Monday, August 6, 2012

Chicago Botanic Garden ... a haven or a heaven?

Chicago Botanic Garden … a haven or a heaven?

The flowers in bloom at Chicago Botanic were amazing on July 25, 2007 (my first visit to this exquisite collection of gardens).   The first time I laid eyes on this incredible place, I was smitten.  The garden has beckoned me to return countless times since 2007, and each season is unique, providing lovely venues for visitors.  

When Laurie Lamm of Lammscapes suggested arranging a bus tour to Chicago Botanic on July 25, 2012, I was thrilled to participate!  Exactly five years after my first visit, I was able to accompany thirty gardening aficionados to Glencoe, IL, so each could enjoy a variety of vistas throughout the 385-acre living plant museum and wildlife haven.   2012 also marks the 40th anniversary of Chicago Botanic.

Specialty gardens are scattered throughout the islands which comprise Chicago Botanic.  You may enjoy the newest exhibit for 2012, Butterflies & Blooms, where butterflies might land on your hand… or your hat.   Butterflies (in their pupa stage) are shipped from several continents, all destined for Chicago Botanic in IL. There is a model railroad garden featuring “G” scale trains and buildings to please train enthusiasts.  The Japanese Garden and English Walled Garden offer  sensational groupings of plants, paying homage to their respective countries.  

An amazing Vegetable Garden invites you to walk through, as well as a Sensory Garden and an Enabling Garden.  Horticulturists, volunteers and a dedicated staff at Chicago Botanic help ensure the plants are happy and healthy; and visitors receive a free detailed map to guide them as they meander through this horticultural heaven.  (Admission is free to the garden, but a parking fee applies.)

Members of our tour group commented they found unique design ideas and discovered plants they could incorporate into their personal spaces at home.  If our crazy, hectic world is getting the best of you, spend a day at Chicago Botanic; then YOU decide, is it a haven or a heaven?

M. Lynn Schmid,   Certified Master Gardener
A.A.S. Landscape/Horticulture/Arboriculture