Huntington Garden in Schiller Park is markng its 25th anniversary and the volunteers who maintain the garden are having a celebration slated from 1:30 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 5, at the park.
The observance will offer patrons a chance to thank a "deadheader," a term gardeners apply to those who pinch off the stem of the flower between the dead bloom and healthy growth.
In addition, there will be live music from the Hip Replacements, food from the Captain Gyro food truck, dogs performing agility tests and acrobatics, and a cake walk, similar to musical chairs, in which cake is rewarded to the winners.
The garden's silver anniversary coincides with a combined effort to build the Meeting Haus.
Bert Stevens, chairwoman of the garden, said planning the garden wasn't easy but paying for it would take some effort.
Jeff McNealey, now a retired lawyer and former member of the German Village Society, approached Huntington National Bank to buy a furnace for the Meeting Haus, Stevens said.
The answer was an emphatic "no," but the locally based bank, now Huntington Bancshare, expressed interest in establishing a garden and agreed to subsidize its $100,000 construction.
The entire garden consists of three 2,500-square-foot beds leading up to the Friedrich von Schiller statue from the west side of the park.
The promenade is lined with bricks and larger stones with German phrases from Schiller, a German poet, philosopher, physician, historian and playwright.
"This was all grass originally," Stevens said.
Flowers bordered by boxwoods in the east and west beds are predominantly black and gold, representing the German flag, while colors in the middle bed, also framed by shrubs, largely features red, white and blue flowers, representing the American flag.
"And that's to show those cultures coming together in German Village," Stevens said.
There are now 45 active deadheaders, who snip and pluck on Tuesdays and Saturdays April through October, tending to 12,000 plants representing hundreds of varieties of flowers.
"They have chlorophyll in their veins," Stevens said of the deadheaders.
Huntington Bancshare no longer contributes to the purchase of the flowers, which costs about $7,000 per year, Stevens said.
"Most of the money in the past few years has come from the people in German Village," she said, adding that Dummen Orange North America, a company based in Germany but has a local office, underwrote this year's planting. Dummen Orange is a producer, breeder and distributor flowers worldwide.
"It's challenging," Stevens said of raising money. "But we've built an endowment that, if I have to, I can use."
Stevens has administrative help from David Gaumer and Linda Friedman, who call themselves co-chairmen.
Gaumer, who joined the Huntington Garden team upon its founding, said caretakers are notoriously picky about the arrangements.
"We're always changing things," he said. "We don't like the spot it's in or the colors."
Friedman said she loves showing the garden off to visitors but she, too, is beginning to get flower fatigue, having toiled in the soil for 24 years.
"I never thought I'd be doing it this long," she said.