Enchanted Kale Forest

PHOTO: a variety of kale plants are growing in the raised beds of the Children's Growing Garden.

We’re all adjusting to the recent drop in temperature, but some plants actually thrive in cooler weather. Check out the redbor kale in the Grunsfeld Children’s Growing Garden. Forget bonsai, these kale varieties look like a miniature forest. Notice the branching leaf shapes are very similar to the trees in the background.

If you look at the kale from just the right angle, it appears to be part of woods that surround the garden.

PHOTO: The branching pattern of the kale leaves resemble miniature trees.See what I mean?

Kale is a member of a plant group called Brassica, which also includes broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and mustard. These plants grow well in the cooler months, and so they make excellent spring and fall crops. Since they come in a rich range of colors (dark greens to dusty teals to deep purples), and have an attractive variety of leaves (from smooth to lacy to ruffled), they are a favorite for fall garden displays.

Come to the Garden this month and take your picture near our enchanted kale forest!

Visit chicagobotanic.org/learningcampus/growinggarden for more information on the Grunsfeld Children’s Growing Garden.

What’s in Bloom This Fall

Boyce Tankersley, Director of Plant Collections, takes us on a tour of the Garden to see some fall highlights. We saw the cascading mum hayracks over the Visitor Center Bridge, vibrant color combinations in the Circle Garden, developing colors on the roses in the English Walled Garden and fall color developing on trees throughout the Garden. Visit http://www.chicagobotanic.org/inbloom before your visit for a list of what’s currently in bloom. Also don’t forget to visit the What’s in Bloom Cart outside the Visitor Center for more highlights.

Blue Herons and Other Wading Birds

We visited with Jim Steffen, senior ecologist here at the Chicago Botanic Garden, to learn more about the wildlife you can find here. The Barbara Brown Nature Reserve on the south end of the Chicago Botanic Garden is just one place you can find different wading birds. Visit http://www.chicagobotanic.org/birds/species for more information on birds at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

What’s in Bloom on June 1

Boyce Tankersley, Director of Plant Documentation, tells us about some of the flowers we saw blooming on the first meteorological day of summer at the Chicago Botanic Garden. We saw echium in the Heritage Garden, a very rare jade vine in the Tropical Greenhouse, allium in the West Flower Walk and poppies in the English Oak Meadow. Come see us soon or visit http://www.chicagobotanic.org/inbloom for updates on what’s in bloom.

How To Make A Bee Condo

Native bees are critically important in pollinating our plants. This video provides easy-to-follow instructions on how to build a home for bees in your garden so they can continue to pollinate your plants all season long. This is just one of the many environmentally-friendly gardening practices that you can learn during World Environment Day at the Garden on Saturday, June 4, 2011. Visit www.chicagobotanic.org/wed2011 for more information.