While cleaning out the photo files on the computer in order to make room for yet more photos if the sun were to ever shine again, we were forced to go through the images taken during the Garden Bloggers Spring Fling at the end of May in Chicago. Like our beach vacation folder, this is a very large file and each image needed to be studied and its worthiness determined. A daunting task.
It was difficult to let go, but there were hundreds of shots and not enough space to keep them all.
These photos taken at the Lurie Garden in Millenium Park are the vision that comes to mind when remembering what we learned during this trip that could be put to use in the Fairegarden. On a much smaller scale of course, but it was the use of large drifts of a few varieties of Salvias blooming beautifully in shades of blue and purple that seemed doable here. S. ‘May Night’, S. ‘Blue Hill’ and S. ‘Caradonna’ are already citizens of the Fairegarden.
Plant names were written down in the notebook, trying to get the full botanical latin and correct spelling. Once back home, plants were moved and new ones purchased to try to get the same vibe as the Lurie presented. The pink fluff that is Prairie Smoke, Geum triflorum was ordered immediately upon returning home from Chicago from High Country Gardens. The muhly bed along the driveway was enlarged to make way for our own version, the Fairelurie. Click here to read about it. An update will be posted soon to show what that bed looks like now. Note: it does not look like this.
There are certain aspects of the Lurie that cannot be duplicated, like the juxtaposition of the modern and traditional architecture of the skyscrapers with the timelessness of the mass plantings.
With Taurean determination, plants from the notebook were tracked down and purchased. Some were found at our local treasure, Mouse Creek Nursery. Others had to be ordered online. Two new types of Amsonias from Mouse Creek have been added here, A. tabernaemontana and A. illustris. A. hubrichtii was here already. The image above shows the blue stars of Amsonia tabernaemontana fronting Baptisia spikes. We have blue, white and yellow Baptisias that give us spring flowers and lush blue green fresh foliage for the rest of summer. They are not planted with the Amsonias and don’t really move well, but this is a good combo that has been noted for the future.
The above plant was particularly elusive, but finally a source was found, it was ordered, delivered and planted. Sanguisorba menziesii, three pots, were purchased from Arrowhead Alpines, along with several other must haves. They don’t look like anything more than sticks at the moment, but next spring should see the toothed foliage emerge with fresh vigor. There may even be flowers.
Another garden visited that was chock full of ideas was the Chicago Botanical Garden. These planters look like hypertufa and were so colorful at the entrance to the native area.
The Botanical gardens were spread out. As walled steps were climbed, this poppy field was revealed at the top. The vision took your breath away as the hidden vista jumped into view, it had every single visitor clicking their shutters whilst oohing and aahing.
The conifer garden was superb. Miniatures of every hue and form lined the paths while the larger specimens commanded respect behind.
Walking towards the veggie area, this planting was passed and the need to add this plant to our own space was noted. Pasqueflower, Pulsatilla vulgaris is grown at Mouse Creek. It has been ogled several times when perusing the greenhouses there and might have to be added this fall. Fall is a most excellent time to plant in our area, the heat has subsided and the ground is moist. Roots will grow happily over the winter to produce large and strong foliage and stems in the spring. It is much easier on the plants to not have to deal with the heat and drought of summer while still being able to send searching roots into the soil.
The veggie bed was the most ornamental ever seen. It is fun to imagine our own veggie plot so neat and geometrically planted. Not likely to be achieved, but still a nice dream.
On our final day in Chicago, the architectural river cruise tour was enjoyed with a couple of fellow bloggers. We learned the history of many stand out buildings and background stories of the times during which they were built. A fun side excursion before hitting the Miracle Mile of Michigan Avenue shopping.
During the long nights of winter when there is a lack of brilliant color in the garden, photos like these will keep our cogs and wheels clicking and turning while we plan and dream of next year’s garden.
Added: This post has been added to the fabulously pedicured Veg Plotting’s Out On The Street series, OOTS for the third quarter. Thanks, VP!