Chicago's Lurie Garden in November '09

Lurie Garden Chicago facing north November 09.jpg
The Lurie Garden in the fall is just as beautiful as it is during the spring and summer. I stopped by today for a quick visit and realized what I’d been missing by not visiting the garden during this season. It is filled with rich earth tones, swaying grasses and seed heads and few visitors on a cloudy day like today.

Lurie Garden in Chicago view from Art Institute November 09.png
From the new addition to the Art Institute I spotted Colleen Lockovitch, director and horticulturist of The Lurie Garden at Millennium Park, removing some plants from the garden. I went down to speak to her after spotting the blue sweater in the sea of browns.

Lurie Garden in Chicago November 09.png

Lurie Garden Chicago facing Art Institute November 09.png

I’ve never given much thought to planting that provide winter interest in the garden, because I’m more a flower kind of guy, but after seeing the way the colors just ‘pop’ against the steel sky and blues of the skyscrapers around the garden, I plan to copy some of these combination in my own garden. 

Lurie Garden in Chicago cherry tree blossom November 09.png

From a distance the garden may look dead to those looking for masses of blooms, but if you look closely you can still find a bloom here and there. Some Japanese anemones, calamint, coneflowers and giant hyssop were blooming, but I got a kick out of the confused cherry trees, they normally bloom in the spring.

Lurie Garden in Chicago facing Michigan Avenue November 09png.png

The buildings along Michigan Avenue blend well with the garden at this time of the year. They look like an extension of the 15-foot-high “shoulder” hedge or perhaps giant stalks and seed pods. There isn’t a lot blooming in the garden this time of year, but it is still worth a visit if you’re in the area. I can’t tell you how hard it was for me to resist the urge to snatch a few seeds pods.

Related Post:
Lurie Garden’s Summer Intern on Garden’s Design.


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  • These are some FANTASTIC photos! I was there just last week, and it truly is spectacular. Piet Oudolf is one of my epic heros, I can't say it enough! I worked at Lurie this summer, so if anyone has any questions about anything I'd be glad to answer! If I can't, I know people who can! Colleen btw is fantastic - she's done wonders for that garden.

  • In reply to bfuta:

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting Ben. I hope people take you up on your offer to ask you some questions. I'm going to send you an Email.

  • In reply to MrBrownThumb:

    I don't know if you have access to it, so I'll just share it here...!

  • In reply to bfuta:

    It is displayed to me when you leave a comment. I edited your comment to remove your Email address so it doesn't get picked up by spammers. Thanks!

  • In reply to bfuta:

    Wow, truly amazing in every sense of the word. Wow.


  • In reply to jcbeeno:

    Hi Jess,

    Sorry I didn't reply to the comment earlier. Glad you liked the post and thank you for stopping by to comment. I appreciate it.

  • In reply to bfuta:

    Looks beautiful MBT. . . I might have to hop on the train one of these days soon to see it in person.

    These photos are GREAT!

  • In reply to ssgardengirl:

    You should. Colleen was telling me they do a walk in February that's pretty nice. Also, she said that when they get a frost the ice crystals that form on the seed heads and grasses is pretty nice. If that day ever comes this year, I may go down there for it.

  • In reply to bfuta:

    Beautiful post and beautiful photos. You're an artist and a poet.

  • In reply to naxn:

    Thanks Xan, Glad you liked the pics.

  • In reply to bfuta:

    Gorgeous photos. I'm trying to convince my boyfriend from Dublin that Chicago can be just as beautiful in the colder months. I should have him read this post.

  • In reply to lreiser:

    LOL. If this post persuades him to move here and you all end up getting married I expect an invitation to the wedding. :0)

  • In reply to lreiser:

    Wonderful to see the Lurie Garden at a time of year when I'm not know to visit ;~)
    Also loved the review of Pavord's new book. I've reviewed other books of hers and must say, they don't disappoint. btw, added Chicago Garden to my blogroll! Have a lovely holiday, Alice

  • In reply to AliceJoyce:

    Hi Alice,

    I saw that, just have been doing poor job of managing my email box. Thanks for the link. I returned the favor.

  • In reply to MrBrownThumb:

    Thanks so much for sharing these photos. I'd wondered what the Lurie looked like in fall! I do love the colors and structures. I'm definitely way more into shrubs and winter interest than i used to be... i think it comes with getting older! Speaking of which, happy birthday (in 20 minutes, my time!).

  • In reply to gardenfaerie:

    Ha! You had to remind me about getting older, eh? But I know what you mean, maybe trees and shrubs are something you come to appreciate as you get older. At least that's how it seems to me. Six years ago I wouldn't really give them that much thought.

  • I never thought of going in the fall either. Sue Markgraf does PR for the garden and she offered me a chance to go and meet with Colleen and talk about the garden this spring/summer, but I never ended up going. I remembered reading or someone telling me to stop by on Thursdays because workers would be out in the garden and so I went. Months late, but I'm glad I did. When I stopped someone in the garden (second pic) I figured it had to be Colleen so I stopped by and said hello.

    BTW, my photo secret is to have a dirty kit lens and shaky hands. Voila! Instant "Monet-eque misty quality."


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