Tag Archive | flowers

The Botanic Garden Up Close

This year, the Chicago Botanic Garden is celebrating its 50th Anniversary. I have been visiting the Garden for almost that many years and have been a member for a good many of those. And for the past eleven years I have included posts featuring the Garden here on WordPress.

Naturally, many of the pictures are of flowers, although with most posts I have tried, not always successfully, to stick to a single theme, be it color, season or one particular area of the Garden. This time I’d like to present my close-up view of the Garden.

There are 12 featured areas in the Garden which include:- Bulb, Circle, Crescent, Enabling, English Walled Garden, Evening Island, Fruit and Vegetable Garden, Heritage, Japanese, Native Plant, Rose and Sensory Gardens. Each one of these is beautifully set out and maintained with a colorful array of flowers and plants.

But the Garden is about so much more than just the flowers. It’s about the buildings and bridges, the statuary and structures such as the bell tower and its ‘command center’ hidden among the treetops.

There are also three natural areas in the Garden including:- McDonald Woods, the Prairie and the Nature Reserve. So let’s not forget the wildlife. The larger birds are easy to spot, but the smaller ones like the mother hummingbird with her baby in its nest are not quite so easy to find. And watch out for the giant fish lurking underneath the Serpentine Bridge by Evening Island.

This probably won’t be my last post on the Chicago Botanic Garden this year, but I will certainly endeavor to come up with a fresh angle and new pictures in future features.

Summer’s Progress

Meanwhile, back in our garden, summer’s progress has provided us with an array of colorful flowers and interesting creatures.

The butterflies, bees and dragonflies are a welcome sight, the Japanese beetles not so much.

Sunflowers and nesting material continue to attract the goldfinches, and the hummingbirds love that Brazilian Blue Sage!

The rabbit has been busy as there are baby bunnies dashing about all over the place when I go out to work in the garden. It’s one of the reasons I let a few weeds grow in between the plants. I hope the rabbits go for the weeds. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!

Summer In The Valley – Part 1

Every season at Spring Valley Nature Center in Schaumburg has something special to offer and summertime means, amongst many other things, flowers. The new garden by the Visitors Center is flourishing with all kinds of plants that attract butterflies and bees.

The wealth and variety of wildflowers in the prairie areas is simply astounding! This doesn’t come without a lot of work on the part of the Nature Center’s dedicated staff, I’m sure. And they have done a magnificent job.

There was, however, one cause for concern. Even with all these lovely flowers, there were very few butterflies. By this time I would have expected to see monarchs, swallowtails and cabbage whites fluttering about all over the place. This may change in a week or two. I hope so.

Meanwhile……

Back in our garden, although I may have moaned about it at the time, the copious amounts of rain that we received earlier in the Spring really paid off. Everything has grown splendidly, and the flowers are looking even lovelier than ever. Mother Nature really knows how to put on a show!

Of course, these two visitors didn’t mind the rain and were so bold, they were practically knocking on the back door, waiting for me to come out and feed them.

Although it can be hard work at times, the garden has been a constant blessing. Right now, the poppies are popping, and the irises are looking radiant. Luckily, the peonies are not all blooming at the same time so we can enjoy their fragrance for a longer period of time.

The growing season is so short here in Chicago, but we manage to pack a lot into that time. Still to come are day lilies, oriental lilies, blue Brazilian sage (great for attracting hummingbirds,) dahlias (hopefully,) zinnias, cosmos and much more.

Gathering Lilacs

Last week I made my annual pilgrimage to Lilacia Park in Lombard. The timing is always a bit ‘hit or miss’ on these trips. Will the lilacs be in full bloom? Will the tulips still be as colorful? I usually go by the small lilac bush in my garden, so when it looks like it’s almost at its peak, that’s when I head for Lilacia Park.

That wonderful lilac perfume greets you at the entrance and beckons you in, and although many of the tulips had started to fade and droop, there were still plenty to make a stunning display, while the lilacs were simply gorgeous.

I’m always reminded of that old song “We’ll Gather Lilacs” by Ivor Novello when I visit Lilacia Park, although it bears little resemblance to an English lane. Still, the sentiment is there.

The park is a comparatively small one, but the layout is cleverly arranged to maximize the effect of the flowers and shrubs, with paths that wind back and forth among the lawns and flower beds. And there were plenty of people to admire the scenery.

Garden Mystery Solved

The prime reason for my trip to the Chicago Botanic Garden this week was to solve a mystery that had been bugging me ever since my last visit, but more on that later. Needless to say, I got sidetracked by all the beautiful scenery and colorful flowers.

As to the mystery, you may remember, if you read my earlier post, that a strange structure had sprung up in one of the open spaces in the garden. This turned out to be an art installation, one of several, that will help to celebrate the Garden’s 50th Anniversary this year. As I mentioned before, they rarely have outdoor art exhibits, the garden itself being enough to please the eye without further embellishments but I’m looking forward to seeing the completed project and will share more pictures in future Garden posts.

Heat Wave

Our mini heatwave lasted all of one day. Typical Chicago weather! One day in the 80’s and the next in the 30’s, so I’m glad I took the opportunity to visit the Botanic Garden when I did.

Spring has definitely sprung at the Garden with golden drifts of daffodils at every turn, while in the English Garden they had a delightful display of diminutive irises.

At a time when there are so many yellow flowers blooming, the purple ones always stand out in the crowd. My favorite color!

Over in the field where they usually hold the summer kite festival, an interesting structure appears to have sprung up. I’m not sure if it’s something left over from a previous display, there was no sign indicating what it was, or if it’s part of a new exhibit, but it certainly caught everyone’s attention.

One Last Look

It was supposed to be sunny on Friday but instead we got more rain. I’d already made up my mind to visit the Chicago Botanic Garden to take one last look at the Orchid Show and didn’t want to change my plans so off I went.

The show was due to close on Sunday, and it seemed as though everyone had the same idea, to get one more glimpse of those beautiful blooms. I noticed that there were several other plants that were blooming in the greenhouses so I may go back in a week or so, when the orchids are removed, to take a closer look.

As it was, the orchids still took center stage and a second look revealed more and more amazing aspects of these spectacular flowers.

The place was packed, so much so that after an hour of walking around the show taking pictures, I was glad to get out into the fresh air and since there was a brief lull in the rain, I decided to take a walk up to the bell tower.

The lawn in front of the tower was carpeted with crocus. All they need is a little sun to encourage them to open up.

And it looked like they were re-paving the seating area at the base of the tower, one of the many improvements that the Garden is undertaking this year.

A Spectacular Show

My first trip to the Chicago Botanic Garden this year was to the Orchid Show yesterday. As always, they put on a spectacular show of colorful blooms and even though there was still snow on the ground outside, in the greenhouses it seemed very springlike.

Things are never dull at the Garden. There’s always something in the works and this year is no exception. They are planning on building a new Welcome Plaza, due to open this Fall, so things were a little different at the entrance, with much of the area fenced off due to construction. It will be interesting to see how it develops. They have also started the new policy of charging for admission as well as the usual parking fee so be prepared if you decide to visit. The ‘Untamed’ Orchid Show runs through March 27 and is well worth a look. I spent two hours in there, taking pictures, and look forward to a return visit with some of the family.