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The Late Summer Garden 

By Barbara Gyarmathy 

The Garden Glory Days are here! August is the time to sit back and enjoy your hard work. But remember to… 

Keep watering!  The garden needs the equivalent of 1 inch of water per week and during especially hot weather, 1 inch every five days. Water deeply one or twice a week, and be sure to include your trees. 

Keep weeding. If you let the weeds flower and go to seed, you will have more next year. 

Check for Japanese beetles.  Control these shiny, metallic, bronze colored beetles by placing a bucket of soapy water or rubbing alcohol beneath the infested plant and knocking the bugs into the bucket. 

For roses, make the last application of a general-purpose rose fertilizer (such as a 10-10-10) around repeat bloomers. 

Irises, peonies and other perennials can be divided in late August and into the fall.  

Deadhead! Cutting back the spent flowers of an annual or perennial, which not only tidies up the garden but may also make room for new flowers. There are three general types of plants to consider when deadheading: 

Perennials such as catmint, bellflower, yarrow, chamomile, coreopsis, phlox, salvia and veronica tend to have a central bloom with several branches that form smaller blooms later. When they’re done blooming, you can cut the entire plant back by a third and wait for a rebloom, or you can remove the large center bloom to encourage the lateral buds to develop into flowers more quickly. Try to cut back to a spot right above a leaf because new buds and branches will likely form at that point.   

Other flowers send up leafless (or mostly leafless) flower stalks from a rosette of basal foliage.   Daylilies, coral bells and irises are good examples. Cut back the stalk to where the foliage begins when all the blooms are done.  Some plants will send up more flower stalks later, some won’t. 

Plants with a mounding habit and produce masses of small flowers such as Moonbeam coreopsis and catmint may benefit from a shearing.  Using pruners, you can take a little off the top, or reduce the plant down to a few inches.  Be sure to leave a little foliage to help plants gather energy and regrowFeed a balanced liquid fertilizer right away and plants will often have a lighter rebloom in a few weeks. 

Cut back straggly annuals like petunias to promote new growth. 

And it’s not too early to begin thinking about next year’s garden!  Begin planning a spring bulb garden and place your orders early. Survey your garden for places to tuck in spring-flowering bulbs, including tulips, daffodils, ornamental onions and others. Two of my favorites are allium azureum (a blue globe) and allium moly (a cheeky yellow). This practice will add color and life to your garden several months before most of your perennials bloom and give you a longer period of gardening satisfaction.   

This is the time to watch for maple tar spots, but don’t worry too much. Initial symptoms on maples are black irregular spots, usually inconspicuous until late summer or early fall.  It is primarily a cosmetic issue that rarely causes any other problems.  The disease is commonly seen on red maples, silver maples and Norway maples. Clean up the infected leaves and place them in the garbage (do not add them to your compost bins.) 

For those of you who feel the lawn in important, water during dry periods by applying 1 to 1 1/2 inches of water per week, and water early in the day to avoid evaporation.  Or better yet, allow the grass to go dormant and only water ¼ to ½ inch of water every two to four weeks to safeguard crowns. It will come back once the weather cools off.   

Mow lawns higher, about 2 ½-3 inches. 

Avoid applying nitrogen fertilizer during hot, dry conditions and avoid using post-emergent herbicides during hot weather when lawns are dormant. 

   

 

Things to Do in the June Garden

By Barbara Gyarmathy 
Master Gardener 
Much of the effort to plant our gardens has been accomplished by now. June is the month to reap the rewards of all that work and rest in the assurance the garden will now grow on auto-pilot.  You still need to be attentive to weeds and water but your winter dreams will now become reality to behold. Keep up with the following tasks: 

Move your houseplants outside to a shady location when nighttime temperatures are above 50 degrees. 

Water flowerbeds deeply – 1 to 1½ inches  of water per week, preferably using slow-drip systems.  If using a sprinkler or hose, early morning is best.  A native garden, by the third year, will not need to be watered except in cases of drought. 

Watch for Japanese beetles at the end of the month. If there are only a few, flip them with your fingertips into a jar of soapy water. If necessary, contact the local Extension office for suggestions on chemical controls. 

Apply a balanced fertilizer, such as 10-10-10, to roses at the end of the spring bloom. 

Try adding large containers with tropical plants to areas that need extra color and drama.  Bananas, caladium, elephant ears and palms work well. 

