Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Spring Fling Friday

The Chicago Botanic Garden was the opening event for 2009 Spring Fling Fling, and what a great place to kick off the weekend's festivities. The Garden was a major Spring Fling sponsor. The staff couldn't have been more warm and welcoming, even creating a page on their website for us.

Denise Corkery, horticultural writer at the Garden, warmly greeted and welcomed us, providing guidebooks and free passes for the tram and the train garden. She was accompanied by the photographer who took the group pictures in the post below. We were also provided a free trolley ride to and from the Metra train station, and free parking passes for those who drove to the garden, along with a cash sponsorship we used to help defray the cost of Friday night's reception. My favorite single plant at the garden was this humongous blooming annual Echium virescens, or Tower of Jewels - a member of the borage family. It looked like something prehistoric. I imagined dinosaurs.

There were a number of tree peonies still in bloom. This one is Age of Gold.

Alliums were in bloom at the Garden, and in nearly every other garden we visited during Spring Fling.
The Japanese Garden was as beautiful as ever, and a calming, peaceful place - a soothing, restful retreat on a busy, eventful day.

I came upon this bewildered-looking fledgling alone in the English Walled Garden. There were times during Spring Fling I could relate to how he must have felt.

Friday afternoon we visited the Lurie Garden, and were treated to a tour with Colleen Lockovitch, head horticulturist at the Lurie. Dressed in it's late-May finery, the Lurie looked very different than it had during a previous early-spring visit.

Prairie Smoke - I added a couple of these to my own garden earlier this spring.

I love the city skyline backdrop of beautiful Lurie Garden. Just steps from my Metra train station, this was my third visit to the Lurie this season, and my third visit ever. A native Chicagoan living in the suburbs most of my life, in the future I plan to stop by there every chance I get when visiting the city from the quiet south-suburban hamlet where I now reside.
Colleen identified this tree - Black Locust. I was dying to find out what it was. Black locusts are in bloom all over my neighborhood right now. The fragrance of the blooms is heavenly, and I stood under one of these gorgeous trees at the Lurie for a good long time, breathing deeply.

Friday's events were capped with a reception at Elephant & Castle, adjacent to Club Quarters Hotel where most of the out-of-town SF participants stayed.

The first day of Spring Fling was a memorable introduction to our City in a Garden. After the reception, Mr.Brown Thumb saw Monica and I off to our train, and she and I headed back to my place for some much-needed rest to be ready for the whirlwind second day of Chicago Spring Fling.


  1. Linda, I had such a good time and appreciate all you and the committee did to make this SF a wonderful adventure! I didn't have near enough time with you...but knew that you were busy being a good hostess. Next time I am in Chicago I want to be sure and revisit all these gardens and hope to see you, too. They were grand gardens...the Lurie is my favorite...the prairie plants just resonate with my Midwestern roots~~Prairie Smoke is incredible, but the river of salvia and grasses is almost heartbreaking beautiful. Again, thank you for helping to make this a wonderful visit. You are the best! gail

  2. Hi Linda, I echo Gail's sentiments. Next fling you will have time to chat more and just enjoy the spectacle instead of doing so much work. I would have to add that Chicago and its inhabitants were gracious to a group of gabbing bloggers. :-)

  3. Hi Linda, thanks again so much for your hospitality, both to me and to all the bloggers. I love that fledgling bird--isn't it funny how baby birds look nothing like their adult form? LOL, MBT called your table at the dinner Friday the misfit table--I should have been there! ;-)

  4. Anonymous11:21 AM

    Linda, you did such a great job getting all of this organized - I know that you and MBT did most of the heavy lifting.

    And I was impressed by the Tower of Jewels too - I've never seen anything like it before!

  5. The Tower of Jewels is awesome! My parents had a black locust until recently when it came crashing down in a storm. Sigh as they now lost all the shade to the swing. It looks as though you had such an organized event at Spring Fling! Wish I could have been there to partake in all the fun and visiting with bloggers. I do like to talk! Lol I thought I knew my birds but I cannot id that fledgling. Any ideas?

  6. Linda,

    Thank you & Lake Chicago Shores for being the guides on Friday morning and making sure everyone got there and back safely and quickly. I appreciate everything you did and how you got up early every day and went home late every day to make sure everything ran smoothly.

    MrBrownThumb @ Chicago Garden

  7. Linda - Thanks for helping to organize such a great event! I had a wonderful weekend seeing gardens and meeting people with common interests. Also, good choice of weather. Now that we've had a bit of rain, could you make it stop? thanks!

    I was struck by Lurie's choice of black locust trees, since they're listed as "remove immediately" on the Botanic Garden's invasive plant watchlist. I personally think black locusts are wonderful, because of their leaves and nifty legume seed pods, but boy can they be invasive. Just interesting how two entities that appear similar on the surface can have such different philosophies.

  8. Thanks for sharing your great photos, Linda, especially love the Japanese Garden. Enjoy a well deserved rest ... sounds like you all had a wonderful weekend (my thoughts were with you).

  9. Linda, I was very impressed with the Tower of Jewels too. Too several pictures. :) Friday was a great day with all the events going so well. I apprecaite all the hard work and long hours it took to make it seem that effortless. Job well done!

  10. So nice to read your post and see your great photos of the Lurie. And you named the Black Locust tree -- I had already forgotten the name and missed it in my post. That's why it's so great to read everyone's blog and see different things and pick up on things that I missed! Keep posting, I can't wait to see what else you have.

  11. Thank you again for looking after me. I needed your help, and you were there.

    I wish we could have spent another week, just in the Botanic Gardens.

  12. How neat that a special page on their website was created for you all!

    Love that golden Peony, truly gorgeous colour!

    The Lurie garden, what can I say but must see this one some day. And the same applies to the CBG as that one is wonderful!


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