Valentine’s Day Wishes

From ancient China to Greece, Europe, and finally the New World, the tradition of sending messages as a gift of flowers has flourished over the centuries. Popularized in the Victorian era, when public display of emotion was frowned upon, great effort and detail went into the choice of flowers presented in a bouquet. Each flower chosen had its own well-known meaning concealed in its size, shape, color, and even the way it was presented — by hand, singularly, or in a group. Even the number of blooms was important.

While much of the secret language of flowers is lost in modern times, the traditional gift of roses on Valentine’s Day still expresses unmistakable true love. And while many celebrate Valentine’s Day later in the year, we midwesterners appreciate giving blooms in February, when our hearts and senses most long for the color and smell of the garden in bloom.


From the hearts of everyone at the Garden, we wish you a happy Valentine’s Day with a virtual bouquet, and hope that if you were lucky enough to get some flowers of your own today, you enjoy them at least until the snowdrops pop up to welcome us to spring. It can’t be long now!

PHOTOKeep your home bouquet longer with these quick tips from Nancy Clifton, horticultural program specialist:

  • Use floral preservatives that come with flowers!
  • When you are ready to put your flowers in a vase, give each stem a fresh cut. Cutting at an angle opens more area for the flower to take up water. If you can, cut the stem ends in water to prevent the cut from sealing quickly.
  • Make sure that the water you used is room temperature (or slightly warmer) to help your flowers absorb it quickly and easily.
  • Make sure your vase is clean. Dust can hinder water uptake in your bouquet.
  • Keep your arrangement away from direct heat and cold drafts.
  • Pull off bruised petals to keep your flowers looking their freshest.

©2013 Chicago Botanic Garden and

What to see on the first day of fall

Boyce Tankersley, Director of Living Plant Documentation, takes us on a tour of what’s blooming in the display gardens on the first day of fall.

Sweeps of perennials on Evening Island, the cascading mums on the Visitor Center bridge, and masses of mums in the Crescent Garden, are found in the boundaries of our formal garden areas. Our show doesn’t end there, however — find gorgeous asters and sunflowers in the English Walled Garden, Japanese anemones and Endless Summer hydrangeas in the Waterfall Garden, mums mixed with later blooming annuals like zinnias and rudbeckia in the Sensory Garden, and an amazing array of colorful annuals in the Circle Garden.

We only visited six of the 25 display gardens, so come out to see them all this fall! Visit for more information on what’s in bloom.

Tru Blooms Chicago Preview

A city with the motto “Urbs in Horto” (Latin for “City in a Garden”) deserves a signature fragrance: Tru Blooms Chicago debuts this fall as our fair city’s first-ever fine perfume. Today, the Chicago Botanic Garden held a preview of the fragrance and we personally enjoyed the lovely floral scent. Here’s why it’s a standout: it’s made with flowers grown in urban gardens throughout the Chicago area. Continue reading Tru Blooms Chicago Preview