Speaking of color and drama, take time to see the Roy Diblik Garden of Living Art at the Beverly Arts Center, 111th and Western.  Located off the parking lot on the left side of courtyardit was planted last year by Diblik and members of the Morgan Park Beverly Hills Garden club. A seasoned gardener will tell you a newly planted garden “sleeps” the first year, the second year it “creeps” and the third year it “leaps. This garden, though newly planted, is already leaping.   

Diblik focuses on creating native gardens and is very mindful of having constant color or interesting textural elements in all four seasons.  Bulbs, grasses, carex and native perennials are used.  This summer, look for allium moly (lily leek) and allium schnoprasum (chives)salvia nemorosa (Wesuwe and Snowhill), allium angulosum (Summer Beauty), seslaria caerulea (spring moor grass), and calamintha nepeta (catmint).  In the fall salidago sphacelata (Wichita Mountain), asters (Twilight and Avondale) and Molina moor grass (Transparent) will take the stage. 

The garden looks different every week, so treat yourself to several visits!      

Things to Do in the May Garden

By Barbara Gyarmathy, Master Gardener

“Some of what happens to nature is beyond our control. But not our backyards. This is where we can do our bit to help the insects, butterflies, birds and animals that are necessary to life. The key word is habitat. It’s being lost all over the world, and with it, the biodiversity that’s essential to life on the planet. It’s up to us to put it back. One backyard at a time.”

— Carolyn Ulrich, Editor, Chicagoland Gardening Magazine

Non-native plant species provide on average 68% less food for insects and birds than native plants, and the good news is no yard is too small to go with earth-friendly native plants.

Consider these possibilities: Stachys ‘Hummelo’ (Perennial Plant Association’s Plant of the Year in 2019), Allium ‘Millenium’ (Plant of the Year 2018); monarda and milkweeds for our monarch butterflies and Calamintha nepetha for our bees; Little Blue Stem and Prairie Dropseed are favorite grasses; tithonia and zinnias are unsurpassed annuals providing both the nectar and habitat necessary for healthy native ecology.

Soon, a wide variety of native plants will be available in Beverly/Morgan Park when the second location for City Grange opens at 1818 W. 99th St. City Grange, Chicago’s only independent social-enterprise gardening company, offers organic and pesticide-free plants and seeds, soil and other gardening supplies.  City Grange has expanded it delivery zone to include Beverly/Morgan Park and they are offering online gardening classes. Find info at www.citygrange.com.

So now is the time to make your dream garden a reality. What tasks are at hand?

Continue to look for winter injury on trees and shrubs. Winter injury can occur on almost any plant, particularly those subject to drought stress, drying winds and plants growing outside their adapted range. Boxwood, azalea, rhododendron, arborvitae, juniper and many fruit trees are susceptible to winter kill. Leaves are usually the first to die, followed by buds and then the smaller twigs. Prune out twigs and branches that have not leafed out or consider removing extensively damaged plants.

Annuals and perennials can be planted in mid to late May. This is also the time to plant summer and fall-flowering bulbs such as dahlias, cannas, tuberous begonias, caladium, crocosmia, freesia, gladiolus or calla lilies.

When space is limited, consider implementing “edible landscaping.” Edible plants can be tucked into traditional ornamental landscapes. For example, add colorful lettuces, red mustard, or Swiss chard to your flower bed alongside annuals. Create edible containers that mingle with containers of tropical or annuals. The edibles will blend in best if you select dwarf varieties.

Apply mulch around plants when soil has warmed, usually late May. Never apply more than 2 inches and keep mulch pulled away from the plant crowns to prevent insect or disease problems. Consider planting closer, so less mulch is used.

Pinch off a ½ inch of the stems of chrysanthemums, asters, phlox, bee balm and sedum when they reach 6-7 inches tall. Pinching back shoots through June will increase the health of the plant and keep it from becoming straggly.

Remove spent flowers from spring bulbs, but allow bulb foliage to die back naturally. Leaves make food resources, which are stored in the bulbs for next year.

After mid-May:

Plant transplants of tomatoes, peppers and eggplant. Choose disease resistant varieties. Stake or cage plants and allow proper spacing.

Plants seeds of cucumbers and squash. Train these vining vegetables to some type of support such as existing fences, poles, wire cages and trellises.

Plant a selection of warm-season herbs including basil, rosemary, parsley and cilantro.

Prune spring-flowering shrubs right after they bloom (before next year’s buds are being formed).

