The Lurie Garden in May (2018)

I don’t get to Lurie Garden much in April and May, because I’m constantly out of town. Fortunately, before leaving Chicago on Monday I was able to visit for about an hour. It was time well-spent!

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Right now Lurie Garden has the look of a colorful spring meadow. A profusion of flowering bulbs and perennials gladdened my heart under a blue sky.

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A river of Grape Hyacinths (Muscari armeniacum) stands on the same path that will become the River of Salvia in a month or so. I think this is the first year that the Grape Hyacinths have really made a visual impact. It should only get better in future years.

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White Tulips (‘Maureen’ and ‘Purissima’) form a shore for the blue river – like a white, sandy beach.

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A drift of pink, magenta, and dark purple Tulips sit in the center of the West Side of the garden.

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Let me stop the tour for a second. I know we’re supposed to refer to the 2 parts of the Lurie Garden as the Light Plate and the Dark Plate. I just can’t do it anymore. For one thing, the Dark Plate isn’t all that dark, though it does have a few small trees. So from now on I’m referring to the area west of the boardwalk as the West Side, and the area east of the boardwalk as the East Side. That sounds more like a Chicago thing, anyway. OK, moving on.

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Those Tulips with the purple stripes fading to white make me think of blueberry ice cream.

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There is a mass of Viridiflora Tulips on one corner of the East Side. Generally not my favorite sort of Tulips (not crazy about green flowers), but I like how these look in this spot.

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There were also big drifts of ‘Actaea’ Daffodils in bloom.

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Nice.

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‘Lemon Drops’ Daffodils (??) in the lower right corner. At least some of the magenta Tulips are Tulipa humilis violacea, a Species Tulip.

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I think these are ‘Jenny’ Daffodils.

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I really like this picture. It’s taken from the East Side, and the boardwalk is hidden, which is why that guy in the blue shirt looks like he has been buried to the shoulders in Daffodils. But what I like about this picture is that the people seem immersed in the garden (or maybe I’m projecting – the people are pretty small). I also like how you can see over the hedge to the flowering trees in Millennium Park.

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The East Side of the garden is at a higher elevation, which lets you see the flowers from a different perspective.

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The Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) were just spectacular. I have never seen such big concentrations of this flower.

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There was a Higan Cherry (Prunus subhirtella) in flower on the East Side.

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The flowers are even more luscious viewed close up.

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I’m really neglecting the perennials in this post. There were several large patches of Prairie Smoke (Geum triflorum) that are worth mentioning.

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And a few clumps of Shooting Star (Dodecatheon ‘Aphrodite’). I would love to see these establish big colonies.

I miss my daily walks in the Lurie Garden. Come June they should resume, which is something to look forward to. In the meantime, I can contemplate this one visit I was able to squeeze in, which I am pleased to share with you.

47 Comments on “The Lurie Garden in May (2018)

  1. So pleased you managed to visit, the flowering bulbs are amazing! Lucky people of Chicago to have this on their doorstep.

  2. I am pleased that you shared this look at the Lurie. I don’t think I have seen this early spring look. Good to see all of those drifts of colorful spring flowers.

  3. I few through Chicago last weekend and was surprised to look out the window and see mostly bare trees, but I imagine things are happening very quickly now. It looks like summer here and the temps are soaring this weekend up to 90, so it will soon feel like summer too.

  4. Thanks so much for sharing! This garden, with the juxtaposition of the cityscape, always fascinates me, Until I started following your blog, I had never heard of it. Now, I’ve liked it on Facebook and get regular dispatches, some of which I share. Lurie garden has come to Maine.

  5. Thanks so much for a view of the garden not often seen. I *love* the pre-echo of the river of salvia with grape hyacinths. Also smitten by the profusion of Virginia bluebells, which set off the bulbs’ colors and echo that big clear sky.

    I believe the white triandrus daffodils are ‘Thalia’; ‘Jenny’ is yellow. The picture of what certainly looks like ‘Lemon Drops’ moves that variety even higher on my wishlist; there aren’t many pale yellow triandrus daffs, so I think your ID is right on. And what a fabulous shot of the white viridiflora tulips (probably ‘Spring Green’, but there are other candidates, including ‘Hibernia’).

    Wonder how many seasons it will take for the ?west side to look like a Dark Plate…

    • I don’t know. The shrubs and trees in the Dark Plate aren’t very tall … Thanks for Daffodil IDs. I agree about the grape hyacinths and VA bluebells.

  6. Wow, happy you had a chance to enjoy! Thanks for sharing it is lovely.

  7. Oh, isn’t it lovely….I would love to visit one fine day, I’ll have to pick the right season which would be difficult as it always looks good.xxx

  8. So beautiful! Thank you for sharing, I’m hoping to get down there yet this year… what is your favorite season at the Lurie?

  9. Thank you for sharing. being from such a rural part of the country, I am intrigued by gardens in urban settings. Would love to visit the Lurie Garden!

  10. It’s fun remembering the autumn and winter views, and now seeing what’s emerged. What a beautiful spot to be able to have a daily walk; I’m sure there’s always something new to see, even day by day.

  11. What a wonderful place! The contrast between the garden and the high-rise buildings is striking and yet the spring meadow looks as pretty and cheerful as any meadow can look.
    Thank you for your comment on one of my posts about Italy. Did you notice the previous one? (https://mywoodlandgarden.blogspot.fi/2018/05/compact-camera-shots-flowers-and-leaves.html) I was so happy to have been able to photograph a pink wisteria. 🙂
    I hope you will soon be able to visit Italy.

  12. Well said, Jason: rivers of flowers! They ‘re lovely especially white tulips and muscari. It seems the Lurie garden is a wonderful place to relax.

  13. Oh, I am glad you had the chance to visit and take some photos to share. I really love this garden and it looks so lovely at this time of year. Lovely pictures!

  14. That is a lot of bulbs for a public garden! Yet, they do not look too overly refined. They look naturalized.

    • That naturalized look is Lurie’s specialty. The effect comes from planting in big drifts, allowing the plants to naturalize, but mixing in some aggressive editing where needed.

      • I like it because it fits the region so well. (I am guessing of course, since I do not know what the region is like.) It looks like something natural for there. It would not be so nice here, since our region is chaparral. Designers try it, and it does not work too well. Perhaps I should say, they are not satisfied with the chaparral look. Designers can be real idiots.

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