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Tomatoes Highlighted & Prairie Tallest Ever at 26th Annual Heirloom Garden Show on August 23

CAMPTON HILLS, IL- Garfield Farm Museum presents its 26th Annual Heirloom Garden Show on Sunday, August 23rd from 11 am - 4 pm. The show provides a wonderful opportunity for garden and culinary enthusiasts to spend a summer afternoon touring the museum’s three heirloom gardens and interacting with Midwestern and local growers showing off their favorite heirloom vegetables, flowers, herbs, and fruits.  Last minute exhibitors are still welcome.

      For over 25 years Garfield Farm Museum has hosted the Heirloom Garden Show to increase public awareness regarding the loss of genetic diversity in the plants that provide us with food, fiber, medicine, and enjoyment. A hard year for all gardeners, the increased rains provided little time to work plots during the crucial early weeks of the growing season. As a result, this year’s show will be more intimate with a focus on hardy vegetables and rare flowers.

    The chance to meet backyard gardeners, many of whom are members of the Seed Savers Exchange (SSE), a nonprofit organization that has connected plant enthusiasts from around the world, is reason enough to attend the show.  SSE is a remarkable grass roots effort, located in Decorah, Iowa, begun in 1975 and has expanded to care for a collection of over 25,000 varieties.

     Yet, for those who have no interest in gardening themselves, just seeing and sampling the variety these growers bring makes the day well spent. One family from Wisconsin will be displaying and selling over seventy varieties of tomatoes; a rare culinary opportunity to explore the tastes and textures these vegetables can offer. There will also be exhibitors with garden seed and plants for sale, including but not limited to garlic, beans, peppers, zinnias, and petunias.

    Just across the garden fence are nature’s select blooms as the prairie has reached new heights with the extra rains of May and June. Compass plant flower stalks reach 8 feet with ease and though thinned out, the native nuisance plant, giant ragweed approaches 10 - 12 feet. Renowned local botanist Jack Shouba plans to give walks amongst these newest plant kingdom high rises.

    Taking a tour of the 1846 brick inn ignites the imagination of what life was like in another time, under vastly different circumstances. For some, just sitting in the courtyard of the Burr House Visitor Center and enjoying refreshments from Inglenook Pantry of Geneva offers a chance to take in a view of a scenic, rural life.

    The heirloom vegetable garden, with its pre-1860s cultivars, makes a great supposition of what our ancestors planted. An additional garden near the kitchen of the inn contains culinary and medicinal plants. Grown just for this show, an annual garden of antique flowers reflects appreciated beauty. Many of the annuals are varieties Thomas Jefferson grew, as his elaborate notes and descriptions match what varieties survive today.

    The show is $6 for adults and $3 for children under 13 years of age. For information, contact 630 584-8485 or email The museum is located 5 miles west of Geneva, IL off ILL Rt.38 on Garfield Road.