Two Walks in the Lurie Garden

At my annual checkup I was told to try walking for a half hour every day in addition to whatever other exercise I was already doing. Luckily for me, the Lurie Garden is just about 10 minute walk from my office.


These are pictures I took with my phone during two recent walks. The first was on an overcast day, the second day was sunny. This is a picture of the boardwalk and water feature seen from Lurie’s northern entrance.


‘Shenandoah’ Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) and skyscrapers on a cloudy October day.


Rattlesnake Master (Eryngium yuccifolium) seedheads with Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia).


A drift of Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) showing off its fall colors.


Arkansas Bluestar (Amsonia hubrichtiii) and some kind of Mountain Mint (Pycnanthemum). I like the fine textured green leaves of the Bluestar combined with the fuzzy, silvery leaves of the Mountain Mint.


Big mounds of Bluestar, both A. hubrichtii and A. tabernaemontana with its wider leaves, shape the feel of the garden at this time of year. From here they look to me like big fuzzy green pillows I’d like to just wallow in.


The ‘Shenandoah’ Switchgrass with its red tips is a big presence, matched here with some even more dramatic Fountain Grass – Pennisetum of some kind.


More Fountain Grass, the seedheads catching the light on a sunny afternoon.


I wish I knew the name of that grass that is really glowing just to the right of center. Amazing how it catches the light.


The round seedheads of the Echinaceas look like little brown polka dots.


And here’s the view as I am about to leave through the north entrance.

I do feel very lucky to work so close to the Lurie Garden (at least when I am not travelling), a place I can never get tired of. What better motivation for taking a stroll than a garden that is so wonderfully satisfying in every season?

66 Comments on “Two Walks in the Lurie Garden

  1. How wonderful to have such a garden so close to where you work, but tell me, do you walk briskly through or are you stopping all the time to admire the planting?!

  2. Lovely gardens, and an inspiration for a city garden. They also look very ”easy care”….but do the grasses get clipped in the winter?
    I love the name Rattlesnake Master, and I love the plant, Russian Sage, I think you’ve had photos of it in previous posts, I must get some!

    • Russian Sage may do well for you. The grasses get cut back in spring. I think it would be more accurate to call the plants “easier care”. Maintaining this garden is still a lot of work.

  3. Oh yes, those grasses are wonderful. I hope you’ll share some more photos as the view changes on future walks. The colourful trees in the background with the skyscrapers beyond make such a lovely backdrop. Enjoy it while the skies are still blue! 🙂

  4. So many grasses there in this park Jason. Fountain Grass is very pretty. I liked this photo! You’re lucky to have opportunity to go to the Lurie garden.
    Hope you are better walking half an hour every day.

  5. That prescription from your doctor should replace the old ‘take two aspirins and if you’re still not well in the morning, call me back’. Everyone should take a half hour walk in the garden–every day!!! 🙂
    Wonderful post!

  6. Great post and thanks for highlighting Lurie Garden! We are so happy when we hear people’s stories of using the Garden as a place of refuge, reflection, and recreation. And, to answer a few of your questions: the grass in question is Sporobolus heterolepis ‘Tara’ (prairie dropseed), the fountain grass in the Garden is Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Cassian’, and you saw the Pycnanthemum muticum (mountain mint). Information on much of the plant life of Lurie Garden can be found here:

    • So glad you liked the post and thanks for the IDs. Though are you sure about ‘Tara’? The plumes look a little too dense for Sporobulus, though I certainly was happy to see lots of Sporobulus throughout the garden. I thought the suggestion that this grass was Calamagrostis brachytricha seemed plausible.

  7. I love grasses and grow many of them even though they kill my allergies. My doc asked me last week what exercise I do other than yoga and I told her I babysit my 2 1/2 year old grandson every day. Nuf said. It is like track and field and weightlifting all in one day.

  8. How lovely to have such an inspirational place to walk in your lunch break. The colours and shapes, and the light filtering through the grasses and perennials – beautiful.

  9. It’s wonderful having such beautiful green spaces within a city, how lucky you are to have it so close to your office! The grasses are stunning!xxx

  10. I hope you continue to walk there and share pictures of this garden throughout the year. I hope some day to visit.

  11. Wow, these are stunning photos of a stunning place, Jason! Thanks for sharing. Great place to walk! I think Sandy might be right–I’m thinking that bright, sparkling grass might be Korean Feather Reed Grass (Calamagrostis brachytricha). I remember seeing it at Kew Gardens in London, and Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison has a beautiful patch of it, too.

  12. Thank you so much for sharing this, Jason–I’ve been to the Lurie only in the spring and have always wanted to see it at different times of the year. I see you have several different answers about the mystery grass, but I agree with Beth on the Calamagrostis, if we’re all looking at the same plant. You are so lucky to have such a beautiful place nearby!

  13. Lucky you to have such a lovely place to take a stroll in during the workday – that is great motivation indeed! And it just amazes me how you can rattle off the names of all these plants with so little effort…

  14. I would guess Calamagrostis brachytricha as well — it’s later blooming. I understand that the Pycnanthemum muticum needs replacement periodically. Really lovely though!

  15. I would have a hard time going back to work if this garden was close by. Love the meadowland features, grasses flowing in the breezes. Heavenly!

  16. Imagine being able to go out and lunch each day and walk in the Lurie Garden! Wow! I guess the danger is that you might never get around to going back to work.

    • I agree that we are very lucky to have this in the Chicago area. By the way, are my comments on your blog going into the spam folder? They seem to disappear.

      • They aren’t going into my computer spam folder, I check that every day. Is there a spam folder for wordpress? I’ll have to check that. I’m sorry if I am missing comments from you. I thoroughly enjoy your blog posts.

      • Well that ‘s odd. I remember seeing, somewhere, a notice that certain messages had been filtered out as spam but now that I am looking for it I can’t find it anywhere. I’m sorry~I’m not that great with computers. However, I enjoy the conversation that is allowed us here in the sidebar 🙂

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