Sunday, August 3, 2008

Back to the Garden with Monica

Last Saturday I met Monica from Garden Fairie's Musings at the Chicago Botanical Garden in Glencoe, Illinois. It was wonderful to meet her, and we had a great time.

The garden is set on 385 acres, and includes display gardens, wooded areas, prairies, and water features including lakes, streams, ponds, waterfalls, and fountains. Admission is free. Parking is $15.00 per vehicle, but is free to members. There are picnic areas as well as an indoor cafe, the Grille where you can order burgers and such and sit on the deck overlooking the gardens, and the Rose Terrace where you can relax with with a sandwich, salad, a refreshing beverage, or a nice, cold ice cream.

The Chicago Botanical Garden is meticulously maintained, and houses approximately 2.3 million plants, All are documented, named, and mapped. We didn't see the entire garden in one visit, but that was ok, as we took our time and lingered in many of the places we especially enjoyed. I will definitely be going back to see more at another time.

Of the displays we saw, these were some of my favorites. You can click on the pictures to enlarge them. Around lunchtime we were headed towards the Japanese Gardens, sited on 3 islands. We were getting hungry and tired, and didn't quite make it all the way there before deciding it was time to eat. Even from a distance though, they were beautiful, verdant, and tranquil.
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Most of the ponds featured water lilies, favorites of mine.


















The recently-renovated dwarf conifer garden was a beautiful combination of color and textures. There were several shady benches that provided the perfect invitation to sit a spell and take it all in. We gladly accepted the invitation!


















Another favorite spot of mine was the English Walled Garden. I loved it! Isn't it gorgeous?









Made ya look! I was enjoying it so much, I forgot to take any pictures! This was another beautiful, shady area where we gladly accepted the invitation to sit on one of the many benches and relax, chat, and enjoy a few cool breezes and the gorgeous view.

The next several shots are from the Prairie garden. This huge expanse is a re-creation of several different kinds of prairies once common in Illinois. Of everything we saw, I'd have to say the Prairie was my favorite. It was really gorgeous, colorful, and teeming with life, including native grasses, wildflowers, and birds.

























Monica, thanks again for the invitation to join you last Saturday. It was fantastic to meet you and spend the day getting to know you. Thanks for motivating me to get up to Glencoe to see the Botanic Garden for the first time since I was a kid. It won't be so long before I go up there again to see more of these beautiful gardens. What a wonderful way to spend the day!

25 comments:

  1. What a lovely garden and it was nice you were able to visit with Monica.

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  2. Walking through a garden is especially nice when they seem to go on and on and on....
    A Beautiful place and free to members! My kind of club to belong to…

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  3. Monica is one of the garden bloggers I too would like to meet.

    I absolutely love the prairie gardens. Tremendous.

    And I peered into the picture above the space, saying to myself, 'where's the wall' and 'what odd things to have in a walled garden'. So I was well and truly 'got' and April-Fooled in August!

    Lucy

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  4. I've never been there, but would love to put it on my list to visit one day.
    Brenda

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  5. Nice! What a great trip!

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  6. The prairie garden is my favorite too. I wish I had an expanse for one. Growing up in Maine, my grandfather's frontyard was a prairie garden. Quite unconventional!

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  7. Wow, that's a whole lot of plants! It looks like a wonderful place to visit. It makes me think back to when we went to como zoo and gardens. I should post some more of my pictures from the gardens sometime....

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  8. Thanks PG! It was a very nice day.

    Skeeter, free is always good!

    Lucy, I hope you'll get to meet her one day. She's a lovely person.

    The prairies were gorgeous - definitely my favorite thing I saw while there.

    Ha! Gotcha with my picture of the English Walled Gardens! I really wish I'd gotten some pictures. It was lovely there. Oh well, it's one of many good reasons to go back!

    Brenda, I think you'd love it!

    Leslie, thanks! It was a lovely, memorable day!

    Tina, I love when home gardens are done like that. It's especially beautiful in a large expanse.

    Cinj, that place was really quite amazing. I can't imagine how much work it must be to maintain everything.

    I'll be looking forward to seeing more of your shots from the Como zoo and gardens.

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  9. It's nice to meet fellow garden bloggers, isn't it? The garden you visited looks great! I particularly liked the English walled garden - that's the kind of garden I'm dreaming of having.
    And I must say the last shot of the bird is fabulous!
    /Katarina

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  10. What lovely photographs. The prairie garden photos look so much like our valley and dry prairie areas. All along the edges of our woodlands the wild bee balm, daisies, queen anne's lace, chicory, red clover, etc., are blooming like crazy. It's been a good year for prolific growth in everything because of all the rain here in SW Wisconsin.

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  11. Wonderful and I have to agree with some of your commenters... the Prairie garden is my favorite, too! Thank you for posting photos that enlarge so beautifully... I would have this garden if I could as it is I do have a tiny bit of one! Thank you for the tour!

    Gail

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  12. Hi Linda, what a great job you did of telling us about your meeting with Monica. I know she is a great person from reading her postings and comments. Lucky both of you! When the big bloggers shindig happens in Chicago next fall, I hope we all get to go to this garden. Put that on the agenda! ;->

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  13. What a grand day you had! I love prarie gardens or rather the large vast open plains where nature takes its course. I can go day tripping on a whim and always take my trusty camera with me. The price wasn't so bad considering how much upkeep it takes. Thanks for sharing.

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  14. Katarina, it was really neat meeting Monica and visiting the botanic garden. I love the English walled gardens. They were so tranquil and shady. I was very pleased with the way the pictures of the bird came out.

    Mom, thanks! Blogging has really been good practice for taking pictures. I get a lot of duds, but taking so many pictures, I end up with some I'm pleased with!

