The Lurie Garden in February (2018)

The snow has melted, and Judy has been anxious to take pictures of the Lurie Garden before all the plants are mowed down. Last Saturday we both had reason to be in the loop, so while I was working Judy took some time to wander Lurie Garden with her camera.

DSC_0944 Read More

A Visit to the Garfield Park Conservatory

We had contractors working in the house last Saturday, and so Judy and I decided to have an outing to the Garfield Park Conservatory. We hadn’t visited since five years ago, which is a shame because this is one of Chicago’s great garden features.

Photo Feb 18, 12 01 07 PM

Read More

Kyoto’s Nijo Castle

Around 1600, the Tokugawa family became the dominant power in feudal Japan. The Emperor was essentially a figurehead. The Tokugawas moved the administrative capital from Kyoto to Edo (Tokyo), while the Imperial Court remained in Kyoto. Nijo Castle, completed in 1628, was built as the Kyoto residence for the head of the Tokugawa family – the Shogun.

Judy and I visited on an overcast day last September.


Read More

Garden Book Giveaway Day!

Somehow I have accumulated extra copies of a number of fine garden books. I have therefore decided to declare, until further notice, that every Wednesday will be Garden Book Giveaway Day.

Each Wednesday I will give away one book (free shipping included) to the person who provides the best answer to a garden-related question. Winners will be selected by a panel made up of Chicago aldermen not currently under indictment, plus Jared Kushner.

Contestants must be from the USA or Canada, because I’m not made of money, people.

This week’s giveaway is a hardcover copy of Garden Revolution, by Larry Weaner and Thomas Christopher.

garden rev

According to Rick Darke, this book is “An essential reference for conservation-minded home gardeners and stewards of larger landscapes.”

And here is this week’s question:

How many times have you tried to grow a plant that kept dying on you? Name the plant, and explain if the effort was worth it.

Please keep it under 100 words. Answers must be posted by midnight on Saturday, February 24th. The winner will be revealed the following Wednesday.

Snowfall At Dusk

We had another snowfall last Saturday night, just a couple of inches. Judy ran out with her camera to capture the scene before the light faded.


Read More

Kyoto’s Shoren-in Temple

Shoren-in is one of the smaller Buddhist Temples in Kyoto, and it doesn’t draw nearly as many visitors as some of the larger, more famous temples. Its garden, though, is equal to that of any of the other Kyoto temples we visited.


Read More

Snow Day

This past weekend was all about snow.


Read More

5 Native Plants For Shade

The catalogs made me do it. My intention was to add only a few new plants this spring. But then the catalogs came. Before I go to sleep, I like to leaf through the garden catalogs. I find it soothing, and I told myself I was only looking. There’s no harm in looking.

Marsh Phlox. Photo from Prairie Wildflowers of Illinois.

Read More

Thanks for the Amaryllis!

Most years I pot up a few Amaryllis bulbs to bloom indoors over winter. This year, however, I just never got around to doing so. Happily, our friend Rose (of Prairie Rose’s Garden blog) sent us a gift that made up for my neglect.


In fact, this gift Amaryllis has an excellent sense of timing, as we can enjoy its blooms even as we are getting clobbered by several days of snow. I can come back inside from shoveling the snow for the fifth time this weekend (OK, only the second time, but it feels like the fifth) and look at the red and white flowers. They remind me of candy canes and of all the colorful blooms that will surely come with the spring. I gaze at them and my heart lightens.

Kyoto’s Kiyomizudera Temple

So after Kanazawa, we took the train to Kyoto.  Remember, this was in September of last year.

Before it was Tokyo, Kyoto was Japan’s capital for about 800 years. Kyoto is to Tokyo sort of the way Boston is to Los Angeles. Kyoto is smaller, quieter, more refined – and with a lot more history.

Speaking of which, there are a lot of historic Buddhist temples in Kyoto, altogether 1,600 temples and shrines. Kiyomizudera is one of those temples, and one that’s a lot of fun to visit.


Read More

%d bloggers like this: