Each time I go home to visit Chicago, I discover something I have never seen before. In the North Shore suburb, Glencoe, not far from half million dollar homes and up is the Chicago Botanic Garden. This heaven-on-earth, botanists’ dream is sandwiched […]
Each time I go home to visit Chicago, I discover something I have never seen before. In the North Shore suburb, Glencoe, not far from half million dollar homes and up is the Chicago Botanic Garden. This heaven-on-earth, botanists’ dream is sandwiched between the surrounding woods and multiple golf/country clubs. And it free to get in.
We arrived by bicycle via the Green Bay trail. I had no idea that this short stop over could take up hours of our afternoon. Well worth the pit stop. (Parking is astronomical, so if you can make the trip with your bicycle, I would suggest it.)
I love flowers. Maybe it is because I have a hard time keeping a cactus alive, I admire those who have a naturally talented green thumb. Maybe I am just in awe of the colorful beauty nature provides for us, free of charge. Just add sunlight and water. Okay, I know there is a little more to it than that. People get whole degrees on how to grow and sustain flowers/plants/trees/shrubs/bushes/vegetables.
As I walked into the garden, I thought, what a great job this would be. If I only had a green thumb.
Well, it turns out, the 385 acre garden is run by a handful of horticulturists, architects, grounds keepers, designers, and other support staff. This “garden” is actually made up of 26 gardens, and it takes a whole bunch of people to keep this place alive. Literally. The placement of each plant, the amount of water and sunlight given, the artistic touches, and all the regular upkeep takes mad skills. I was impressed.
If plants bore you, there are plenty of flowers and even a garden that contains over 500 species of fruits and vegetables! The scenery makes it enjoyable as well. Winding walking paths, waterfalls, ponds with swans, ducks, and cranes, pergolas, and stone steps that capture different views of the place. The Japanese garden filled with Bonsai-trimmed trees was a lovely place to take a stroll, I must say.
The design and landscaping that goes into this place is also impressive. The trees, shrubs, and bushes, are trimmed to provide an aesthetic presentation. The walled English Garden is a nice place to take a seat and relax to the sound of the nearby fountain.
If you aren’t into walking, you can catch a tour on a tram that meanders through the park, providing nature tips and useful anecdotes along the way. The tram gives you n introduction and glimpse into all the gardens. We opted to walk. The tram is available April through October.
If you have absolutely no interest in nature or horticulture, you may not enjoy your time spent here. The cafe has tasty food and alcoholic beverages to consume right on a pond if you choose to spend the afternoon there while your friends “ooh” and “agh” over the thousands of different species of plants and flowers.
While the garden is open year-round, there are different hours depending on the time of year. If you want to see all the colorful plants, take a walking tour, ride on the tram, or see the Butterflies & Blooms Exhibition, you won’t want to come in the winter. Besides, Chicago — well, it is cold in the winter.
Check out the website for more information.
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