Yesterday Judy got downtown and had a long-delayed reunion with the Lurie Garden. She was enchanted with its winter splendor, and took lots of photos with her phone.
Stalks of Milkweed and gleaming office towers both set off by the blue sky.
These tall grasses seem to be performing a synchronized ballet as they all bend forward before the wind. I think that’s Korean Feather Reed Grass (Calamagrostis brachytricha). Update: My friend Jo Ana Kubiak who works at Lurie Garden says that this is actually ‘Dallas Blues’ Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum).
Stalks of Compass Plant (Silphium laciniatum) against the Chicago skyline.
Leaves of European Beech (Fagus sylvatica) tenaciously refuse to fall in the Big Shoulder hedge.
Funny how this grass seems to reflect light while the skeletons of Calamint (?) (Calamintha nepeta) are shrouded in darkness.
Looking through the Light Plate toward the Art Institute. This view just makes me happy. Love the Allium and Echinacea seedheads scattered throughout like little punctuation marks.
Seedheads of Mountain Mint (Pycnanthemum muticum).
Arkansas Bluestar (Amsonia hubrichtii) still golden after months of cold.
A closer look.
These grasses just glow against the somber backdrop of the Big Shoulder hedge. Judy is telling me I should mention the amazing mix of textures. Also what the great afternoon light when she was there.
Echinacea seed heads.
Not sure what these seed heads are. Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa)? Update: Jo ana also says this is actually Eastern Bee Balm (M. bradburiana) – so I was close.
To me, those basal leaves at the lower left look like they are saying: “I’m done. Wake me next spring.”
I think these are the remains of Bottle Gentian (Gentiana andrewsii). Somehow they look both elegant and shabby.
Milkweed memories: a pod in the upper left, with silky seeds below.
Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) glowing red in the afternoon winter light.
Retaining beauty into the winter months is a basic test of any garden. The Lurie Garden surely passes that test. It’s a quieter beauty, but not hard to recognize.