Tag Archive | Chicago Botanic Garden

Final Impressions

Here are a few final impressions that I took away with me from the Orchid Show at the Chicago Botanic Garden this year. I made a total of three visits there, and each time saw something different that caught my eye as I wandered through the greenhouses.

These images will hopefully carry me through the final days of winter until we finally welcome spring flowers and warmer temperatures. I can’t wait for the new growing season to start, both at the Chicago Botanic Garden and in my own garden.

The show is on through March 26th so there is still time to see all these beautiful blooms if you happen to be in the area. Even if you’re not, it’s well worth the trip.

Brilliant Timing!

Having already postponed our 50th wedding anniversary celebrations earlier in the year because of bad weather, we opted, instead, to have a family get-together at our house this past weekend. My cousin was flying in from England and everyone was looking forward to seeing people that they hadn’t seen since COVID began.

So, what do you do when you’re expecting 17 people for dinner the next day? Why, you get rushed to hospital for an appendectomy. Brilliant timing, I don’t think! However, the surgeon did an amazing job on the morning of the party and I was home by late afternoon to enjoy the celebrations.

Since I had been encouraged to walk about a bit once I got home, we followed through with plans to take my cousin to the Orchid Show on Monday.

Because I’d already visited the Orchid Show on two other occasions, this time I concentrated more on the other things that were growing in the greenhouses. The cacti and succulant foliage were well worth a shot or two.

All’s well that ends well. I still have a few more pictures of the Orchid Show to post but, for now, I’m just going to sit back and relax and give myself time to heal.

Sunshine And Orchids

What a difference a few days make. Today we are recovering from yesterday’s ice storm, but on Monday the weather was nice enough to allow for a trip to the Chicago Botanic Garden and the annual Orchid Show.

Heading indoors for the Orchid Show, we found the place packed, not surprisingly, as it was Presidents Day. The theme for the show this year is ‘Orchids Magnified’ and the layout featured some interesting displays that included large magnifying lenses and small, hand held magnifying glasses with which to get a closer look at the blooms.

Although the magnifying lenses were an interesting concept, they were something of a challenge to photograph and, with the place being so crowded, it wasn’t always easy to maneuver in order to get the best shot.

Thankfully, much of the exhibition was sans lenses and so the camera was able to capture a clear image of some beautiful blooms.

The Orchid Show runs through March 26 so there’s still plenty of time left to visit. I would like to go again, perhaps when it’s not quite so busy, to take a less hectic look at things without feeling rushed to move on.

There are special hours for photographers to enjoy the show on Tuesdays from 8:15am to 9:45am. And there will be a post-show plant sale on March 30 from 9am to 4pm when many of the orchids in the show will be for sale.

Walking Squares – At The Chicago Botanic Garden

I do a considerable amount of walking during the course of the year, at places like the Chicago Botanic Gardens, and combining this exercise with the pleasure of photography makes the walk even more enjoyable. It’s good to see Becky’s Square Photo Challenge back again. Thank you for continuing to host this unique challenge, Becky!

It occurs to me that some of these shots might fit the bill for Jez’s Water, Water Everywhere Challenge too. And we might even Pull Up A Seat or two with XingfuMama.

Last year, I wrote a piece called Thoughts on Walking. It was on one of my other blogs that I rarely use so it didn’t get much notice. If you didn’t already see it and have the time and the inclination to read it, I would be thrilled.

In Search Of Dahlias

The last time I was at the Chicago Botanic Garden, I discovered a nice collection of dahlias. They are one of my favorite garden flowers with such a variety of colors and shapes.

I know I left it a bit late in the year to go looking, but I was trying to think where else I’d seen such lovely flowers. The answer was our local conservatory at Friendship Park.

You need plenty of space to grow dahlias effectively and my garden is so full of flowers and plants of all kinds that they nearly always get crowded out, but still I like to try and grow at least a couple. Once again they were pushed aside, this time by the Brazilian blue sage but not before one of them managed to put out some beautiful blooms. This one is called Caribbean Fantasy.


