to dig in the soil, or add structure to the space, each time I walked the 25 feet from the back door to the studio... Let's say I finally gave in to the impulse. A turning point that had this zealous Type A enthralled in garden work from the first sign of spring, through the mild days of fall. In fact, in mid-winter, too, if I found something to prune.

By 1998, when Tom and I moved to the Bay Area, the garden was awarded a First Place in Mayor Daley's Landscape Awards Program

And I had signed my first book contract for West Coast Gardenwalks. 


  1. It's beautiful, Alice. Love the red door.

  2. Beautiful, beautiful garden Alice. I've enjoyed reading the backstory about both your Chicago and CA gardens. I hadn't known about your Chicago connection before.