The other day I was extended the opportunity to take a field trip along with my coworker Ed to the Morton Arboretum for a green industry event. It is located about 45 minutes south of my work, in Lisle. I haven’t really seen many of these sorts of green spaces so far, so it was a great opportunity to not only get out of the office, but scope out a potential picnic spot.
The two of us piled into my car and took off, arriving just in time to practice for the Bags tournament. Ed had never before played this Midwest lawn game staple, so the practice was much needed. The boards were pretty far apart, slick, and at a low slope, so it was basically impossible. We got a bye through the first round, and then got blanked 21-0 in the second. We were not at all worthy of the 100 dollar prize, but we nursed our wounds with the catered food and drink.
Following food we justified our presence by walking around the different booths, trying to take in as much as possible. None of the companies here were directly relevant to the products that we deal with, but our attendance was pitched simply as an opportunity to learn more about what else was out there. I talked with a nursery, soil amendment blender, landscaping equipment manufacturer, one of our distributors, and to some guy about green roof technology. The takeaways each did more to round out my rather limited knowledge of the industry. I also learned a thing or two about Live Walls, which are clearly exciting.
Since we were already there, the two of us decided to walk through some of the rest of the arboretum. The grounds were sprawling, and far larger than we had either the energy or interest in exploring. We strolled through the conifer section, and also a hedge maze. This was all that we really needed to confirm that it would be worth revisiting at some point, and perhaps in the fall to capture the changing leaves. There was an unexplained series of pillars among the pines that caught our attention.
The last thing we did was walk through the lobby to grab a drink and absorb the history of the massive 1,700 acre expanse. I was surprised to learn that the ‘Morton’ part of the name comes from Joy Morton, of salt company fame, and this used to be his farm. After that we took off, to drive back to Buffalo Grove. It was a nice excursion, on a perfect day, that really helped to break up the workweek. Hopefully I’ll have the chance to steal away on a few more of these outings in the future.