And enjoy. The sunshine and increase in temperatures are so welcome by now. The scent of the fresh earth and listening to the flocks of geese flying overhead will diminish stress!

THINGS TO DO IN THE APRIL GARDEN 

By Barbara Gyarmathy 
Garden Club of Morgan Park Beverly Hills 

 

Spring has returned! Hopefully you had some time over the winter to ponder your sleeping garden, browse gardening magazines and spring catalogues or even read an article or two about adding native plants and practices to your gardening routine.   

We are excited to go outside and get started, but we need to wait, to take time. Current information our declining pollinators recommend that we leave some of the winter debris in place for a while, as many insects over-winter in leaf mulch or hollow stems. Do not rush to clean up or cut down. Let it warm up and do a little at a time.  After all, gardening is about the love of the journey.   

The frost-free date for our neighborhood is May 15, but there’s still a 50-50 chance of frost on that date. 

April garden tasks: 

Cut ornamental grasses to 4-6 inches before new growth starts. (For sesleriacut back only to where the stems are green at the bottom.) 

Cut back dead material from perennialscutting stems in small lengths so the debris can be left on the ground to naturally fertilize the area. Originally, every plant community on earth lived in healthy soil that was sustained by the plants themselves. 

Begin to divide and replant perennials (except peonies and bearded iris) as growth begins. Dig around the plant and remove the entire clump. Using a sharp knife or spade, divide the clump into sections, then replant and water well.  Resist the urge to work the soil too early. It can damage the soil’s structure and reduce air pores. To determine if the soil is dry enough to work use a spade to turn over a slice of soil about 6 inches deep, then take a handful of soil and squeeze it into a ball.  If the ball crumbles easily, it’s safe to work.  If it stays in a tight ball it is too wet. 

Do not apply mulch around plants until May. Covering the soil too early will delay it from warming up. 

For a colorful welcome to your home, plant cool-season hardy annuals such as pansies, violas, kale, primroses, ranunculus, sweet peas, snapdragons, bacopa nasturtiums, calendula and sweet alyssum in containers  

Prune clematis. Early flowering species that bloom in April to May require little pruning; they flower on “old wood” (the previous year’s growth). Early double and semi-double mid-season cultivars, which bloom in May and repeat bloom in fall and flower on old and new wood should be pruned lightly when buds swell, removing dead and weak stems. Late, large-flowered cultivars such as autumn clematis need a hard spring pruning. 

Prune hydrangeas. Some hydrangeas bloom on old wood while others bloom on new wood (the current year’s growth). Knowing which hydrangeas species you have planted will help your gardening efforts.   

Plant lettuce, cabbage, peas, mustard, broccoli and collard greens now. Wait until mid-May for the soil to warm to plant tomatoes, peppers, eggplant or basil outdoors. Consider using “no-till” gardening methods: Layer three to five sheets of black and white newspaper on the soil and then add layers of composted organic material lasagna-style. Plant directly into the layers. 

Transplant trees and shrubs before bud break. Visit www.urbanext.illinois.edu/treeselector to choose trees that grow well in Chicagoland or www.urbanext.illinois.edu/shrubselector to choose new shrubs or replace invasive ones. 

Call your local University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener helpline at 773-768-7779 with any questions. Master Gardeners answer calls about plant selection, tree and shrub health, vegetables, insects, diseases and more. You can also visit the Hort Answers website. www.urbanext.illinois.edu/hortanswersfor answers to common gardening questions. 

(The Garden Club of Morgan Park Beverly Hills was established in 1926. Members are dedicated to beautifying the neighborhood and educating themselves and others about garden caretaking,) 

Fresh Food to Combat a Food Desert 

By Kristin Boza 

Rashelle Strate is too nervous to drive on the highway, so she drives from her home in Beverly/Morgan Park through South Side neighborhoods to get to her job as a florist and gardener. During her commute, she noticed the lack of grocery stores in many South Side communities. As an avid home and professional gardener, she realized her home garden surplus could make an impact in the Englewood community, and the Beverly Farmacy was born.  

“Food justice and food equity is important to me, and I tried to think of a way to do something with my skills to help those affected,” Strate said. “I already had a home garden, and I decided to reach out to others in our area through Facebook to ask for them to donate a portion of their surplus.” 

The Beverly Farmacy is a collective of home gardeners who donate a fresh vegetables produced in their home gardens. Strate connected with the food pantry run out of St. Sabina Church in Englewood, which encouraged the donations since fresh produce is often difficult to come by for food pantries.  

