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March 18 • 10:39 PM
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From Dryden to the Windy City!


Family's huge blue spruce off to Chicago



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The truck destined for Chicago is dwarfed by its cargo, a 40 foot Colorado blue spruce, that flanked the Gray’s driveway.
November 18, 2009
DRYDEN TWP. — From quiet Casey Road to the big city of Chicago—there's been an abrupt change of scenery for a 40 foot Colorado blue spruce that's been growing in Greg and Cynde Gray's yard for years. The tree was purchased by the Chicago Botanic Gardens. Crews came to the Gray's Peaceful Pines tree farm on Thursday to cut and load the mammoth pine for its journey west. Once there, the tree will be helicoptered onto an island where it will be decorated for the holidays.

Cynde said they were excited to learn that their tree had been chosen for public display.

"It had to be perfect," Cynde said of the type of tree the gardens wanted.

"It had to be perfect on all sides, the branches had to come all the way to the bottom and it had to be between 40 and 50 feet tall."

Chris Christman of Advanced Tree Moving helped lead garden officials to Gray's farm. Christman does regular business with the Grays.

"It's the first time we've sold one that big," Cynde said of the spruce. The farm has been in the Gray family for close to 180 years and Greg and Cynde have been selling trees since 1981.

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The tree gets wrapped for transportation to Chicago where it will be part of the botanic gardens holiday display. photo by Randy Jorgensen.
Now that the tree is on its way, the Grays are making plans to travel to Chicago themselves to see the once humble spruce in its decorated glory.

The Chicago Botanic Gardens holiday exhibition, Wonderland Express, runs from Nov. 27 through January 3 and includes a variety of indoor and outdoor displays. A garden-scale train display features miniature Chicago landmarks and realistic falling snow. Outdoors, more than 750,000 lights will make the landscape shine.

For more information about the botanic gardens, visit their Web site at www.chicagobotanic.org.

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