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!