10 Romantic Getaways at the Garden

Summer of Love

Karen Z. —  July 15, 2014 — Leave a comment

It’s a warm summer evening, and you’re at the Chicago Botanic Garden with someone special. The food’s been great, and the music sounds terrific…time to grab his/her hand and head out for a romantic stroll.

Hot Summer Nights

Dance outdoors on weeknights! Enjoy swing, Latin jazz, samba, bluegrass, big band, country, rock ’n’ roll, and salsa.

Be guided by the GardenGuide app.

Download the Garden Guide app at www.chicagobotanic.org/app.

Think of it as a personal docent: access our Garden app for fun/interesting tours around the grounds.

Find the places where the two of you can hear the music across the water, take in a different view, and have a bench all to yourselves. Our top ten hideaways at the Garden:

  1. Stop and smell the roses. In between the entrance to the Krasberg Rose Garden and the Linden Allée is a tiny terrace, tucked behind a hedge. The chairs there are perfect for taking in the scent of the thousands of roses in summer bloom.
  2. Where light dances on water. In summer, the bridges to Evening Island—the Arch Bridge, the Serpentine Bridge—are lit at night. You can spend hours watching the reflections in the water.
  3. Around the council rings. On Monday nights, the Carillon Concerts sound incredible from either of the council rings on Evening Island. Pack a picnic to eat at the Nautilus terrace, then head up either hill, and enjoy the sound. 
  4. Get there before 6 p.m. While the Regenstein Fruit & Vegetable Garden stays open just until 6 p.m., it’s worth the early walk to sit out at the grape arbor’s overlook and take in the fountain view back toward the Esplanade.
  5. The pre-sunset prairie. Long summer evenings mean long summer walks: out in Dixon Prairie, the plants grow taller than your head late in the season, and the light filters through the grasses as the sun lowers in the sky.
  6. Have you discovered the Kleinman Family Cove yet? We think the Cove is one of the prettiest places at the Garden in the evening—perfect for listening to the natural chorus of frogs, birds, and insects.
  7. A view to the east. Turn left at the top of the Dwarf Conifer Garden stairs and head up the path—the bench at the crest has a stunning view of the Elizabeth Hubert Malott Japanese Garden.
  8. Where white flowers bloom. McGinley Pavilion is always planted with wedding-appropriate white flowers—beautiful and fragrant in the evening, and a lovely spot to sit near the water.
  9. The Circle Garden’s secret gardens. There’s a pair of them, one on each side of the Circle Garden. You’re just steps away from the Regenstein Center, but it feels like miles away…
  10. The Pergola Garden at the English Walled Garden. Bubbling fountains, hanging wisteria, and a bench that’s painted the quintessential blue…perfect place for a selfie of the two of you.


PHOTO: Nymphaea 'Pamela'.

Daisy Chain

©2014 Chicago Botanic Garden and my.chicagobotanic.org

Roses That Say Love

Summer of Love

Karen Z. —  July 15, 2014 — 3 Comments

The Krasberg Rose Garden is naturally romantic. As with fine wines, the descriptive words for roses are rich and varied. Among the 5,000-plus rose bushes planted are some that speak the language of love through their names.

Roses That Say Love

PHOTO: Love rose.

‘Love’—Big. Scarlett. Fragrant. The very definition of a romantic rose.

PHOTO: Tiffany rose.

‘Tiffany’—Rosy pink, strong fragrance, and the perfect name for a proposal.

PHOTO: Love and Peace rose.

‘Love and Peace’—A beautiful combination: yellow, edged in pink. And that fragrance!

PHOTO: Starry Night rose.

Starry Night™—Five pure white petals sparkle like the stars in your true love’s eyes.

In Victorian times, red roses said “love,” pink roses said “like,” and yellow roses said “friend me”—or close enough. Victorian "Like" button.

Some roses speak of love through scent. American historian Alice Morse Earle writes the following in “Old Time Garden”: “The fragrance of the sweetest rose is beyond any other flower scent, it is irresistible, enthralling; you cannot leave it.” Breathe deeply, and perhaps you’ll detect myrrh, musk, apple, cinnamon, grape, damask, lemon, vanilla, pepper, pine…and, of course, tea, one of the richest of rose scents. 

PHOTO: Rosa 'Jacarque'.

Honey Perfume™—The perfect name for a strongly spicy, apricot-yellow rose

PHOTO: Rosa 'Jactanic'.

Moondance™—The clusters of clear white flowers give off the scent of raspberries.

PHOTO: Rosa x odorata 'Lover's Lane'.

‘Lover’s Lane’—A rich red cultivar of Rosa × odorata, the genus of all tea-scented Chinese roses

PHOTO: Rosa 'AUSbord'.

Gertrude Jekyll— The classic scent of old roses is strong in this big, ruffly, old-fashioned rose.

Is there a more beautiful background than the Rose Garden? Two-thirds of visitors take photos here.
Rings

Finally, some roses have romantic stories to tell. The Portland rose (Rosa ‘Comte de Chambord’) was a gift to the Empress Josephine, who established the greatest rose garden of its time at Malmaison. The cabbage rose (Rosa x centifolia), known as the “100-petaled rose,” is a beloved subject and symbol in Dutch still-life paintings. Autumn Damask rose (Rosa ‘Autumn Damask’), is an Old Garden Rose with a 3,000-year-old connection to the cult of Aphrodite, the goddess of love. 

Take an evening stroll through the roses, and find romance in the Rose Garden. 

Daisy Chain

©2014 Chicago Botanic Garden and my.chicagobotanic.org

Summer Bulbs

Tom Weaver —  July 10, 2014 — 2 Comments

Spring is done and we’ve finally moved into summer bulb season! The annual beds have been replanted with sweeps of dahlias, cannas, caladium, and begonias to showcase these nonstop workhorses of the summer garden.

PHOTO: Caladium plantings under the crabapples.

Caladium bicolor ‘Raspberry Moon’, Begonia ‘Million Kisses Honeymoon’ and Cretan brake fern (Pteris cretica) light up the shade under the Selkirk crabapples.


PHOTO: A raised planting of caladium and begonia under a tree offer a chance to sit in the shade.

Caladium bicolor ‘Miss Muffet’ and Begonia × tuberhybrida ‘Illumination White’ make a great pairing for shady areas.

On the perennial side of things, we’re moving into lily season. The very first lilies to bloom are the martagon lilies (Lilium martagon) and their hybrids (such as Lilium martagon ‘Mrs. R.O. Backhouse’). Martagon lilies are terrific plants for the shade garden because they provide both structure and color at a time when little else is blooming in the shade. The leaves emerge in a layered whorl, giving the plants a pagoda-like structure. We’re also moving into Asiatic lily season with the first of those beginning to bloom in bold shades of pink, red, yellow, and orange. 

PHOTO: The orange blooms of a martagon lily poke up through a bed of hosta.

Lilium ‘Nepera’ is a vibrant orange martagon hybrid that lights up a shady corner.

PHOTO: Foxtail lilies poke up from a planting of bayberry.

Pale yellow foxtail lilies (Eremurus ‘Lemon Meringue’) provide a fun summer surprise when planted among shrubs such as this bayberry (Myrica pensylvanica).

In addition to the lilies, we’re also seeing some unusual bulbs such as Eremurus ‘Lemon Meringue’ in bloom. Eremurus have tall, bottle brush-like flowers that add an exotic flair to the garden. Smaller alliums such as Allium tanguticum ‘Balloon Bouquet’ and Allium senescens do not have the giant flower heads of their springtime relatives, but still provide a welcome change of pace from the more common flowers of summer. 

PHOTO: Asiatic lilies just beginning to open.

The Asiatic lilies are just starting to bloom in the sunnier areas of the garden. Photo by Bill Bishoff.

PHOTO: Lilium 'Sterling Star'.

Lilium ‘Sterling Star’ Asiatic Lily. Photo by Bill Bishoff.

PHOTO: Lilium 'Red Velvet'.

Lilium ‘Red Velvet’ Asiatic outfacing lily. Photo by Bill Bishoff.

©2014 Chicago Botanic Garden and my.chicagobotanic.org

Turning the Pages

Undercover Science

Julianne Beck —  July 8, 2014 — 1 Comment

Historical depth and futuristic innovation meet in the Lenhardt Library and Lenhardt Plant Science Library.

PHOTO: Rare book exhibitions are displayed at the entrance to the library.

Rare book exhibitions are displayed at the entrance to the Lenhardt Library.

Led by director Leora Siegel, the comprehensive library facility houses rare books dating back to the 1400s. The library also serves as a portal to a nearly unlimited amount of scientific information in the digital realm. It’s a resource for staff researchers, students, interns, and citizen scientists alike. Beneath the quiet of the library shelves, there is an ever-present forward movement. “Everything that we do here is about providing information to anyone who needs it,” said Siegel. “Our scientists who are out there in the forefront and publishing have the library behind them to get needed information.”

The library was recently named one of the newest contributors to the Biodiversity Heritage Library, an open-access, digitized collaboration of leading garden and scientific libraries nationwide. The move allows the Chicago Botanic Garden to share digitized materials unique to its collection with the broader research community. Together with other contributing institutions, the Garden is “trying to make biodiversity literature available for everyone around the world, especially in places where they do not have physical libraries,” explained Siegel.

PHOTO: A view into the research and storage shelves at the Plant Conservation Science Center.

Research-specific collections reside in the Plant Science Center.