    I'd love to come up there during the summer - it's been quite a while since it's been up there when everything's growing. Maybe there'll be a chance yet this year!

    Gail, we've had some heavy weather here the last couple of days. Between the weather and sitemeter problems, I've missed visiting you! I'm looking forward to reading your post from (I think?) last Thursday about the garden tour lady, and catching up. I want to see more of your prairie-style front garden.

    I'm glad the photos of the botanic garden enlarge well - I was concerned they'd look washed out in the bright sunshine.

    Frances, thank you! Monica is a sweetheart. The botanic garden would be a great place to visit when Chicago is invaded by garden bloggers next year! There are so many cool gardens to see here, it might be hard to narrow down. The arboretum is fantastic, the new garden in Grant Park is on my must-see list after seeing Monica's pictures from her visit there the Sunday after we met, the Garfield Park Conservatory is wonderful, and Mr. McGregor's daughter's visited some wonderful places up north in her neck of the woods too. It might be hard to narrow it down!

    Anna, it was wonderful! I like how the admission is by the car, not by the person. If you had 5 people in the car, it would only be $3.00 per person, and that's quite a bargain. It's a very reasonably-priced outing for a family. If you take public transportation, there's a trolly from the metra station that takes you right to the garden, and transportation is the only cost.

    Since there are plenty of spots to picnic, it can be a very affordable outing.

    I can't imagine how many people it takes to maintain this place! I'm sure many, many are volunteers.

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  15. What a gorgeous place--I really must get up there! I enjoyed the English walled garden:) Thanks for showing the Prairie area; the Chicago Botanic Gardens are listed in sites about the prairie as a great place to see an excellent example of Prairie Restoration.

    I am excited about the Chicago Spring Fling! I will mark it on my calendar as soon as the date is set. Can't wait to meet lots of fellow bloggers.

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  16. The prairie there looks like it just keeps getting better. If you cover your ears, you can almost imagine it as it was 200 years ago. I haven't seen the conifer garden since it reopened. I might have to head out there this weekend.

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  17. What beautiful gardens...I'd love to see the waterlillies...have to talk to the hubby about a trip!

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  18. Rose, I think you'd really love it. I'm so glad you plan to attend the fling! I'll be looking forward to meeting you!

    MMD, hopefully the weather will be good this weekend for a trip to the botanic garden for you. The prairie is just beautiful right now. Actually, everything we saw was gorgeous.

    Kim, it's a beautiful place. I think you'd really enjoy it.

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  19. It's been a long time since I was at the Chicago Botanical Gardens - it's lovely to see them in your photos, Linda, and to know you found a true companion.

    We started going there every year from the mid-80's to late 1990's, and were amazed as hills and fields were transformed into the Japanese Gardens, dwarf conifer gardens and English walled garden. Those dwarf conifers aren't so dwarf anymore it seems!

    Whenever I went with first-timers, the Japanese Garden was the absolute must see - but the bulb gardens full of lilies and hostas and the Sensory Gardens were also lovely.

    I'd love to go back for two days in a row with an overnight stay not too far away. Two days might not even be enough time! Thanks for the virtual visit.

    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

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  20. It's so beautiful and what a blessing to meet a fellow blogging gardener! Thanks for sharing more of your wonderful botanical garden, I love the gotcha but really would love to see it someday :)

    Have a Fantastic Friday Linda!
    Kathi :)

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  21. Lucky you to live so close to that incredible botanic garden. I visited Chicago for the first time last October and spent an entire day drinking in the beauty at the garden. It's so nice to see your summer pics to see it in another season. The prairie garden was stunning in the fall, so you should definitely try to go back soon. For that matter, so was the Lurie Garden. What a lovely and vibrant town you live in. I can't wait to see it again at the next Garden Bloggers Spring/Fall? Fling!

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  22. Look at those water lillies! Sigh. I wanna go. I wanna go! Glad you're having fun this summer....

    Lots of love,

    H

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  23. Annie, how great that must have been, watching the gardens evolve over the years!

    I'm glad I finally made it there. I really should get out more!

    I can imagine two days might not even be enough. One day was enough to see only a fraction of what's there.

    Kathi, it was a very memorable day! I'm so glad I was able to meet Monica and visit the botanic garden.

    Pam, I'm glad I finally got up there! It's funny how many out-of-state garden bloggers have been there. I've lived in the Chicago area my entire life and this was my first time there as an adult.

    Hinsley, every pond, lake and stream had water lilies. They are so beautiful. Wish you could see this place. It's really awesome.

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  24. Annie, how great that must have been, watching the gardens evolve over the years!

    I'm glad I finally made it there. I really should get out more!

    I can imagine two days might not even be enough. One day was enough to see only a fraction of what's there.

    Kathi, it was a very memorable day! I'm so glad I was able to meet Monica and visit the botanic garden.

    Pam, I'm glad I finally got up there! It's funny how many out-of-state garden bloggers have been there. I've lived in the Chicago area my entire life and this was my first time there as an adult.

    Hinsley, every pond, lake and stream had water lilies. They are so beautiful. Wish you could see this place. It's really awesome.

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  25. Annie, how great that must have been, watching the gardens evolve over the years!

    I'm glad I finally made it there. I really should get out more!

    I can imagine two days might not even be enough. One day was enough to see only a fraction of what's there.

    Kathi, it was a very memorable day! I'm so glad I was able to meet Monica and visit the botanic garden.

    Pam, I'm glad I finally got up there! It's funny how many out-of-state garden bloggers have been there. I've lived in the Chicago area my entire life and this was my first time there as an adult.

    Hinsley, every pond, lake and stream had water lilies. They are so beautiful. Wish you could see this place. It's really awesome.

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