Mary lives in Bucktown

You know, Mary... she's quite contrary. Her backyard - and a lot of her neighbors - have beautiful and creative gardens in Bucktown, as discovered a few weeks ago in the Bucktown Garden Walk. Some friends mentioned the garden walk was coming up and I put it on my calendar. Bucktown is a western neighborhood in Chicago which features a large number of townhomes. Its a great concept: Start at the block party; complete with food trucks, live music, games for kids and community organization promoting their work. Then walk throughout the neighborhood popping in and out of back yards, roof tops and parkways. Over 80 homes participated in the walk and with weather upwards of 90*, you could only get to so many without passing out. Check out some of my favorite gardens discovered along the way. From simple and sophisticated to ornate and unique, these gardens have it all!

Below: The best grilled cheese I've ever had complete with all the grease and a side of fries.

Below: The first stop was a tranquil garden with views from their front room.

Above: Three takes on backyard patios. Plush pillows, traditional benches and flat screen TV cover all the bases for an afternoon or evening out back.

Above: The fish of the day was - Coy. Several gardens had a coy pond. This particular one stays all year with the help of an intricate heating system. These guys are 25 years old!

Above: This was the garden of all gardens. From safari animals to Jurassic Park, this was by far the most imaginative home. The owners were wonderful and walked you though their playful inspiration for turning the space into an experience.

Below: A more traditional garden with a mix of flowers and vegetables.

Above: The perfect rooftop oasis with full table & chairs, grill and plant enclosed trellis.

Above: These self-sustaining hanging gardens are perfect for city living.

Below: Two different styles of Bucktown parkway gardens.

One of the best parts of a Chicago summer are all of the different fests you can attend. This was a great way to spend an afternoon. I know I will be back next year to tackle a few more streets and see what else the neighborhood has to offer.

What are some of our favorite festivals or actives to do in your area? Leave a recommendation in the comment section below.

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