When Scott Stewart Ph.D., Director and Head Horticulturist (see photo right) invited me to come out to see The Lurie Garden I readily accepted as I have lived in the Chicago-area since before the garden was built and have never stepped foot inside it’s boundaries. About time, right? This magnificent 5 acre garden along Chicago’s lakefront is designed by Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Ltd, Piet Oudolf and Robert Israel. Happily, the garden pays homage to the City’s motto, “Urbs in Horto” (City in a Garden), which refers to Chicago’s transformation from its flat and marshy origins to an amazing American city.
On the morning of my visit, it rained bitterly and the fog rolled in – I was convinced as I parked my car that it would be a horrible time to visit this Chicago landmark. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Every step through the garden presented a more beautiful view, a delicious surprise, a lovely spark of magnificent life in a sea of concrete. Proving that any time is a good time to visit the gardens.
Native and drought tolerant plants mix to form a wave of color, shape, and presence. In the early morning hour with the fog hovering above our heads and silence all around, it made me think of the type of quiet one experiences when you are in a cathedral. Drops of water, the choir in this place of worship, fell off the flowers in slow drips that humbled me. Instead of quickly walking through the garden, I was forced to slow down and get caught up in every small flower and stunning view.
After my visit I toured the Art Institute and loved the views of the garden from inside the modern art wing. I was so captivated by the garden I returned in the afternoon after the sun had burned off the fog and the colors in the garden were even more vivid. Walking through the garden I heard laughter and wildlife together in a joyful blending under the sunshine. It was peaceful.
Since my visit earlier this year I have been anxiously planning my next visit – any time of year will be interesting and fun. Plan your visit to this astounding Chicago treasure. Find The Lurie Garden on the SouthEastern end of Millenium Park in Chicago and get there soon to enjoy it’s special type of garden magic.