“I chose St. Sabina because it’s in a neighborhood that is a food desert, and, although I am an atheist, I appreciate Father Michael Pfleger’s activism,” Strate said. “While the pantry gets many donations of canned goods, they didn’t get a lot of fresh produce. I donated what I could and now that Beverly Farmacy is headed into its fifth year, we are donating more and more.” 

This past summer, Strate pulled up most of the grass in her yard to plant even more vegetables. She has 12 raised beds, more plants directly in the ground, and her front yard and parkway are also dedicated spaces for growing vegetables.  

Beverly Farmacy members drop off their extra produce at Strate’s home each week. Then the real work beginsStrate spends approximately 20 hours a week harvesting her own garden, and washing and sorting the collected vegetables. She delivered two large carloads of produce to the food pantry each week.  

Recently, Strate was awarded the Chicago Excellence in Gardening award in the urban farm category.  

“I entered the contest to get more exposure for the Beverly Farmacy, and to get more people to join. I also wanted people in other neighborhoods to get involved as well, and I can help them set it up based on the model we perfected here,” Strate said. “By doing this, we tread more lightly, reduce waste, remove food deserts, reduce food injustice, teach ourselves and our kids about where food comes from, and build communities.” 

To get involved in Beverly Farmacy, find them on Facebook, Instagram or TheBeverlyFarmacy.org. 

Neighborhood Notes

BAPA, 19th Ward Examine Temporary Home Rentals. In response to a shooting incident that occurred the early morning hours of Jan. 1, the 19th Ward Office and BAPA are examining whether restrictions should be placed on local properties being used for online temporary home rentals. The property connected to where the incident occurred had been rented by an event promoter for a party; it has been permanently removed from the home rental platform. We remain concerned about the potential impact of short term online home rentals in our community. The City of Chicago’s ordinance regulating online home rentals includes a provision allowing residents an option to vote to restrict such rentals in individual precincts. BAPA and the 19th Ward office are examining information about this process. Residents interested in learning more can contact BAPA Executive Director Margot Holland, 773-233-3100 or mholland@bapa.org.

Never Go Without Supply Drive and Fundraiser. The 3rd annual supply drive for Never Go Without, a grassroots initiative designed to help supply women and girls in need with pads, tampons and incontinence supplies, continues this month and culminates with an awareness- and fund-raiser on Mar. 25. Drop off feminine care product donations during business hours at Bellē Up, 1915 W 103rd St., and Beverly Area Planning Association, 1987 W 111th St. The Mar. 25 event will be held at Chicago Party Animals Loft Venue, 1133 W. Fulton Market, 2 to 5 p.m. Tickets are $50. Tickets:  www.ngwevent.eventbrite.com. Info: nevergowithoutperiod.org or Lynette Rhymes, 773-881-0256.

Beverly Montessori School Open House. Beverly Montessori School, 9916 S. Walden Pwky., will host its annual open house Sun., Mar. 5, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Children and parents are welcome to tour the school, speak with staff, and explore Montessori classrooms and materials. Beverly Montessori School has been providing authentic Montessori education for 50 years. Programs include half-day and full-day preschool and kindergarten for 3- to 6-year-olds. All teachers are Montessori certified in Early Childhood. Info: 773-239-7635 or kciraulo@beverlymontessori.org.

Smith Village Hosts Open Mic Nights. Singers, musicians, comedians and “closet hams” are welcomed to entertain an appreciative audience during Smith Village’s open mic nights on the first Tuesday of the month, 7 to 10 p.m. in Smith Village Community Hall, 2320 W. 113th Pl. The next open mic is scheduled for Mar. 7. Complimentary refreshments will be served. The first open mic night in February drew neighborhood talent as well as musicians and folk singers from as far as Mokena and Chicago’s Clearing neighborhood. And Smith Village resident Loretta Coogan earned lots of laughs with her “good clean puns.” Other entertainers included Sharon Quigley of Beverly/Morgan Park who played guitar, Jackie Techmanski of Oak Lawn who sang Johnny Cash favorites, Ray Adams of Beverly/Morgan Park who performed George Benson hits on guitar, and Laura Amaro of Beverly/Morgan Park who sang and played guitar. To sign up an act, contact Debbie Parks, who assembles the talent, at dahp2002@aol.com or 773-574-9727. For information about attending, call 773-474-7300 and ask for Meghan Maple.

