Catching the Crabapple at peak bloom at the Chicago Botanic Garden (CBG) involves some tricky timing, but we gave it another try last week on the first day that worked. Last time we visited the buds looked as if they were just getting ready to burst.
Passing the Regenstein Center, CBG’s building for indoor displays and public education, we noticed that there was an exhibit of the work of Philip Juras, an artist who specializes in prairie remnants. We stopped to look and are we glad we did.
Then it was on to our usual walk. Only this time it was from the opposite direction, starting with the Woodland walk. The Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica) were past their peak, but still had plenty of blooms. I didn’t catch the name of that yellow flower.
We spied a patch of Cowslips (Primula veris) bathed in a shaft of sunlight.
Here and there were small patches of Shooting Star (Dodecatheon meadia). This is such a unique, delicate, and lovable wildflower.
The south bridge to Evening Island. You can see some of the Crabapple trees in bloom. Coming from the opposite direction really does let you see a garden with new eyes.
There are Crabapples planted near or facing most of the shorelines around the Great Basin, a sort of pond that makes up a large part of CBG’s water feature. Walking down this path on Evening Island, it looks like just a few blooms remain. I am not a big fan of most Euphorbias, but this mass planting of Marsh Spurge (Euphorbia palustris) has a definite charisma.
Walking further into the shade of the Crabapples, we found the Marsh Spurge paired with Camassia (CBG has at least 10 varieties of blue Camassia, but I am pretty sure this is C. leichtlinii ‘Caerulia’). The contrast in color and form make these two plants exciting companions.
A close up of the Camassia in question.
From across the water the Crabapple blooms looked a little sparse, but this stretch of path seemed more like a tunnel of blossoms.
We particularly enjoyed the flowers of ‘Prairie Fire’ Crabapple.
Eventually we strolled through Evening Island and onto the English Oak Meadow. The mass planting of Daffodils had gone over, but we were interested in this plant – Geum ‘Fuzzy Navel’, which has an intriguing name as well as flowers and foliage.
We passed through what is called the English Walled Garden. Would English gardeners would consider this garden to be particularly English? Clipped hedges, lots of annuals. I find this checkerboard arrangement of Tulips and Boxwood to be less than inspiring.
An enormous Chinese Wisteria (Wisteria sinensis) used to grow on a folly in this garden. Our understanding is that it died after a particularly hard winter. It’s been replaced with a variety of Kentucky Wisteria (W. frutescens) called ‘Aunt Maude’. Kentucky Wisteria is supposed to be less rampant than its Asian cousins. I hope ‘Aunt Maude’ prospers in her new home.
On the way out of the English Walled Garden, we passed an open cupboard filled with pots of unusual Daffodil varieties.
Finally, we stopped to say goodbye to Linnaeus but he was already engaged in conversation with a Robin.