The Lurie Garden in February (2018)
The snow has melted, and Judy has been anxious to take pictures of the Lurie Garden before all the plants are mowed down. Last Saturday we both had reason to be in the loop, so while I was working Judy took some time to wander Lurie Garden with her camera.
It is first and foremost the grasses that make Lurie beautiful in winter. Though I do like the sprinkling of Echinacea seedheads – they look like someone had carelessly scattered a handful of punctuation marks.
The skeletons of the Compass Plants (Silphium laciniatum) still echoes the downtown skyline.
But back to the grasses. Little Bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) is still a beautiful red-orange color even at the end of winter.
Bottle Gentian (Gentian andrewsii) in a state of decay is still handsome if rather melancholy. I’m not sure, but I think the plant in the background is Sea Lavender (Limonium latifolium). Whatever it is, it looks pretty good in winter. UPDATE: Actually, the plant in the background is Calamint (Calamintha nepetoides).
A closer look.
Echinacea seedheads, with Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) in the upper left.
Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) retains a bit of blue even in February. Rattlesnake Master (Eryngium yuccafolium) adds some punctuation.
The Mountain Mint (Pycnanthemum virginianum) has the look of tarnished silver against the golden stems of Arkansas Bluestar (Amsonia hubrichtii).
The Chicago Skyline hovering behind the north end of Lurie Garden.
I like the contrast here. The skeletons of Wild Quinine (Parthenium integrifolium) are dark and rigid. But the Switchgrass, with ethereal seedheads, moves with the wind as if the stems and leaves were still alive.
In this picture even more so.
Soon Lurie Garden will receive a crewcut, the stems and leaves shredded and left to decay on the bald ground. I’m glad Judy got these pictures before that happened.
As someone who has scoffed at the very idea of winter interest, what I’m going to say next is hard to admit. However … I think these photographs show that it really is possible to have a four-season garden in Chicago.