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.

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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.

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

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

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

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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

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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. 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!

  2. 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! 🙂

  3. 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: http://www.luriegarden.org/plant-life/.

    • 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

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