Springtime in Chicago

21 05 2008

In Chicago, springtime is uncertain until the month of May.  You may get warm weather in April, but there is an equal likelihood of snow.  I went to a garden nursery in April afraid that I was too late to begin planting (this is my first year attempting to do a garden).  One of the salespeople there assured me that most people don’t even start planting flowers until after the last frost.  The safe date she quoted was May 15! 

Once warm weather arrives, however, Chicago literally blooms.  On one of the first beautiful days of May, my parents and I went for a walk around the Chicago Botanic Garden

The Chicago Botanic Garden is a 385 acre garden and museum owned by the Forest Preserve District of Cook County.  It is located in the northern Chicago suburb of Glencoe and managed by the Chicago Horticultural Society.  The Chicago Botanic Garden features a series of 23 display gardens set upon islands surrounded by a lake.  The Garden also hosts classes and other educational features.  There is a $12 per car parking fee, but is otherwise free to the public.

As evidenced below, early May is prime season for tulips in the Chicago area, as it is in the 5-6 plant hardiness zone.

The fruit and vegetable garden was very educational and unique.  As a first time gardener, I was interested to see what kinds of vegetables and plants do well in Chicago.

Below are some lettuce of all types in the early stages of growth (baby greens).

Broccoli anyone?

Now this was a novel idea – why don’t you plant your whole salad bowl in a hanging basket? This would be great for city dwellers like myself.

The CBG also had an amazing display of bonzai plants. There were so many exquisite examples that they filled two courtyards.

This one looks like a mini tree.

How about a miniature forest scene?

The walled English garden is a delight, although it’s even more beautiful in the summer.

Dr. Seuss called and wants his trees back.

My favorite display garden is the exquisite Japanese garden.

There was a lovely terraced tulip garden overlooking the lake that was surrounded by willow trees.

This group of flowers would look lovely in a window box by my window.

Here’s my attempt at bringing Spring into my condo. This is my first ever foray into gardening – I don’t even know if I have a green or black thumb.  Since we don’t have a lawn, I am setting up a container garden in my back deck. 

 

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