Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Lurie Gardens

We have a former coworker in from South Carolina who had never been to Millennium Park before moving down south.  So, a group of us all boarded the "milktrain" into the city getting on at various stops along the way.  The extra time to get there was fine with us because we are never without a great deal to talk about.

The Bean is what most people come to see at Millennium Park.  After so much controversy when it was being built, it has now becomes the main draw for families and adults alike.

In the beginning the controversy was centered about the money it was costing to achieve this gleaming finish.  It is like a landscape painting looking at all of the reflections of the people, buildings and skyline of Chicago.

This is the water wall that is a huge attraction and activity for the children.

There is a lot of construction going on so the bus that usually departs for the park outside the train station was no longer stopping there.  We just kept walking east towards Lake Michigan and in no time we had arrived, again too much talking.

The Pritzker Pavillion is very futuristic looking with steel jutting out in all directions.

We were thrilled to hear the rehearsal for a tribute to Frank Loesser who wrote the music for Guys and Dolls, great music!

The Lurie Gardens (planned by Piet Oudolf) are probably in the hottest section of the park with very little tree cover.  Even though the temperatures approached 90 degrees that breeze from the lake made the gardens bearable with short respits along the perimeters where there were some trees.

Chicago Apache Daylily

The specimens are not identified as they state that they are not a botanic garden, but it is frustrating to walk through a display garden such as this and not have anything labeled.  They do identify all of their plants on the Lurie Garden website but is is like a game trying to match a photo to the name.

The philosophy, structure such as spiky, soft, arching, color, tall and rough.  These are all working together without that patterned look.

I am the last gardener who could implement this look in my small garden, but I can certainly use this philosophy of not worrying about our age old planting system of repeating plants, planting in threes, fives, etc.  I am now looking at structure, colors, mood, softness and trying to repeat these attributes rather than just using the same plants throughout the border.

There is a major use of Allium Summer Beauty throughout the plantings and the flowers still look great.

Prairie Dropseed With Allium

Softness, Filipendula rubra venusta

Anemone hupensis japonica splendens

Spikiness and roughness also works with softness

The Karl Foerster grass looked great much better than mine up in Wisconsin.

Veronicastrum Virginicum Diane

This is a spiky grass that also has softness, Panicum Shenandoah.  I am trying to incorporate this into my back border so there is some color during the winter.  Shenandoah is a shorter grass, narrow, and blends in great with perennials.

Again, we see the extensive use of allium, with some coneflowers and the softness of Amsonia Hubrichtii in the background.

I have come to the conclusion that most of us cannot have a Piet Oudolf garden but we can use some of his ideas to make our gardens more seasonally interesting. 

Well we were headed back home on the "milktrain" again but time flew as we were still talking!


Karen said...

Wonderful tour, Eileen. The 'bean' is certainly an attraction and the wall of water is amazing, too.

I love the daylilies all blooming, what a sight. Someday I'd like to see this in person. The textures all used together are very interesting.

Cottage Garden said...

Wow! Incredible architecture Eileen. I love The 'bean'!


Karen Geisler said...

Great photos! While you have a small garden, I hope you'll try the Allium 'Summer Beauty' shown in your pictures. I have it in my garden and it's a wonderful plant with three seasons of interest.

Athena at Minerva's Garden said...

Hi Eileen: What amazing architecture, and how cool that you got to hear some of the Frank Loesser tribute--I love Broadway! It is always attention-getting to see a mass of flowers or grasses--beautiful. Take care--have a super weekend!

Beth said...

Hi Eileen, I loved seeing Millenium Park and Lurie Park too. Those daylilies are gorgeous!

Lona said...

Well I have never seen the Bean before.Now I have, LOL! How amazing! The park plantings are so lovely. I like all the grasses and layering of plants. Have a wonderful weekend.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Karen,

It is a wonderful sight and you would have the room to do this type of garden.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Jeanne,

The Bean is really something, people under it all day long.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Karen,

It seems like this allium is not so readily available and only in potted containers. I will look for it locally.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Athena,

Thanks for visiting. It was fun to have entertainment as we strolled through the garden.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Beth,

It was a nice day, not 100 degrees.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Lona,

You would love the gardens, some unusual plantings in there. I couldn't even seem to find some on their website.


CanadianGardenJoy said...

Eileen I have never seen anything like that BEAN ! LOL .. I can imagine controversy over costs though .. and yet it is totally amazing drawing your attention to it.
The gardens were pretty .. My "Karl" is doing well and the variegated version is too .. but my other grasses I moved thinking they would get enough sun .. nope ! so I will have to move them again .. plants really should have wheels?LOL .. this year has been a hard one on our gardens though .. we are desperate for rain and I am tired of dragging the hose around !haha
Your gardens always look fantastic Eileen .. follow your instinct because it is perfect !

Rose said...

Thanks for this lovely summer tour--without having to endure the heat:) I visited the Lurie Garden several years ago during the spring, and I always enjoy seeing how it looks during different seasons. I agree--we may not be able to copy this type of garden, but there is certainly inspiration here for any gardener. After my visit, I added baptisia and amsonia to my own garden, choices I've never regretted.

Zoey said...

Interesting tour, Eileen.

I have to say, though, that I like your garden better.

garden girl said...

LOVE Millennium Park and the Lurie, and visit every chance I get. (Our commuter train line stops at Millennium Station, so every chance I get is just about every time I take the train downtown.)

Thanks for the tour, Eileen - can hardly wait to get back to the Lurie again - hopefully next month.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Joy,

I am going to have to make several changes also. I am seeing short plants behind tall ones, plants not getting enough sun, etc. That's a gardener's life changing things around!


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Rose,

Great to hear that you have been to Chicago and the Lurie Gardens. It is certainly giving me some ideas for fall and winter color.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Zoey,

Thanks for the compliment. It does give me some ideas for adding more interest and plants that will take the heat we seem to be getting each year.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Linda,

I am so glad I had a chance to see it in the summer, last year it was in the fall. Now, I just have to make sure I get there next spring.


Patsy Bell Hobson said...

It is so interesting to see the use of grasses. Thanks for sharing.