Friday, November 16, 2012

The Lurie Garden and Millenium Park in Chicago

My last post on the Windy City takes us back to Millenium Park and the Lurie Garden. The Lurie Garden has long been a garden I have been fascinated by and wanted to see. It is a garden designed in part by Dutch designer Piet Oudolf. I have been reading about his design philosophy and like that he likes gardens to be interesting in all seasons of the year. He does this by designing with plants that have neat seedheads and textures. You will see his design at its finest during the period we visited in late October because the seedheads were outstanding. We start with a shot of a redbud and some kind of grass; which escapes me. Please if anyone knows feel free to post it in the comments.
There were lots of blooms to be had in the garden. Verbena bonariensis and a red flower (unknown to me) were in full bloom.
Here are some of the textures of the garden. Remember this garden is built on a parking garage. The grasses have all gone by and are now turning golden russets and golds. Can you see the black seedheads of the 'Goldsturm' rudbeckia? The garden reminds me of what I would think a prairie would look like.
Maybe a close up will help you to see the Goldsturm seedheads.
I was impressed by the sidewalks made out of some kind of granite as best as I could tell. The straw colored perennial on the side of the sidewalk is Amsonia hubrichtii.
More seedheads in front of Amsonia hubrichtii which are probably coneflower seedheads.
A good part of the garden was walled off by solid impenetrable arborvitae and viburnum hedges. Doesn't the green make a nice living wall for the garden? The borders were probably about 10 feet wide and I was a bit amazed at how well the arborvitae were doing while being packed together like sardines in a can. The plants to the right of the walk are Russian Sage, coneflower, and more amsonia. Amsonia is a fabulous perennial if you have the spot for something that is okay in sun or part shade, is drought tolerant, lives a long time,  and looks good most of the year
More textures and seedheads of what I think is millet.The garden just seems to be filled with pin cushions but the effect is overall a soft effect.
Finally, the sun is setting on our visit to Chicago and the Lurie Garden so soon we must say goodbye...

in the garden....
Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden


  1. It is so fascinating that this garden is built over a parking garage! Amazing what people can do when they put their mind to it! Love the textures.

  2. I'll take your photos, that beautiful scenery and the text as my (un)authorised birthday present today. Many thanks. This is the reason why I love autumn. Those colours are just out of this world.

    Greetings from London.

  3. I say good for them! Making such good use of that space. Wouldn't the world be a better place if we did more of that? If it was up to me all buildings would be covered in creeping fig, and Jasmine! Who needs paint?

  4. I think the red flower in the second photo is a Persicara which is a favourite of Odulf. Thank you for sharing your photos, I think I have seen photos of this garden before in a magazine but I always wonder how airbrushed magazine photos are. Therefore seeing yours shows me that the gardens are indeed wonderful and full of movement

  5. Seeing gardens in fall are so different then views in spring or summer arent they? But lovely in their own magical way. Love the idea of this being on top of a parking garage!

  6. On a parking garage??? What a great idea. Looks good.

  7. I love this place! The first time I visited the Lurie Gardens was during the Chicago Spring Fling in '09, and it was so beautiful in the springtime. In fact, that is where I first fell in love with baptisia and amsonia. I saw it briefly again one summer, but I always wondered what it must look like later in the year--thanks so much for showing it in its fall splendor.

    The arborvitae, as I remember, are an homage to Carl Sandburg's poem calling Chicago the city of "Big Shoulders."

  8. Okay, so now I know what kind of garden appeals to me most. It's the Piet Oudolf style! When I picture how I want my garden to look, that's exactly the effect I like most. But I had never heard of him. Turns out he designs gardens just the way I like best.

  9. I remember seeing so many of the Flingers posting pictures of this garden. Love the fall photos as well as the ones from that spring a couple years ago. I do like the thought that this is what the prairie looked like before we moved westward.

  10. I have wanted to see this garden ever since the Garden Fling photos showed it in the summer in all its summer glory. Judging from your photos, it looks good in the fall as well.