Wednesday, October 15, 2014

October Flowers in Chicago

The Chicago Botanic Gardens are filled with thousands of flowers in brilliant bloom.
These beds are along the Esplanade and in their rich colors, they look like
Persian carpets.  There are six colors of chrysanthemums here.

There are ten large beds of these Persian Carpet Mums.

The entrance to the Gardens is across a bridge hung with curtains of white mums.
Mums can be trained to grow in almost any shape from single large blossoms to
pyramids, to huge pots, to hanging curtains.

Boxes of white mums also line the bridge.

Pots of brilliantly colored mums are found throughout the Gardens.
These are saffron yellow mums.

This is one of six pots by the entrance with Autumn Bronze Mums.

Close-up of the Autumn Bronze Mums.

The next stop is the Heritage Gardens.  This is a North American Sunflower.
It is a new variety which stands only three feet high

Yellow Calendula / Pot Marigold

Calendula  /  Pot Marigold

Blue Potato Vine.  The Potato family of plants includes many decorative varieties.
This is a beautiful blue variety.

Decorative Kale.  The Gardens try to plant only specimens which are hardy and
can take a Chicago winter.  They also like to mix vegetables and flowers,
and the results are interesting and beautiful.  These kale come with purple,
pink, or white centers.

One of the many varieties of Black Eyed Susans  /  Rudbeckia.

Golden Queen Globeflower

Strawflowers in the English Garden

Pale Blue Waterlily.  The waterlily ponds were filled with many colors of flowers.

White Waterlily.  Some of these open at night as female plants, get pollinated by bugs
overnight, and the next day they turn male before dying.
It said so on the tag!

Starlet Spoon Korean Mums
This was one of the featured varieties throughout the Gardens this year.
Korean Mums are particularly hardy  and prolific bloomers, and they do
very well in Chicago winters, surviving easily outdoors in gardens.

Autumn Crocus - Lavender Lady.  What a delight!  These bulbs stay quiet and
underground all spring and summer; then in late September, they appear through
the groundcover and bloom prolifically.  These are Waterlily Autumn Crocus.

Two clumps of Lavender Lady Autumn Crocus

Giant Multicolored Autumn Crocus

White Waterlily Autumn Crocus

Guernsey Lilies

Blue Floss Flowers  /  Ageratum

"Cheerleader"  Football Mums

"Cheerleader"  Football Mums

"Delphine" Pink Rose

"Princess Margaret" red and white rose

White York Rose

"Hot Cocoa"  Rose

"Elegance"  Rose

Walled English Garden, Urn, and Black-Eyed Susans

Raspberry and Vanilla Panicle Hydrangea

Raspberry  Panicle  Hydrangea

Sassy Black-Eyed Susans

"Callie Dahlia"

"Bahama Mama"  Dahlia  in  the  Bulb  Garden

"Diva" deep purple dahlia  in  Bulb  Garden

"Junkyard Dog Dahlia."  I don't know where the name came from,
but is on all the ID tags in the garden.  But it's beautiful and large.

"Louie Meggos"  Dinner Plate Mum - 12 inches across


We discovered three new houses in the Lincoln Park Area of Chicago's Near North Side.

The Parillo Palace at 1932 N. Burling.

The Wilson House at 550 W. Dickens

The Mullins Mansion at 1955 N. Burling.
This one is for sale.


Day  One  at  the  Chicago  Botanic  Gardens
I hope you enjoyed the flowers.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

National Dahlia Day

National Dahlia Day

Today we celebrate the Dahlia, one of the most beautiful and diverse flowers on earth.
The Dahlia is not native to North America or Europe, but is one of the wonderful gifts of
Colombia and Mexico to the world.  They were brought by the Spanish to Europe and
then back to North America.  They are one of the most popular garden flowers in the USA.
These are some pictures of Dahlias which I have taken in San Francisco, Chicago, and

Dahlia petals spring forth with light
To guide us through the darkest night.
A proof of God inside us all,
They stand, so perfect, true and tall.

My head I bow in thanks devout
How could I ever've raised a doubt,
When sun and rain are all they need,
If love is shared, they will succeed.

