Chicago’s Lurie Garden

After the Chicago Botanic Garden, the Lurie Garden should be the next must-see item on the agenda of any avid gardener visiting Chicago.

Lurie Garden
Part of the Chicago skyline as seen from the Lurie Garden.

It is a five acre garden in the heart of downtown, designed by Piet Oudolf and Robert Israel. Truly a garden in a city.

Lurie Garden
Love this combination: Monarda bradburiana, Allium atropurpureum, and Amsonia tabernaemontana. I like the low habit of the M. bradburiana but prefer M. fistulosa’s lavender color.

The Lurie Garden has a prairie-style design, but it is not a prairie. It is a mix of native and exotic – bulbs, perennials, and grasses, with a few shrubs and small trees.

Red Poppies Lurie Garden
Red poppies are a new element I haven’t seen before.

This is a garden that is beautiful throughout the growing seas0n. In my opinion, though, it is at its most glorious right now, when the salvia are in bloom.

Lurie Garden Salvia
There is a massive sweep of salvia (mostly ‘May Night’ and ‘Blue Hill’) that curves from one end of the garden to the other, know as the River of Salvia.

Judy came out and took some of these pictures during her lunch hour, when it was quite overcast. She came back after work as well, when the clouds had cleared and the sun was starting to set.

The garden is bordered to the west and north by an evergreen hedge. To the south is the Chicago Art Institute.
The garden is bordered to the west and north by an evergreen hedge. To the south is the Chicago Art Institute.

On most days the garden is full of awe-struck visitors, tourists and native Chicagoans, taking pictures with cell phones and fancy cameras.

Lurie Garden
A wonderful mix of colors and textures.


Prairie Smoke
Prairie Smoke.

Anybody who works in the Loop has no excuse for not visiting the Lurie Garden. And no serious gardener should leave the city without spending some time here.

51 Comments on “Chicago’s Lurie Garden”

  1. Piet Oudolph is the maestro of texture, harmony and color. He is the thinking man’s landscaper and prophet. How I wish I could visit the High Line and now I can add this destination to my wish list. Thanks for the heads up.

  2. I have heard this is a gorgeous garden! Your photos prove it. It would be so wonderful to have all that space to play around with, to create a whole river of color. I have to be content with measly skinny ribbons of plants.

  3. This is a garden I always wanted to see. You might consider hosting a Fling in Chicago again. Like Buffalo, it could use a second go with all that there is to see there. I would love to see one in Philadelphia too. Not many more places with such beautiful gardens in such close proximity.

  4. Unfortunately I can’t leave more than one ‘like’ to this page or maybe a ‘love’ or better an ‘adore’. So you don’t live far from this place, do you? You shall go there regularly and report any change with a post, you that? For example on the second-last picture I can see allium leaves and oregano clumps that will be a wonderful sight in one month or so… I love this garden and you took beautiful pictures of it, I’d drown in that River of Salvia…

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