Monday, August 3, 2009

For all you Spring Flingers out there

This past weekend I was at the Chicago Botanic Garden checking out one of their American Flower Show Series (see the Chicagoland Gardening Magazine blog for an upcoming post about the show). After I finished my journalistic duties, I wandered around for a while taking pictures, and I thought those of you who visited the garden in May might appreciate how it looks now, at the height of summer (so to speak). You can click on any of the pictures to get a closer look. So without further ado...

Here is the prairie garden area in May, full of shooting stars (Dodecatheon meadia), prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis) in its early stages, and flowering spurge (Euphorbia corollata) that you can't even see in this picture.

Here is that prairie garden now! It's bursting with (left to right) prairie blazing star (Liatris pycnostachya), ironweed (Veronia noveboracensis), some type of sunflower (Unbelievably I couldn't find a name plate, but I'm guessing it's Helianthus rigidus), and purple coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea). The prairie dropseed in the foreground is now dwarfed by the forbs.

Another stretch of the prairie garden here had wild hyacinth (Camassia scilloides) blooming next to some extremely large leaves...

...which is the foliage of prairie dock (Silphium terebinthinaceum). Its relative, compass plant (S. laciniatum), grows next to it. These plants can reach about 10' tall, and I think these examples really display the variety of prairies through the seasons. I love how they morph from a field of little delicate flowers in spring to big, bold, even ostentatious, ones later in the summer.

Shown here are the veggie pillars we loved in the Regenstein Fruit & Vegetable Garden... those triangular beds are filled with tomatoes, lavender, and lavender hyssop (Agastache foeniculum).

Don't feel bad--their tomatoes are still green too!

I found lots of interesting and mouth-watering displays in the vegetable garden, which is understandably hitting its stride about now. They have voluminous raspberries...

...and espaliered pears...

...and, literally, low-hanging fruit!

I also noticed these random pots in the ground near some of the squash, and thanks to the interpretive signage I learned they're Rootmaker(TM) pots filled with sand that deliver water to the plants at four different levels underground. The staff waters the pots rather than the plants, and the water is distributed to the squash's deep roots. Neat, huh?

Now, back to the flowers: Here is the English Walled Garden in May...

...and here is the English Walled Garden now. Those astilbes looked even better in person!

Around the corner, I walked into one of the "rooms" and was physically stopped by this sight:

Rudbeckias as far as the eye could see! Those orange ones with the huge eyes are Rudbeckia hirta 'Autumn Colors', a very fitting name.

Back in May, the rose garden was doing nothing; in fact, the only picture I took there was of a tree peony. Now, there's much more going on:

Another look:

During our Spring Fling visit we had a good laugh at the rabbit problems we share with this venerable garden institution.

I laughed again when I saw this cute but destructive baby bunny going to town on a Heuchera. And this was taken right where the first photo was--near the dwarf conifer garden and waterfall garden. Their home must be nearby!

I saved my personal favorite for last. Remember the field of Icelandic poppies?

Gorgeous! Well, it looks even better now...

The poppies have been replaced by black-eyed susans (Rudbeckia hirta 'Indian Summer', 'Irish Spring', and 'Cherokee Sunset'), floss flower (Ageratum houstonianum), Zinnia elegans 'Benary's Scarlet Flame' and 'Magellan Yellow', and anise-scented sage (Salvia guaranitica). As beautiful as those poppies were, the color combination here is just breathtaking (I think). Let's see it again!

I hope you enjoyed my little CBG retrospective! I hadn't been there since the Fling and it was great to be back. A light rain kept the crowds down but also got on my nerves after a while, so my trip was cut a little short. Nevertheless, a lovely day!


Rose said...

Thank you for showing these, Rose! And I am so envious! Beckie and I had talked about going back to the Garden, but have never had time this summer. I remember seeing the prairie area from the train ride when it was little more than green--what a transformation! And I didn't think the field of poppies could get any better, but this planting is gorgeous. I'm sure seeing it in person really took your breath away. This would be a place to visit several times within a season to see everything. I hope you'll go back this fall and post about it again!

garden girl said...

Just beautiful Rose! I'm so glad you got a chance to go back and share the progress of the season. It's wonderful seeing it again.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

I need to get back there soon. Thanks for the before & after shots. It's always amazing how much prairie plantings change in just a couple of months.
I'm intrigued by those rootpot things. I'm always looking for better ways to water.

rambleonrose said...

Rose--I am hoping to go back again in October for another one of the American Flower Shows, and if I do I'll be sure to post about how the Garden looks as the season wraps up!

GG--Thanks! It was a lot of fun to see the comparisons!

MMG--I thought the rootpot things were really cool! It seems like a sensible way to conserve water.

Gail said...

It's all wonderful Rose! Thank you for sharing it with us...I am so glad i saw the garden this spring and can compare it with now! Magnificent! gail

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