Dahlias are easy to grow and hardy.  By mid August they are five feet high and covered
with flowers.  They continue blooming until the first real frost.  In the north, 
you must take their tuber roots out of the ground and store them in a cool, 
dry place until next spring.  Dahlias range in size from an inch across to the giant 
dinner plate dahlias, which are more than 12 inches in diameter.

The white dahlia above is the simple traditional flower with eight petals.  It has been
hybridized into all sorts of colors and forms and sizes.

 Dahlias are special in many ways.  They are divine delights.  They send out light,
     like life, in a million different hues.  Symmetrical, they are big, brazen and brilliant.   
     They dazzle you with colors likely never seen.  They are late-Summer bloomers, a hopeful 
       metaphor - that.  They grow easily if given sunlight and lots of water.  But it may take 
         a season.  They need support to climb to their peak.  And they are widely used as 
          herbal medicines. Mexico and San Francisco have made Dahlias their official flowers.
         True, they lack the fragrance of roses, but unlike roses, they do not prickle.

This is a Dinner Plate Dahlia,which is more than 12 inches in diameter.  In Golden Gate Park
in San Francisco, the city honors its official flower with its own special garden with 
hundreds of varieties and colors of dahlias.  Be sure and visit.  It is only a few minutes walk
south of the Museum of Fine Arts and the Science Museum

Dahlia flowers look beautiful when cut and floating in a bowl of water.

"Coral Spiders" is the name of this variety.

A pure white double dahlia - "Iceberg."

"Peach Pomade."  The peach and orange colors are particularly subtle.

Traditional lavender dahlias with a few frills.

"Morning Sunrise" shows some of the multi-colored petals.

"Alice Reilly" is supposed to be in honor the color of the lingerie favored by one of
King Edward VII's mistresses.

Pink and magenta make a wonderful combination.

"Double Peach Pompoms."

This was a featured flower at the Chicago Botanic Gardens - "Brittany Rey."

"Raspberry Ripple" is the name of this delicious two-toned blossom.

Joseph Haydn's "The Dahlia Sonata," composed, it is said,
shortly after he saw his first dahlias from South America.

"Yellow Dinner Plate Dahlia"

Hot Orange Dahlia

"Brittany Rey" variant

"Bahama Mama" - Let's dance!

Traditional Pink 8 Petaled Dahlias

Pale and translucent as pink lemonade, 
the morning sun filtered its petals
to pure lightness; 

a saffron haze
near the stem, pallid fuchsia at its tips, 
it yawns, unfurling its petals into
the summer air laden with mist 
and amber seed.

The leaves cluster around its stem, 
as though protecting its emerald heart
from the gardener’s shears; 
every day an excruciating uncertainty; 

the bees burrow deep
into its fuzzy heart
the way the pestle enters
the mortar; their famished
mouths can decimate
the life from this fragile bloom.

Every day the gardener
parks his rusty wheelbarrow
by the garden gate, 
green with leaves and ivy, 
and considers
plucking the precious blossom
from the sill; 

an executioner of the garden, 
the dahlia’s life dependant
upon his will. 

"Brittany Rey" Variant

Dahlias traditionally signify elegance and dignity.

Dinner Plate Fringed Yellow Dahlia - 14 in. in diameter

Pink Dinner Plate Dahlia near my sister's house - 14 in. across.

"Purple Punctuation"

"Peppermint Patty"

"Snow Princess" frilled white dahlia

"My Lady's Powder Puff" pink and white dahlia

"The Bishop of York Dahlia"

"Lemon Chiffon Dinner Plate Dahlia" more than a foot across.

Franz Schubert's "Upon Seeing a Yellow Dahlia."

"Pink Fluff"

Pink and Yellow Spider Dahlia

Burst of Sunlight

Dahlia, dear dahlia, with colors so bright,
You brighten my garden with all your delight.

There you are strong standing tall on your stem,
Among the other flowers, you are the gem.

Yellow, peach, white, pink and red,
Your colors enrich the garden bed.

As your flowers fade and petals scatter on the ground,
I lock your memory away in my heart to be found.

Traditional 8 petaled pink and purple dahlia

"Bird of Paradise" Dahlia

"Victorian Treasure"


I hope you have enjoyed these dahlias, and maybe you will plant a few
in your garden next year.  : - )