Monday, June 11, 2018

Chicago Botanic Sp18

The Chicago Botanic Gardens are a joint effort of Cook County and the Chicago
Horticultural Society.  Last fall, volunteers planted 750,000 bulbs for spring flowers,
which are now blooming.  Purple, pink, white, and yellow tulips fill the beds
leading down to the lake.  On the opposite shore is the Vegetable Garden.

Beds of spring tulips overlooking the lake.

Purple, pink, and yellow tulips.

A curving bed of tulips.

Early Yellow Bidens.

Lemon Yellow Toadflax

"Bag of Gold" mustard plant.

"Sizzle Frizzle" Orange Pansies; orange was a popular color this spring.

Flowering Almond

"Dolly" lavender and white Ranunculus / Persian Buttercup.

"Rising Sun" yellow Ranunculus / Persian Buttercups

"Pink of Paris" Ranunculus / Persian Buttercups

Three Ranunculus blossoms / Persian Buttercups

There were about 20 planters like this placed around the water lily ponds.  A number of
volunteers were given about ten different plants and asked to make their own
arrangements.  Orange Pansies, "Fruit Cocktail" Jonquils,
Leaf Lettuce, Blue Daze,  Yellow Toadflax, Deep Yellow Bidens,  Peach Wallflowers,
and little White Bacopa.

A different arrangement in another planter.

A third variation, and we can add Orange Primrose in right-center.

Orange "Costa" Pot Marigolds / Calendula

Orange Pansies and "Costa Orange" Pot Marigolds

A bed of all blue flowers.  The tall ones, which grow to ten feet high, are
"Jewels of Madeira" / Echium.

"Jewels of Madeira" / Echium also come in red and are striking.

An assortment of red and pink lupine.

A planter filled with light blue grape hyacinths.

A planter with two kinds of grape hyacinths and two kinds of purple tulips.

Purple Ranunculus / Persian Buttercups  in a planter.

Blue Pansies at entrance to Azalea Garden.

A lilac colored azalea bush.

Orchid Colored Azaleas.

"Summer Snowflakes"

A blue-and-white striped Bearded Iris, called that because of the three "beards"
or petals which hang down.

The earliest of the peonies, a "Poppy Peony."  Most of the peonies will not bloom
until June.

White Rhododendron

A bed of Double Yellow  "Texas Gold" Tulips, Tall Purple Tulips, and Red English Daisies
marked the entrance to the Aquatic Garden.

The Double Yellow  "Texas Gold" Tulips were very large, perhaps three times the size of a
normal tulip.

Red English Daisies

The entrance to the Vegetable Garden, which is on its own island, was marked
by this bed of "Danceline" double pink tulips, purple primroses, and "Bull's Blood
Beet" plants.  The mixture of vegetables with flowers is very effective.

"Danceline" Pink Tulips, Purple Primrose,  and "Bull's Blood" Beets

"Harmony Blue" Poppy Anemones inside the Aquatic Garden

"Blue Harmony" Poppy Anemones

"Blue Harmony" Poppy Anemone

Amongst tulips, grape hyacinths,  osteospermum, and Persian Buttercups.
You too could have a garden like this on your terrace or deck.
The gardens are meant to show visitors the possibilities they can follow
in their own yards or planters.


Tuesday, June 5, 2018

My Sister's Neighborhood in May

Spring was very late in Chicago this year, so when I visited recently on one of the first
warm days, every tree, bush, and flower had just burst into bloom.  My sister lives on the
North Side of Chicago and these are some pictures I took one day.  Flowering Crabapples
in white, pink, and magenta were all over and in full bloom.  As you can see, not a single
petal has fallen from this white crabapple in front of my sister's house.

Flowering crabapples were all over the neighborhood and along the streets.

A closer look is almost blinding, with the profusion of white blossoms.

The top of a white crabapple.

A cluster of white crabapple blossoms.

Besides te crabapples, the

Besides the crabapples, the lilac bushes were also in bloom.  Lilacs come in French and
Japanese varieties, and in white, pink, lavender, and deep purple.  Their aroma can be
enjoyed from a block away.

Lilac bushes are often used along property lines, especially along the alleys in Chicago.
So I walked through the alleys and got many of these pictures.

Clusters of light purple lilacs.

Clusters of orchid-colored lilacs.

A full cluster of pale pink lilacs.

Several clusters of pale pink lilacs.

This is a lovely magenta colored flowering crabapple a block from my sister's house.
I had one like this outside my bedroom window when I lived up north.

A cluster of pink flowering crabapple blossoms.

A pink flowering crabapple tree.

Pink Crabapple blossoms.

Every cm of every branch was covered with blossoms at their peak.

"Bee Alive" Early Bidens and "Red African Daisies"

"Little Beauty" Narcissus

Azaleas and rhododendrons can now be found all over northern cities like Chicago.
Although these are basically Southern flowers, the U of Minnesota and a couple of
other centers have developed varieties which can take severe winter cold.
This is a white rhododendron at the house next to my sister's.

And the house on the other side had these splendid azaleas..  These flowers are four
inches in diameter and a beautiful orchid color.

A branch of orchid colored azaleas.

A colorful flower pot on the steps of a house.

An azalea bush four houses down the street.


Lilac trees can become very tall if you don't prune them regularly.  This is a quite tall
white lilac bush.

Clusters of white lilacs.

These are deep purple French lilacs and have perhaps the strongest perfume of all.

Magnolia trees also flourish in the city.  This was a large, perhaps 30 foot high,
magnolia tree covered with hundreds of large waxy white flowers. 

White Magnolia Blossom

Down the street is the Korean Senior Citizens Center, and it was completely
surrounded by glorious Compact Korean Rhododendrons.  I have never seen them
so thick and colorful.

Close-up of the Compact Korean Rhododendrons.

Bush of Compact Korean Rhododendrons.

Viburnum / Snowball bushes were everywhere, covered in clusters of snowballs /

A close-up shows the flowers, but also explains why they are nicknamed the
"Snowball Bush."

Many kinds of tulips were also planted as accents around houses.  This was a lovely
combination of white and pink tulips alongside the driveway.

Yellow Taper tulips were by a mailbox.

Beautiful pink and white tulips were by the sidewalk.

Red and Yellow Striped tulips were in front of a house.

A visitor with some large pots of tulips and violas.