Publisher's Note

Make Your Home a Garden

This year, I anticipated the springtime like never before. I recently moved into a new home, when winter was well underway—so the blank slate of a backyard just wasn’t a priority. But recently, with the hint of spring in the air, I longed for an outdoor retreat from a long day at the office, and realized just how important it was to me to transform that bare-bones patio into a peaceful outdoor sanctuary!

As the article in this issue describes, the landscape architect can indeed be just as important as the interior designer. We met to discuss the kind of space I wanted—the types of plants, desired colors, and, of course, the amount of maintenance that would be required. I can hardly wait for the proper landscaping to create my perfect haven for this summer!

Here is one example of art and science working in tandem—knowing what plants, trees and flowers will flourish in the outdoor space based on the available light and type of environment. Another example takes place every summer in rural Washburn at the weeklong camp known as Art & Science in the Woods.

Joan Root Ericksen and Bob Ericksen of the Sun Foundation founded the camp 35 years ago to give children in central Illinois a chance to learn and express their creativity in a beautiful natural setting. Their experiences teaching in the concrete jungle of urban Chicago led them to this mission, to which they’ve dedicated their lives. They are truly very special people.

With the onset of spring and summer, we’re back outdoors, and that means so much more to do! The Peoria Zoo will unveil its long-awaited Africa! exhibit to the public on June 6th. I was able to get a sneak peek earlier this year, and I can assure you that it will not disappoint! Meet some of the new animals who will call Peoria home in these pages.

Elsewhere, we preview the work of several of the artists you’ll see at the fourth annual Art Fair at Junction City, sponsored by the Peoria Art Guild. Painter Tracey Frugoli, last year’s winner of Best in Show, gets her inspiration from the natural world and often travels to open-air painting events. Read more about her and four other fascinating artists in this issue.

The natural world can bring a spiritual awakening, where the circle of life is realized. There is therapy in blue skies and sunshine, fresh air after a spring rain, the discovery of buds on bushes, and the delight in confirming that the perennials planted the year before survived the winter cold.

I still remember the looks on my children’s faces when they presented me with the first dandelion bouquet of the season. They saw beauty in the yellow “flower!” I was thrilled to find that lilacs would bloom in my outdoor space, as I, too, have fond memories of their perfume, carried into the house on a warm evening breeze. So get out there and smell the flowers! a&s