In the first 15 years of Taste of Chicago in Grant Park, you could drive to Taste on lower Columbus coming north from the River. Once you went under Randolph Street, you passed (to the west) 24 acres of parking lots and railroad tracks at grade and (to the west) the Daley Bi-Centennial Plaza with tennis courts and a garden that was unconnected to the downtown.
The only benefit was that there was a small parking lot for Taste vendors at the corner of Monroe and Columbus so that you could get in an out quickly. Convenient yes, beautiful, absolutely not. The site of my former parking space is now part of the Lurie Garden at Millennium Park. These photos taken on Sunday, July 3rd show the relation of the Lurie Garden, to Millennium Park and
to the downtown skyline. As Mayor Daley said on Thursday when he received the Scott Medal from Swarthmore, “Chicago is so fortunate to have business leaders who fought to ‘keep the lakefront forever open, clear and free.”"” Today North and South Michigan Avenue are linked to Millennium Park which is connected by the BP Bridge to Grant Park which connects to the Museum Campus and on to Northerly Island. What a great way to enjoy Chicago on foot or by bike
The Lurie Garden is located on the southeast corner of Millennium Park, right at the entrance to Taste of Chicago and the Art Institute of Chicago.
The Lurie Garden in the forefront with the Pritzker Pavillion ahead and the developing skyline at Randolph Street. The Prudential Building built in 1955 was one of the first post-Depression commercial buildings constructed in Chicago.
The base of the BP Bridge designed by Frank Gehry connects Millennium Park to the eastern portion of Grant Park
Anish Kapoor’s sculpture, Cloud Gate, also known as the Bean, is undergoing final welding and is only partially visible. Here is my mom, Esther Schulman, and friend, Susie, enjoying Millennium Park after a visit to Taste. You can see my reflection and a reverse view of the Randolph Street skyline reflecting off Cloud Gate.
With the Award to Mayor Daley of the Scott Medal this week and the meeting of the American Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta in Chicago, it is great to have the following list from the Tribune of 16 hot spots to see green in the Chicago area.
16 hot spots for seeing green
No need to travel abroad to take in outstanding gardens
By Beth Botts
Tribune staff reporter
Looking for a way to spend a weekend beyond your own garden? The Chicago area has many attractions for garden tourists or garden enthusiasts. Because there is no central clearinghouse for information about them, we’re offering our own list of favorite secret and not-so-secret gardens :
1. Chicago Botanic Garden: The 385-acre, 2-million-plant facility in north suburban Glencoe, with 23 display gardens and natural areas on and around a group of nine islands in a series of lakes, is recognized as a world-class botanic garden, with respected and widely varied plantings. A new esplanade has just opened and a railway garden runs through twig models of Chicago landmarks. The garden also hosts a number of shows for specialized plant fanciers, such as those interested in roses, bonsai, daylilies or growing fruit trees. See www.ohwow.org.
2. The Morton Arboretum: The nationally known 1,700-acre outdoor plant museum in Lisle, once the estate of Morton Salt owner Joy Morton, has just added a new half-acre maze garden, a 4-acre children’s garden (due to open in September) and a new visitors center that employs many green building technologies, as well as renovated exhibit areas along the scenic roads and walking trails. It has collections of trees and shrubs from around the world and a restored prairie. See www.mortonarb.org.
3. The Gardens at Ball: The 7-acre West Chicago display and trial garden of Ball Horticultural Co., where a major wholesale breeder and grower of annuals and perennials shows off its plants, will reopen in August after a complete redesign and renovation. This year, the garden will be open to the public from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Fridays in August. Call 888-800-0027.
4. Garfield Park Conservatory: The nearly 2-acre conservatory at 300 N. Central Park Ave. is the nation’s largest “garden under glass,” said Lisa Roberts, Chicago Park District director of conservatories, as well as a center for demonstration of urban horticulture techniques. This summer, an art installation of sculptures by Chicago artist Chris Garafalo called “Reciprocally Prickly” is installed in the conservatory’s Desert House. In August, the first phase of a new 6-acre outdoor garden exemplifying urban gardening will open north of the glasshouse. The conservatory has a summer market selling plants, garden ornaments and organic produce. Call 312-746-5100 or see www.garfield-conservatory.org.
5. Lincoln Park Conservatory: The smaller of the city’s two conservatories at 2391 N. Stockton Drive has elaborate formal gardens out front and an indoor collection of tropical plants, including orchids. This summer, it features an installation of cast aluminum sculptures by Carolyn Ottmer. Call 312-742-7529.
6. Chicago Flower & Garden Show: This annual 170,000-square-foot indoor flower show, held on Navy Pier in March, offers show gardens full of plants forced into bloom during late winter’s grayest days, in addition to seminars, vendors and gardening and cooking demonstrations. See www.chicagoflower.com.
7. Baha’i House of Worship (above): This marvelously filigreed white temple in Wilmette is nine-sided and surrounded by nine gardens with pools. See www.us.bahai.org/how/default.htm.
8. Millennium Park (above): At Columbus Drive and Monroe Street, the spectacular new park includes a 3-acre Lurie Garden designed by well-known Seattle landscape architect Kathryn Gustafson and her firm and planted with perennials by renowned breeder, designer and author Piet Oudolf. A three-day celebration of Lurie Garden, with appearances by Oudolf and many talks, tours and performances, is taking place Friday to July 10. See www.millenniumpark.org.
9. Chicago Neighborhood Tours: These tours of city neighborhoods are sponsored by the Chicago Department of Tourism. On Aug. 20, a tour called “City in a Garden” will visit a number of Chicago greening projects and a community garden. See www.chgocitytours.com/special(underscore )interest(underscore)4.html, or call 312-742-1190.
10. “Hidden Treasures” bus tours: The Chicago Park District tours explore the city’s parks, including perennial and rose gardens, Jackson and Washington Parks, through the summer.
11. Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie (above): About an hour’s drive southwest of Chicago, south of Joliet, this 20,000-acre federal reserve is a major prairie restoration project, a sight for gardeners interested in native plant landscaping. See www.fs.fed.us/mntp; or call 815-423-6370.
12. Cuneo Museum and Gardens: The 75-acre former estate of utilities magnate Samuel Insull in north suburban Vernon Hills includes formal gardens and a conservatory. See www.cuneomuseum.org.
13. Osaka Garden (above): This Japanese garden on Wooded Island behind the Museum of Science and Industry in Jackson Park on the South Side is a remnant of the 1893 Columbian Exposition that formed the park. It symbolizes Chicago’s sister city relationship with the city of Osaka, Japan. See www.hydepark.org/parks/osaka2.htm.
14. Chicago Women’s Park & Gardens: Located at the Clarke House museum at 1827 S. Indiana Ave., the garden commemorates significant women in Chicago’s history in a garden planted in the style of the 1830s, when the house was built. See egov.cityofchicago.org/city/webportal/home.do, and search under “Clarke House.”
15. Cantigny: The 500-acre former estate of the late Chicago Tribune publisher Robert R. McCormick in west suburban Wheaton has formal gardens and an idea garden. See www.rrmtf.org/cantigny.
16. Oak Park Conservatory: This 8,000-square-foot glasshouse, with its collection of tropical plants, is located in the same suburb as the tourist-magnet Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio. See www.wrightplus.org/homestudio/homestudio.html) and many Wright-designed houses. See www.oprf.com/conservatory.