There aren’t too many areas in the Chicago Botanic Garden that I haven’t included in many of the posts here, but I’m fairly confident that this is a first for the Bonsai Collection. There are nearly 300 specimens in the Garden’s collection and many are featured in a display that fills two courtyards.

The collection is made up mostly from donations including 19 imported from Japan by bonsai master Susumu Nakamura. This amazing display can be viewed at the Garden from mid-April to early November.

I’ve always been fascinated by miniatures, mostly in the form of doll houses, so these are especially appealing to me. But considering how long they take to cultivate, I’m not sure that it would be something I would want to take up as a hobby, other than maybe just collecting them.

Most of the trees on display are from 50 to 100 years old, but the one pictured below is considered to be 600 to 1000 years old. This pine tree was collected in the Rocky Mountains.

The Last Rose Of Summer – A Tribute To The Queen

I was feeling in sombre mood when I visited the Rose Garden at the Chicago Botanic Garden yesterday. I’d been watching, via the BBC website, the Queen’s procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall and wishing that I could have been there to say a final farewell. I had already planned this visit to the Garden so I thought I’d see it through and I must admit, the sight of so many lovely roses still in bloom, lifted my spirits.

I clearly remember seeing the Queen’s coronation on a TV newly acquired by my Aunt for the occasion, my first introduction to the ‘goggle box.’ Even then, at six-years-old, I was aware of the pomp and ceremony that surrounded Her Majesty. I’d been given a coronation mug at school and my parents had bought me a miniature coronation carriage so I knew something big was happening. After that, I got to see the Queen twice in person during the years that I lived in the UK. Only brief glimpses admittedly, but none the less awe-inspiring. Since then, I have admired her from afar.

In loving memory of Queen Elizabeth II. What a remarkable woman she was!

Garden Science

While I was visiting the Evaluation Gardens at the Chicago Botanic Garden a couple of weeks ago, I stopped in at the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Plant Conservation Science Center.

The Center provides laboratories and teaching facilities for more than 200 Ph.D. scientists, land managers, students and interns. It is also home to a doctoral program in plant biology and conservation with Northwestern University. The Center covers 38,000 square feet and a viewing gallery is open to the public.

A stairway leads to the second floor where a 16,000 square foot Green Roof Garden is also open to the public. From here you get a good view of the nurseries where they are preparing hundreds of plants for autumn planting and displays.


Wednesday morning found me at the Chicago Botanic Garden, crossing the Trellis Bridge to the Evaluation Gardens. I don’t very often visit the far side of the Garden but on this occasion I was in for a very pleasant surprise.

This is the part of the Garden where they evaluate plants to see how well they do in our extremely unforgiving climate, with bitterly cold winters and broiling hot summers, droughts and deluges and temperatures that can change by as much as 30 degrees in a matter of hours. Here, they are checking out old favorites like hibiscus, aliums and butterfly bushes. I did find it interesting to note that the many monarch butterflies that were about seemed to prefer the yellow cup plant to the purple blooms of the buddleja.

The Mitsuzo and Kyoko Shida Evaluation Garden, a new part of the Evaluation Gardens, has only been open for about a year and this was in the nature of an exploration for me as I followed the perimeter road. At the beginning of the garden, on either side of the road, are some lovely seating areas where they are testing out different varieties of clematis.

I took the gravel path nearest to the lake, past beds where they are evaluating various varieties of hydrangeas and Crepe Myrtle. It is very peaceful here as not many people seem to have discovered this new area yet.

Following the path, I came to a tunnel that will soon be covered by crabapple trees. Inside, it was lined with what appeared to be some kind of aster plant. At the end of this tunnel was another pleasant seating area.

Crossing over the road, I headed back in the opposite direction, through another tunnel of crabapples that culminated in yet another quiet seating area.

On this side of the road are the huge nursery greenhouses where most of the Garden’s plants have their beginnings. I must sign up to take a members-only tour of these greenhouses. It should be very interesting to see how things operate in there.

But of more immediate interest were the plantings on the other side of the tunnel. Bed after bed of colorful zinnias, cornflowers and cosmos, interspersed with roses and tall grasses, were so beautiful I found it difficult to tear myself away from them.

You can bet I will be heading back to this part of the garden very soon.