Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Chicago Botanic Gardens Sp 2014

Chicago  Botanic  Gardens

Spring was late in Chicago this year, but last Sunday was the perfect spring day, 70 degrees
and sunny, so we went out to the Chicago Botanic Gardens, where the flowers were at
their absolute peak of perfection.  Cool, rainy weather allowed them to develop fully before
 opening and then kept the flowers full and intact.

There were hundreds of thousands of tulips and daffodils and hyacinths and ranunculus, etc.
all over the hundreds of acres of gardens.  These were along the Woodland Trail.

  There were 300 flowering crabapple trees in white and pink all around the lake. 
 It was breathtaking and as beautiful as the flowering cherry trees in Washington.
A model along the Flowering Crabapple Allee.

Close-up of the white blossoms; not a single petal had fallen, but all were in full bloom.

White Glory-of-the-Snows / Chionodoxa  bloomed beneath them.

There was also Blue Chionodoxa.

Double Cream Daffodils and Purple Violas were all over.

A pot of brilliantly colored ranunculus.  These marvelous Persian Buttercups were  found
all over the gardens this year.  They look like a combination of rose and peony.

Single Red and Double White Tulips made a beautiful bed along the Woodland Trail.

Allium formed a backdrop for many of the beds.  These large colorful balls are part of
the onion family.

A large Allium ball flower; these are about 10" in width.

Towers of Jewels  /  Echium  were at the entrance.

But the tulips were the jewels of the displays.  The Gardens did not mass large numbers
of a single color, but created marvelous variations with three or four colors in many parts
of the garden.  These were at the entrance to the Dwarf Conifer Garden.

Bright yellow Scottish Broom was planted in many areas.

Stock Flowers and Primrose of various colors were in the Heritage Garden.

Harlequin Snapdragons and Yellow Toadflax were in the Enabling Garden.

Orange Tulips, Texas Bluebonnets, Yellow Pansies, and Daffodils were also in the
Enabling Garden, which shows how to grow flowers even if you are handicapped and
cannot bend over or lift.

But the piece de resistance for tulips had to have been the Crescent Garden with its fountains
and dozens of beds of tulips of various colors.  These white, pink, and purple tulips were
immediately around the fountain.

But then, on the other side of the path, were huge beds of Easter Egg Tulips.  As you can see,
they were all in perfect condition and just opening fully for us.  The visual sensation was almost

Beautiful Rhododendron bushes were found around the Regenstein Building and
in the Azalea Garden.

Rhododendron Bush along the Esplanade by the Farmers' Market.

Daffodil bed on the Woodland Trail.

A clump of daffodils.  These days they have hybridized daffodils/narcissus in many varieties of
white, yellow, and orange petals and contrasting throats / trumpets.  This is a beautiful variety/

Fothergilla was new to me, but there were several varieties growing.

Close-up of Fothergilla blossoms.

Lupine is a hardy and colorful flower and was used in a number of gardens.  These pink
lupine were in the Heritage Garden.

Beautiful little Grape Hyacinths were used in many beds below taller flowers and for contrast.

This is a Weeping White Crabapple Tree, which I had never seen in bloom before.
It is right across from the Rose Gardens.

Iceland Poppies are now one of my favorites.  They were planted individually in many beds
as well as in mass plantings all over a hillside.

Beautiful Multicolored Spurge appeared frequently.  Each week the Gardens publish a
"What's in Bloom?" list on the web, so you can get an idea of what you can see and
then print it out and use it as a check list as you walk through the gardens.

Tulips beds at the beginning of the Woodland Trail.  We noticed that tulip beds will look
completely different when seen from different locations.  The sun shining ON these tulips
made them look flat, but the sun shining THROUGH them in this photo is a
totally different experience.

Tulip bed on the Woodland Trail, with sun shining THROUGH the flowers and
blue violas below.

Pale Yellow Lupine, Iceland Poppies, Sorbet Violas, and Calendula (Pot Marigolds).

There were also pink Flowering Crabapple Trees all over the Gardens.

Close-up of Pink Flowering Crabapple Tree.

Orange Fritillaria / Crown Imperial with their flowering hanging down were an
interesting contrast to the upright tulips.

Queen of the Night Tulips and Pretty Princess Tulips made a beautiful bed.

Sorbet Violas in lavenders, blues, and purples could be found everywhere.

Two toned tulips filled a large bed near the fountain in the Crescent Garden.

A pot of orange and pink ranunculus / Persian Buttercups.

Peach and red ranunculus / Persian Buttercup.

I hope you have enjoyed this spring virtual walk through the Chicago Botanic Gardens.



Sunday, May 4, 2014

Ginter Gardens in April 2014

Lewis Ginter Gardens are the botanic gardens of Richmond, Virginia.  They are located
about five miles to the northwest of the city and are some of the most beautiful in the U.S.
We visited on a sunny day in April as all the spring flowers were blooming.
These are some of the pictures I took.

The tallest flowers are frittaria /Crown Imperial, and then there are the various shades
of orange tulips.  At Ginter, they do not leave the soil bare below tall flowers, but they cover it with violas, here in yellow and white.  I like that.

The entrance to the Gardens had masses of daffodils, tulips, and peach hyacinths.

Beautiful white daffodils with yellow throats.  This is what Spring should look like.

Double white daffodils with peach throats.  Daffodils come in an amazing variety of
color combinations these days.

Pink hyacinths and yellow violas.

Just behind the Entrance Building is the wishing well and pots of various colored tulips.

An urn filled with Easter Eggs Tulips.

A pot of Dutch Painter Tulips and Orange Taper Tulips.

A mixture of orange and red tulips and yellow and white violas.

In the Cobblestone Courtyard were purple and white tulips and blue violas.

Purple and white tulips and variegated blue violas.

Pale Blue Poppy Anemones

Pale pink Poppy Anemones.

Bright Pink Poppy Anemones

Clusters of White Viburnum on a bush outside the Education Building.

Blue and lavender violas and white daffodils along the path.

Cream colored Parrot Tulips (with fringed petals) and yellow and white violas.

Yellow and white tulip bed with yellow and copper colored violas.

There are acres of beds of flowers and each has a different color theme.  This bed has Double 
Yellow Tulips with White and Copper Violas.  "Double" tulips have twice as many and 
more petals than a normal tulip.

Very large double Exotic Emperor white tulip.

Two very large double yellow Exotic Emperor Tulips.

A new hybrid magnolia.

Exochorda / Excordia / Pearl Bush.  This is often used in bridal bouquets because the
flowers are borne on long green flexible branches.

Close-up of Exochorda

Aruba - a new variety of yellow and red tulip.

 A bed of yellow and copper violas.

Pink Tulips with variegated leaves and blue violas in the Garden of Love.

Orange Violas

A mixture of darker colors; very dark purple tulips and violas.

Double Orange Tulip

Double yellow Exotic Emperor Tulips and Snow White Hyacinths,
with a wonderful aroma.

Red tulips with striped leaves and white pansies.

There is a grove of camellia bushes in the Gardens; this is the pink camellia.

A bed of mixed tulips and daffodils.

White Parrot Tulip and yellow violas.

Dark purple and yellow tulips.

Exotic Emperor double white tulips

py Ane

Inside the conservatory there is a large collection of orchids.


I hope you have enjoyed this virtual visit to the Lewis Ginter Gardens in Richmond.