Thursday, July 11, 2013

A 5 Acre Urban Oasis

One objective during my vacation time is always to get a "plant fix" (beyond catching up with weeding my garden).  My wife, two daughters and I went to Chicago yesterday with the primary destination being the Art Institute of Chicago ( which is a "must see" by the way.  The Art Institute is just south of Millennium Park which is a  24.5 acre space I've enjoyed over the years many times as I've watched it grow and develop.  This park was developed over an industrial wasteland (former parking lots and industrial railway lines) and is now one of the primary features along the lakefront.  However, my favorite portion of this park is the Lurie Garden (seen above and below).  This 5 acre garden has four seasons of interest with broad swaths of color, form and interest.  Water features bisect the garden and it's amazing to see the vast amounts of visitors enjoying the peacefulness of this restive space.  From their own website (, I quote, "This garden is living art - a palette of texture and color blending Chicago's unique culture, ecology, history and people."  Don't miss a visit to this garden (and the Art Institute of Chicago) when you find yourself in the Windy City.  While we didn't enjoy the drive in to town (or back out during rush hour), the destinations were well worth it and my plant fix has been satisfied.  Below are some other highlights of the visit including some cool art.

Red Hills with Flowers by Georgia O'Keeffe (1937)
Chrysanthemums by Pierre-August Renoir (1881-1882)
In the Lurie Garden, globe thistle (Echinops sp.) combined with rusty foxglove (Digitalis ferruginea)
globe thistle (Echinops sp.) close-up
In the Lurie Garden, Queen-of-the-Prairie (Filipendula rubra)
the family with the Cloud Gate ("the bean") sculpture - stainless steel with no visible seams...
the family with some cool planters along Michigan Avenue (same below)...would love to get these for the gardens...

Millennium Park plantings
median planting on Michigan Avenue with the Invincibelle Spirit pink hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens 'NCHA1')
one of many streetside planters

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