Monday, September 19, 2005
Chicago Botanical Gardens
In gardening news, we spent a day recently at the Chicago Botanical Gardens. It's one of those places we've been meaning to visit for some time, and I'm glad we took a day to head to the big city to check it out.

Everywhere we went in the garden, brides and grooms were posing for pictures. It must be the last of the summer wedding rush.

My favorite part of the Chicago Botanical Gardens was the vegetable and fruit garden. Here is an archway constructed from apple trees, pruned to grow straight up in a column and then to arch over the walkway. Each tree was laden with red and yellow fruit.

The grape arbor drew me on and on. It was delightfully cool under the arbor, and there was a smell of summer wine in the air. Towards the end of the arbor, the grape vines were replaced with kiwi vines. I've heard hardy kiwis can grow vigorously, even with our cold winters. The trick is getting fruit to form. These vines were lush and green, but I didn't see any fuzzy little fruits.

The veggie beds were laid out as artfully as a flower garden. The plants were full of color and texture. The beds were broad, with spacious rows and surprising combinations. It was dramatic, exotic, and homey, all at once. I could have spent all day exploring the plantings. There was an Italian garden bed, with eggplant and tomatoes. An Asian garden bed with bok choy and cabbage. Herbs and veggies were interplanted in charming combinations throughout the garden. Maybe I can imitate the beauty of this garden on a smaller scale in my own botanical garden.

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