Platinum Adventures Club Outings. Join the Platinum Adventures Club of Beverly Bank & Trust for this month’s programs: A visit to the Irish American Heritage Center and lunch at Gale Street Inn, Wed., Mar. 8, departing at 10 a.m.; “Loves Labor Lost,” Shakespeare Theater at Navy Pier, Wed., Mar. 15, departing at 11:15 a.m., and Chicago Flower & Garden Show with lunch at Navy Pier, Thurs., Mar. 23, departing at 9:30 a.m. Buses depart from Ridge Academy, 103rd and Campbell. Costs vary. Info/reservations: Margie O’Connell, 773-239-2265 or moconnell@thebeverlybank.com.

Seniors’ St. Pat’s Party. The 19th Ward Senior Citizen Saint Patrick’s Day Party will held Wed., Mar. 8, 12 to 2 p.m., 115 Bourbon Street, 3359 W. 115th St. $5 admission includes family style lunch and live music. Cash bar. Open to 19th Ward residents only; reservations required: 773-2388766 or moira@the19thward.com.

Put Your Best Fork Forward. Smith Village, 2320 W. 113th Pl., invites friends and neighbors to the annual health fair Thurs., Mar. 9, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The life plan community sponsors this free event to share with neighbors the same wealth of health expertise available to its residents, including food demos and samples; National Nutrition Month giveaways; information about healthy snacking and recipes; free blood pressure checks and blood sugar testing; information on coping with dementia; and flu shots. Info: Christina O’Neil, 773-474-7300.

Burglary Prevention Seminar. Keeping it Real, a burglary prevention seminar, will be presented Thurs., Mar. 9, 6:30 p.m., Beverly Arts Center, 2407 W. 111th St. The seminar features real criminals sharing their inside information on what makes homes vulnerable to break-ins and how to better protect your home and property. Questions? mattoshea@the19thward.com.

Running Excels Challenge. Running Excels, 10328 S. Western, has a new fun challenge for neighborhood runners.  Anyone who runs the 6 mile loop 25 times will earn a shirt; 50 and 75 times will earn prizes; and 100 times will earn a party in their honor. Group runs are open to people of all paces and abilities and are held Saturday, 7 a.m., and Tuesday and Thursday at 6 p.m., meeting at 103rd and Western.  Participants do not have to run the entire 6 miles. Info www.runningexcels.com/group-runs-walks.

Boy Scout Pancake Breakfast. Boy Scout Troop 609 will host the annual pancake breakfast fundraiser Sat., Mar. 11, 7:30 a.m. to noon, Morgan Park Baptist Church, 11024 S. Bell Ave.

Shamrock Skate. The 19th Ward Shamrock Skate will be held Sat., Mar. 11, 4:30 to 5:50 p.m., Morgan Park Sports Center, 11505 S. Western. Adults and teens 13 to 17, $5; school age children, 12 and under, $4; seniors, age 60 and up, $2. Skate rental, $3.

Nonviolence Conflict Resolution. The Southwest Chicago Diversity Collaborative (SCDC) will partner with Beverly Unitarian Church and the Addie Wyatt Center for Nonviolence Training to present an afternoon of education and discussion on Martin Luther King’s approach to nonviolent conflict reconciliation on Sat., Mar. 11. SCDC meets regularly on the first Wednesday of every month, 7:30 p.m., BAPA Community Room; next meeting Apr.5. Info: swchicagodiversity@gmail.com.

Register Now for Saturday Art Classes. Registration is open for the Vanderpoel Art Association Saturday Drawing Class, spring session that begins Mar. 11, 10 a.m., Vanderpoel Art Gallery, Ridge Park, 9625 S. Longwood Dr. Taught by Jim McGreal, the class covers the basics of drawing, in addition to cartooning, and sequential art (comic strips, comic books and graphic novels). Class limited to 15 students. Registration: https://jmcstudios.com/vaa/2017-spring-class-registration-form.php.

Stress Management and Healthy Family Relationships. Effective communication is the best tool for a family to use to successfully navigate stressors, and often the most underutilized.  Yulinda Rahman, LCPC will lead “Stress Management and Healthy Family Relationships,” Sat., Mar. 11, 3 to 5 p.m., Beverly Therapists, 10725 S. Western, 2nd floor.  The interactive workshop will teach about establishing healthy boundaries and creating self-care systems as a means of managing stress and maintaining healthy relationships within the family.  $10.  Info/registration: www.BeverlyTherapists.com.

