June 29, 2013 § 2 Comments
When I was a child we had a fish pond in our back yard that was my mother’s pride. I remember that my brother and I loved throwing feed into the water and watching the fish gobble up our gifts. I also remember my dad grudgingly scooping scum off the surface of the water, retrieving the blossoms, pears, and leaves that fell from the tree above, and trying valiantly to get a few water lilies to bloom. It was a lot of work and a source of conflict in our home.
On the other hand, I vividly remember the good times my brother and I shared watching the fish, playing on the rocks, and wondering how such beautiful flowers could float on water in the rock garden/fish pond in Eagle Point Park in my hometown of Dubuque, Iowa. I didn’t know it then, but the park was designed by Alfred Caldwell, a student of Jens Jensen and proponent of prairie architecture. Like his contemporary Frank Lloyd Wright, Caldwell’s designs are found throughout the Chicago area. Most notable is his lily pond in Chicago’s Lincoln Park which is a National Historic Landmark. It has occurred to me that my deep appreciation for the early works of Frank Lloyd Wright stems from the many childhood memories in the beautiful prairie style setting of Eagle Point Park created by Caldwell.
Because of these memories, I especially appreciate the gorgeous lilies in the reflecting pool in the garden at the Dana-Thomas House this year. The pool was filled in during the Thomas Publishing period, but it was rebuilt in the initial renovation by the State of Illinois in the 1980’s. Last summer the University of Illinois Extension Service Sangamon-Menard Master Gardeners and the Land of Lincoln Water Gardening Society teamed up to revitalize the pool (click here for details). With the addition of an aeration system and some beautiful new flowers, this summer the pool is restored to the splendor that Susan and her guests enjoyed—without scum.