Monday, November 5, 2012

Part 1: Visitng the Chicago Botanic Garden in Late October

On my recent trip to northern Illinois my husband and I not only visited the Wheels of Time Museum in the Peoria area but we also spend a weekend in the Chicago area. Chicago is about two and one half hours from Peoria so we decided to get a hotel for two nights so that we could explore Chicago at our leisure. And explore we did! This week I'll be posting pictures from our visit to the Chicago Botanic Garden; which is located about 20 miles north of Chicago. I took so many pictures so I am breaking up the posts into three posts so as to not overload you all. 

I have uploaded some of the many photos I took in sequential order so you'll be seeing parts of the garden in the order we saw them. First of all let me say that the Chicago Botanic Gardens are very friendly towards members of the Armed Forces and their veterans. Our admission was free. Be sure to ask for this discount no matter where you travel if you are a member or a veteran of the Armed Force. Even at full price the fee was a reasonable $20 per car for parking. If you wish to visit the gardens (and tons of people were there on the very cold Sunday we visited) bring along the family to maximize the benefits. 

We start just prior to entering the visitors hall. Outside of this lovely and modern building was a map of the gardens along with some cut flowers showing some of the many flowers in bloom and their locations in the garden. This was a helpful map for us although almost all flowers in the gardens are marked with easy to find markers.You can see that even in late October there was still plenty of color to be found in the gardens.
Once you leave the visitors center you walk out into the garden under an amazing display of pumpkin colored mums. I don't know how the staff did this display but it was splendid!
You next come to water gardens where water plants of all kinds were blooming. We were told by our guide that these ponds were heated thus allowing the water plants to bloom for a longer period of time.
I am not sure where I took this picture but I liked all the color and textures. If I had taken the same picture in spring or even summer it would be completely different. That is the beauty of gardens and I want to stress that gardens can be beautiful in ALL seasons and have colors in all seasons. I am sure that even in winter the Chicago Botanic Garden has tons of color. The key with these gardens is to mass the same type of plants, play with different textures and colors, and ensure the heights are compatible.
This picture my eyes are drawn to the upright evergreens although all together all of the plants make for interest. The lattice arbor is draped with what looked like to be Sweet Autumn Clematis (one of my least favorite vines), there is a fothergilla (the red leaved shrub), lavender (gray short subshrub), and roses as well. This view also borrows views in the distance. The one thing about the Chicago Botanic Garden is that the property is laid out in gently rolling swales that tumble amongst islands and lakes. It was an amazing garden.
On one side of the English Walled Garden (designed by John Brookes--the famous garden designer that I actually took an online garden design class from) was this serene pool of water you can overlook to let your eye travel to the lake beyond. The autumn leaves dangling from the tree (probably a redbud) are punctuation points to the serene scene.

And we finish out this post with a view outside of the English Walled Garden of a traditional English garden border. If you look at the first picture you can see the purple flower prominently displayed. It is Salvia leucantha 'Midnight'. Rounding out this view are perennial sunflowers (in the background) which are probably Helianthus 'Maximillion' or something similar, and the white daisy in the foreground is probably Leucanthemum x superbum. I have to apologize for not knowing all of the flower names and botanical descriptions. I did not write them all down so I am relying on my memory here. Specific cultivars may vary from what I have posted. You are certainly welcomed to check the excellent Chicago Botanic Garden website of "What is in bloom this week".

in the garden....

My apologies to friends on Facebook who may have seen the last picture before. I liked it so much I had to post it twice. For those of you reading this blog who are not friends of Coach In the Garden on Facebook please like my page found here: Coach In the Garden
On this page I post specific garden related pictures and plants from garden tours as well as from my own garden. I also post links to the blog that contain garden related issues and I post pertinent garden information that may be of interest to Zone 6/7 gardeners. Thanks.  

Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden


  1. Thank you so much for sharing this, Tina! The last time I visited the Chicago Botanic Garden was two years ago in late September. Seeing your photos made me go back and check out my post from that time, reliving some great memories of that visit with friends. I remembered the overhanging mums on the bridge--in '10 they were pink; I wonder if they use mums every year and just change the colors? I was fascinated, too, by how they had been secured to the trellis overhead.

    We went on a cool day in late September, and many of the blooms had already started to fade, though they hadn't been hit by frost yet. You're so right that this place shows how to create interest in the garden in every season.

    The Chicago Botanic Garden is definitely a must-see for any gardener visiting the Windy City; you've made me want to go back again next year! And the state of Illinois thanks you for promoting tourism here:)

  2. Oh my, those mums as you enter the garden are just amazing! I would have been spending lots of time trying to decided how they did that! Things such as that are something we would never make in our own gardens but so much fun to see in Botanical Gardens....

    Their web site is great! It tells more then just about the gardens themself, like how to winterize your trees! Great asset to gardeners. This garden would be a must when in the area for sure....

  3. OWOW! MUM extravaganza! How'dthey do that???

  4. I was wondering the same think. How did they do the mums display. It really is a seasonally welcoming entrance.

  5. Ok. Simple. I don't know how I've missed this before but this garden is moving up to the top of my "bucket list." :)

  6. Hi Tina, that's an awesome garden and display. And i also wonder how they did the display of mums, and that's really plenty. And i wonder how long that will last, certainly it is difficult to water them.

  7. Super jealous of you seeing the Chicago Botanic Garden. Love the combo of the Mexican Sage and daisies. What great color!!

  8. I had no idea ‘Midnight’ sage was a salvia? Salvia and sages are part of the same family? You learn something new all the time reading blogs! These are all beautiful pictures. I should probably see Chicago at some point. The furthest north I’ve ever been was Cincinnati I drove there twice in one week and it was no pleasure trip. I’m perplexed by the mums, I wonder how they did that?