Chicago’s Lurie Garden in May

Earlier this week Judy was walking to the Millenium Park garage in downtown Chicago but, prompted by the mild weather and clear light, took a detour into the Lurie Garden. The views were sublime – full of blues, purples, and whites – and Judy took some photos with her cell phone. They came out pretty well, I think, so I’m sharing them here.

White tulips at the Lurie Garden.
White tulips at the Lurie Garden.


There were still plenty of late tulips blooming. The white tulips are especially striking. I think these are ‘Maureen’, ‘Ivory Floradale’, and ‘Spring Green’. As always, it’s the urban setting just as much as the plant palette that makes this garden so exciting. That’s the Pritzker Pavilion behind the hedge.

More tulips.
More tulips.

She also saw a mix of the medium and dark purple ‘Don Quichotte’ and ‘Queen of Night’.

Lurie Garden's river of salvia starts to flow.
Lurie Garden’s river of salvia starts to flow.

The river of salvia has not yet achieved its full flow, as the bloom is just starting. Salvia varieties include ‘Amethyst’, ‘May Night’, ‘Blue Hill’, and ‘Purple Rain’.

Masses of blue star at the  Lurie Garden.
Masses of blue star at the Lurie Garden.

Lurie also has masses of blue star (Amsonia), including ‘Blue Ice’ and willow leaf blue star (Amsonia tabernaemontana var. salicifolia).

Prairie smoke with tulips in the background.
Prairie smoke with tulips in the background.

Another native blooming was prairie smoke (Geum trifolium), with white tulips in the foreground. You can see in this picture also that the winter took a toll on the hedges that border the garden to the north and west. Fortunately the hedges are made of a mix of woody plants, including Japanese yew, arborvitae, and hornbeam. This makes it less vulnerable to winter damage and other problems.

Gentle green mounds dominate the Lurie Garden in May.
Gentle green mounds dominate the Lurie Garden in May.

The overall feel of the garden right now is of soft green mounds with patches and dots of color.

What is your favorite urban garden?

38 Comments on “Chicago’s Lurie Garden in May”

  1. I would say that this is one of my favorites for sure! The white tulips are amazing and I am thinking I should plant more blue star because in those mass plantings it is just fantastic! Outstanding pictures and a wonderful weekend to you! Nicole

  2. I’m really impressed with the green spaces in Chicago; this and the botanic garden are both fantastic. I also loved the High Line in New York, urban planting at its most exciting. I think some of the white tulips might be White Dream.

  3. I am not sure if it exactly qualifies as a ‘garden’ since it feels more like a forest but without any hestiation I would vote for Stanley Park in Vancouver. Words are inadequate to express its perfection.

    Like Marian St.Clair I had to wonder if the tulips had naturalized or if they were replaced each year. Thx for including the plant list.

  4. I’ve never been there but it must be fantastic. I wonder if they plant the bulbs new every year? They certainly put on a good show this spring. I must admit that I don’t like cities very much and usually visit gardens in the country.

  5. This garden really excites me after the several posts you’ve done on it. The wide space allows for such beautiful flowing plantings. I’m happy to see you plan more Lurie Garden posts.
    Probably because I know it better, my favorite urban garden is Lan Su, the Portland Chinese Classical garden, but I’m also a big fan of the High Line In NYC.

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