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Friends and Flowers; A Relaxing Visit to the Chicago Botanic Garden Early Summer

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Monarch butterfly on butterfly bush

While attending the Garden2Blog event, I spent a great last morning having fun with three garden writers who happen to be a few of my closest friends – Carolyn Binder, Michael Nolan, and Christopher Tidrick. We ate a magnificent southern breakfast, then wandered Little Rock, Arkansas fully caffeinated and happy to be in each other’s company. We decided an online collaboration was a necessity and chose as our first project together; simultaneous botanic garden visits on the weekend of June 1, 2012. Carolyn and Michael would tackle the Atlanta Botanical Garden while Chris and I would visit the Chicago Botanic Garden. This is a post about that experience.


Friendship is best served with flowers.

I say this because wandering the Chicago Botanic Garden (CBG) with garden writer friends is akin to being drunk on life. We are laughing, joyous, chatterboxes walking through the garden speaking Latin plantlore to one another without Shawna Coronado, Christopher Tidrick,  Julie McCaffreyreferencing the placards. We discuss compost intimately as if it is a blanket we pull over ourselves at night and giggle hysterically while making sophomoric jokes about the Red Hot Pokers (Knipofia below).

There is something marvelously inspiring about a relaxing afternoon surrounded by flowers and friends, better yet when getting a private tour in a golf cart around the extensive flowering CBG property with the resident tour expert; Media Relations Manager, Julie McCaffrey.

Knipofia Red Hot poker stalk in garden

We were lucky enough to visit CBG the day before the Butterflies & Blooms Exhibit opened for the season (from June 2 – September 3). You can see by tChris Tidrick and Shawna Coronado at Chicago Botanic Gardenhe monarch butterfly on butterfly bush (top photo) that the new butterfly house is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING and filled with all kinds of beauty; both plants and insects included.

My personal goal this trip, beyond laughing so hard with Julie and Chris that I came dangerously close to falling off the golf cart, was to explore the amazing range and shape of flowers, scenery, and planting combinations from a photographic sense. Taking the time to explore a botanical garden like CBG or explore your own garden with a camera is a remarkable way to get closer to nature.

And guess what? I did not document a single plant name even though I could have. Maybe, just maybe, that was the point – – to experience the garden without viewing as a scientist or writer would, but instead, to JUST ENJOY. You should get outside with friends and support your local botanic garden soon. It is mentally healing, it makes you laugh and smile, it helps you take a breath in your life and REALLY BREATHE.

I love a garden walk with friends, don’t you?

roses at the garden
water at the garden
Flower buds
Carillon walk
Knock out roses and nepeta
Cactus on roof garden
White Iris
Linneaus Sculpture garden and roses
Children garden entrance with vertical wall garden

In accordance with the FTC Guidelines and WOMMA Code of Ethics, I am disclosing that our entrance into the Chicago Botanic Gardens and tour was no charge.

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  1. I enjoyed reading about your adventure. It is so great to see beauty captured. Your pictures are breath taking.

  2. That first shot of the Monarch butterfly just made my morning! Thanks for giving me a new bucket list garden to visit!

  3. I also agree that being in a place that full of plants is very relaxing. I guess you really enjoyed your day. Maybe I'll try that sometimes just to feel relax.

  4. I am so happy to ‘ live vicariously through you’ …. I love your photos, stories, and all the interesting people and places you visit…I never get tired of ‘traveling’ with you !!! Keep up all the good work, pics,and places that you cover !!!! It seems that you have it all !!! What a great life…. Have a wonderful weekend !!!!

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