Our garden gates have closed...
Thank you to all the artists, musicians, volunteers and patrons who have made Gallery In The Garden such a wonderful experience for 10 years!
Final thoughts from co-founder Deb Glaubke
Lessons From The Garden
My psychology professor once said, "Everything you need to know about Life can be found in Nature."
No poem or painting can capture the mystery, beauty or joy that is a garden. It has another quality so sublime, that it must be experienced personally to fully understand. When I hold the dark, pungent soil of the garden in my hands, it's essence connects me to the Earth's life force. I am grounded to this ancient home. It is the rot and decay of things past, the birthplace of life to come.
In the beginning, it was just a grassy yard ringed only by mature trees, a blank canvas upon which I chose to create. The ever wet middle became a pond and bog garden, where I placed my first element, a Red Twig bush. Then came the wonderfully fragrant Korean Spice, Verbenum, Hemlock and River Birch. Friends donated starts of Bee Balm, Coneflowers and Fern. The garden designed itself according to need or necessity. Rooms began to suggest themselves, hidden around each bend of the path and the magic began. Buddha presided over the waterfall, frogs and fish. Birds came to bathe, dragonflies darted.
When I grew tired, I would lie upon the bamboo bench and look up through the branches of the giant Silver Maple and watch the passing clouds, as a yellow Swallow Tail just drifted by. Many times I've thought..."If this is my last moment of Life, it would be perfect."
I didn't think that I could share my garden, watch indifferent strangers enter my private world with uncaring eyes to the beauty around them. And during the first few hours of the first Gallery In The Garden, this was true. I somehow felt violated. But my partner Gale, son Rob and I had a vision to bring affordable art to McHenry County homes by showcasing local artists, as well as musicians. It was the last weekend of July 2005 and what we wished for, regardless of my feelings at the moment, was now taking place. After awhile, I began to mingle among the guests who were unaware that I was the gardner and much to my delight I heard comments like, "If I lived here, I would never come indoors" or "This garden is so meditative." Others would seek me out in order to compliment the presentation of the show in this setting. I felt so proud that my efforts had provided a lovely experience for so many and somehow surprised too, because others saw and felt what I did.
As nine years of Gallery In The Garden turned into ten, my body began to feel the toll and reluctantly, I realized that this would be my last year. The garden too was feeling it's age and the earliest bushes, like the Red Twig were showing signs of decline. I somehow thought in my early years of being a gardner, that somehow the things I planted just lived forever. Now I know better...there is a beginning and end to everything. Nature teaching again about Life.
The last day, July 26, 2015, I didn't know how I was going to feel. After all, this event had dominated my life for a long time, given my life purpose, created caring relationships and meant so much to so many. Artists were crying as they said their farewells; CASA volunteers, those wonderful, tireless people, talked about gratitude for a great run; guests didn't know what they were going to do without this event, which they looked forward to each Summer. I nodded and hugged, accepting their heartfelt words, but inside I felt relief. Was this wrong, shouldn't I feel guilty? All that everyone said and felt, I said and felt, but along with that I thought ,"Yes, but my hip and knee hurt, sections of the fence are rotting, bushes need replacing and most of all...the anxiety of waiting for Tom Skilling's forecast for that weekend every year is OVER!"
The garden and I will be reinventing ourselves in 2016 and who knows if I may have another "give it a go" in me down the line. Gallery In The Garden was one of the most meaningful experiences in my life, because I learned that an ordinary person can have a seed of an idea, plant it and watch it grow into something beautiful. Thank you for that lesson too, Mother Nature.