The Biodiversity Heritage Library collection is a resource long accessed by Garden scientists, in addition to a multitude of books, digitized journals, and databases available through the Lenhardt Library and Lenhardt Plant Science Library. The comprehensive resources allow scientists to dig deeply into subject matter; for example, accessing journal articles from the early days of a publication to the most recent edition. This is critical to their work, according to Siegel, who explained that current research must always reference early work on related material, and build upon subsequent research leading to current theories.

The library facility, which was founded by the Woman’s Board of the Chicago Horticultural Society in 1951, predates the physical structure in which it now sits, the Regenstein Center. The Lenhardt Plant Science Library is a research-specific facility in the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Plant Conservation Science Center. It is not open to the public, but is used by Garden scientists. 

One of Siegel’s favorite science books is Seeds: Ecology, Biogeography, and Evolution of Dormancy and Germination, which is housed in the Lenhardt Plant Science Library.

PHOTO: Leora Siegel.

Leora Siegel directs the Garden’s libraries.

Siegel has been managing this tremendous resource for more than ten years. To her, it was a natural path from her childhood in New York where her love of plants began. She went on to pursue advanced degrees in biology and library science. “My worlds align in working here,” she reflected. “This is a great institution.”

Perhaps one of her favorite elements is the Rare Book Collection, which can be seen during special tours. “It’s just magical to touch a book from 1483,” she noted. “Sharing it with someone is just a pleasure.” The Rare Book Collection includes original materials published by Carolus Linnaeaus, who changed the way we understand the natural world, and who established binomial nomenclature. A bronze statue of Linnaeus anchors the Heritage Garden near the Regenstein Center.

In summer, Siegel often passes by the statue on her way to her favorite display garden—Evening Island. On cooler days, she enriches her day with a walk through the Greenhouses.


©2014 Chicago Botanic Garden and my.chicagobotanic.org

A couple years ago, in early spring, I got the kind of call that puts a “plant doctor” like me on edge. “Come look at the roses right away,” someone said. In my 25 years at the Chicago Botanic Garden, no one has ever called me to say, “Hey, Tom, come look at the roses; they look great today!” I’m in charge of plant healthcare at the Garden, so when I pick up the phone, there’s usually a problem.

I got the call about the Krasberg Rose Garden following a string of very damp nights that meant trouble—a white fuzz had spread over all the roses. The fuzz was a destructive pathogen that produces mycelium, or fungal spores. It can happen pretty much overnight. We ended up managing the problem, but it was scary to start off a season like that. Roses are tricky, prone to a lot of diseases and insect problems. Our friends at the Missouri Botanical Garden lost all their roses to a virus called rose rosette disease. 

I don’t just get calls about diseases or pests such as the emerald ash borer. I get called to the Butterflies & Blooms exhibition if the staff is worried about a larva or to the Elizabeth Hubert Malott Japanese Garden if there’s a raccoon problem. I like to say that I’m sort of like a CSI detective when it comes to plants. If a plant is failing, I try to find out why and what it needs. I look at the buds, the stem, the trunk, the root flare, the soil, and the plant’s history over the years.

PHOTO: Tom Tiddens poses with a cardboard coyote cutout, used to deter varmints from veg.

Tom Tiddens and a plant healthcare specialist’s best friend head out to play fetch.

I also work with the horticulturists on preventive care, including watering, pruning, weeding, and fertilizing. When I see a problem in the early stages, I’m very patient and tolerant. I like to see if Mother Nature might take care of it—maybe a hard rain will wash away any aphids or the ladybugs will get rid of the pests, for instance.

People ask me how I track the health of more than 2.6 million plants here. I have two great plant healthcare specialists who work with me, and I really rely on the horticulturists—they’re my eyes out in the field—and my volunteer team, which includes a lot of master gardeners. Every week, I give the volunteers a map and checklist marked with target plants and pests. So a typical volunteer assignment, for example, would be to check the spirea bushes in the Sensory Garden for aphids.

PHOTO: Bagworms infect a pine.

From bagworms…

PHOTO: Rust infects a fruit and leaf.

…to rust…



PHOTO: Black spot infects rose foliage.

…to black spot on roses, Tom Tiddens treats them all.

The average home gardener doesn’t have to be so methodical. Gardening shouldn’t be a chore. I like to keep things simple at home. I don’t like weeding, and I avoid using a lot of perennials or groundcovers. I like having a nice woodchip mulch bed and a mulching lawnmower. It’s the same thing with fall leaves. Everyone bags up all the leaves. Nope. I raise my mulching lawnmower, and I just grind them into the lawn.

Register now for a certificate class with Tom Tiddens, plant health care supervisor and certified arborist. From July 21 to August 28, he will teach Plant Health 2 with Kathie Hayden, the Garden’s manager of plant information service.    

©2014 Chicago Botanic Garden and my.chicagobotanic.org