Sunday, May 31, 2009

Spring Fling '09 Wrap-Up

The Garden Bloggers' Spring Fling is ending today, and it's been a great weekend filled with friendly bloggers and beautiful gardens. Unfortunately I had to miss the Sunday activities, but I wanted to share a look back at some of our other adventures.

We saw all sorts of unique trees at Rich's Foxwillow Pines on Thursday afternoon. This is a weeping Norway spruce (Picea abies 'Reflexa'). I love the weeping habit! I almost made an impulse purchase of a weeping dwarf Canadian hemlock (Tsuga canadensis). I would like to get an appropriate container and then go back for it--it was really adorable! Here's another curiosity, a dwarf spruce with purple cones (Picea bicolor 'Howell's Dwarf'):

On Friday we visited the Chicago Botanic Garden, one of the horticultural jewels of the Chicagoland area. It didn't disappoint. I loved these Icelandic poppies en masse:

The rose garden was the only area that wasn't really exploding with blooms at this time, but it did have some lovely tree peonies.

This one is 'Age of Gold', and it had a very pleasant citrusy fragrance.

Here's a look at one of the native areas. The texture of prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis) with the shooting stars (Dodecatheon meadia) floating overhead is just gorgeous.

I'm not even sure which area this technically is part of, but I thought this was a beautiful waterfall surrounded by trees and greenery.

Contrast that naturalistic setting with the geometric clarity of the English Walled Garden:

As you can see, there is great diversity at the Garden. And this is just a sample of the gardens across the property. We covered a lot of ground there on Friday. This was no mean feat because the place is huge!

On Saturday we had a whirlwind tour of a number of gardens. First was Rick Bayless's private garden, which supplies much of the produce for his restaurant. Here's a look at some of the veggies and edible flowers. Note the banana tree in the container to the back right:

There were charming ornamental areas as well:

After a delicious lunch at Andie's (don't miss the baklava!!), Carolyn Gail of Sweet Home and Garden Chicago let us pore over her property. What a great Japanese maple!

Carolyn maximizes a small urban space with different forms, structures, and levels. She has seating, statues, a pond, vines, containers, and varied plantings. This picture captures just a fraction of that creativity with the hanging basket of petunias, clematis climbing the trellis wall of her outdoor seating (I don't know what type of structure that is technically--it's not a pergola, but I'm unsure what exactly to call it), a unique water feature, which Dee from Red Dirt Ramblings is also admiring, the pond in the back right, and a colorful bed surrounding it all:

Then it was on to the Ginkgo Organic Gardens in Wrigleyville, which supplies communally grown produce to a local charity. They devote a lot of space to greens because those are the most popular with the charity's recipients:

My last stop of the day was the Lincoln Park Conservatory, located near the shore of Lake Michigan. They have all sorts of tropical delights, but our southern bloggers explained that much of the Conservatory's collection can be grown in a typical garden in their region. It reminded me how harsh our climate here truly is! I can't imagine being able to grow anything remotely like this outdoors!

All in all it was a fantastic experience. The weather was mostly cooperative, and everyone seemed to enjoy our wonderful city. It was great to meet and get to know so many fun and friendly bloggers, and I hope everyone else had as good of a time as I did!


Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

And we hardly got rained on at all!
The area at the botanic garden with the waterfalls is called, oddly enough, the Waterfall Garden. There is just too much at the botanic garden to see in one day, but all of it was wonderful. And so much fun.

Ramble on Rose said...

Thanks MMG! I still can't keep all the names of the gardens straight! I hope you guys had a great time today!

garden girl said...

Hi Rose, it was a pleasure meeting you at Spring Fling - so glad you were able to attend!

I'm enjoying all the unique perspectives of Spring Fling, and seeing things I missed while visiting the gardens. It's so nice to have a few spare minutes for blog visiting again!

Ramble on Rose said...

Hi Garden Girl! It was great to meet you too! It was a lovely weekend, and I am also enjoying seeing everyone's take on the events!

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Hi Rose, I see I'm not the only one who likes pinecone photos! I enjoyed meeting you and wish we'd had more time to chat.

Ramble on Rose said...

Hi Monica,
It was great to meet you too and I hope we have more opportunities to talk at the next Spring Fling! :)

Layanee said...

It was a great trip and tour and a delight to meet you. Love pinecone pictures and all the rest.

Diana said...

Rose -- it was so nice to meet you. Love your photo form Rich's of the Weeping Norway Spruce. I was totally smitten with them when they appeared in gardens all over the city. I sigh when I think that I simply can't plant them. But I could have that big palm from the conservatory, and do have 3 specimen sized Sago Palms that are wonderful, so I will be happy with the green hue on my side! You also got a great shot of the English walled garden -- I just love that cottage style, don't you?

Ramble on Rose said...

Layanee--It was great to meet you too! I look forward to hanging out at next year's Spring Fling!

Diana--It's so funny how we always want what we can't grow. I think growing a palm, or any really tropical plant, outdoors would be the greatest thing ever! But instead I'll have to content myself with conifers like that spruce! And yes I love the cottage look! I want to have plants spilling everywhere. I can appreciate the formal look, but my tastes run to the naturalistic and unbounded. The English Garden at CBG is probably my favorite area there.

Pam/Digging said...

Rose, it was a pleasure to meet you and fun to tour Rich's with you on Thursday. What a hoot, huh? I certainly did enjoy your fair city. Chicago's a cool town.

Ramble on Rose said...

Hi Pam,
I'm so glad you enjoyed Chicago! And yes, Rich's was certainly entertaining!

Sweet Home and Garden Carolina said...

Hi Rose,

Thanks for the great coverage and comments on my garden. It was a pleasure to welcome you and the 50 other CSF group.

That structure was originally a pergola until my husband, the engineer, turned it into an outdoor room with a roof. He likes to sit there even on rainy days.

Ramble on Rose said...

Thanks Carolyn! It was wonderful having a chance to see your garden, and it was very nice of you to open your home to all of us! Thank you as well for the clarification--"outdoor room" was the term that came to my mind, and with good reason!

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