Apply Now for Master Gardener Program. The University of Illinois Extension Master Gardener program in Chicago is accepting applications for the autumn 2017 training now through Apr. 1. Interested candidates may apply at http://web.extension.illinois.edu/cook/chicagomg/. Master Gardeners must complete a minimum of 72 hours of training and volunteer at least 60 hours at approved sites within one year of their training. Info: Latasha Reggans, University of Illinois Extension, 773-233-2900 Ext. 207.

Beverly Wedding Expo. Couples who are planning their wedding are invited to meet with caterers, florists, bakers, photographers, musicians, invitation designers and more at the Beverly Wedding Expo, Sun., Mar. 19, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Beverly Arts Center. 2407 W. 111th St. More than 50 vendors will offer samples and information on the latest wedding trends. Admission: $10 per person or $15 per couple at www.beverlyartcenter.org.

Spirit of the Natural World.  Art & Linda’s Wildflowers present Capturing the Spirit of the Natural World, Sun., Mar. 19, 2 p.m., Ridge Historical Society, 10621 S. Seeley Ave.  Learn tips and tricks of the trade. Q and A follows presentation. $5 RHS members, $10 non-members. Info: 773-881-1675 or ridgehistory@hotmail.com.

Downsizing Workshop at Mercy Circle. Ric Roemer of Creative Homes Services, who has helped more than 250 seniors move from their family homes and into senior living communities, will host presentations on downsizing during the open house at Mercy Circle, 3659 W. 99th St., Sun., Mar. 19, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. “The main thing we do is help people sort through their things and decide what options work for them when down-sizing,” Roemer said. “Learning about different ways to manage and get rid of too much stuff is an important first step in working towards a better, easier, maintenance-free living situation.” During the open house, prospective residents and their families will meet Mercy Circle staff and learn more about only faith-based retirement community in the area.    Mercy Circle offers spacious residences at all levels of care, along with thoughtful amenities, life enrichment programs and social and friendship opportunities. To schedule a seat reservation for the free seminar, get more information or setup a private appointment, call 773-253-3600.

19th Ward Town Hall Meeting. Representatives from government agencies will be part of a discussion of community events and to answer questions and concerns, Wed., Mar. 22, 7 p.m., Graver Park, 1518 W. 102nd Pl.

League of Women Voters Meeting.  League of Women Voters of Chicago, Far Southwest Side Group, will meet Wed., Mar. 22, 7 p.m., 9822 S. Hoyne Ave, to discuss public education. Public welcome. Info: 312-939-5949, 773-779-4928 or lwvchicago.org.

SXU Hosts Economic Summit. Under a Trump presidency, will the U.S. economy soar or crash with his policies? Is our economy ready for higher interest rates? Should investors run for the hills in fear of 1930s style protectionist policies that could damage global trade? Learn the answers to these pressing questions and more at the 3rd Annual Economic Summit presented by a team of economists from Saint Xavier University’s (SXU) Graham School of Management and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, and hosted by Graham School of Management Fri., Mar. 24, 7:30 to 9 a.m., Metropolitan Club, East Room, 233 S. Wacker Dr. Info: Nicholas J. Mancari, 773-298-3603 or mancari@sxu.edu.

Community Painting Party. The Ridge Park Advisory Council (RPAC) will host a community painting party for ages 7 and up, Sat., Apr. 1, 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Ridge Park, 9625 S. Longwood Dr. The painting session will be conducted by local artist Sandy Washington. The painting party includes tours of the Vanderpoel Art Gallery, a collection of 19th and 20th century fine art located in the field house.\The $15 fee includes a small canvas and painting supplies. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Sign up at www.eventbrite.com/e/ridge-park-advisory-council-painting-party-tickets-32098787337. Info: Mary Jo Viero, 773-233-3100 or mjviero@bapa.org.

Rourke Joins Staff at McAuley High School. Beverly/Morgan Park neighbor Peggy Rourke has joined Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School as director of alumnae relations and development. Rourke brings nine years of fundraising experience to her role. Most recently she served as the director of development for Beacon Therapeutic and Diagnostic Treatment Center, where she successfully increased donor revenue for its annual holiday event from $30,000 to $100,000. She also was responsible for developing a junior board of young executives and implementing the annual Beacon Bash to raise money for homeless kids.  As the operator of her own fitness company, Rourke develops and leads fitness classes for children and adults. Rourke will spearhead fundraising and recruiting within the Mother McAuley and Saint Xavier Academy alumnae community.