Tuesday, August 28, 2012

My Chicago Botanic Garden Tours: At Night & In Rain

In a month (Friday September 28th), I hope to lead a tour at the Chicago Botanic Garden: "The Garden After Dark." We'll include viewing "Lighting at Night," (one of my favorite postcard collecting categories), and, as well, approach the garden experience in terms of the other senses. Please register here and also, pass along the info. to your friends.
So, last Sunday, I scoped out our tour trail during a rare summer visit to the CBG, probably one of my nicest ever since it was in the rain. Of course, that meant all my iPhone shots (rain ruins it like the Wicked Witch of the West), were taken from covered areas. Above, you can see one of the bridges leading to Evening Island and below another bridge leading off the Island. Below that was my new BFF: Peter who gave me a superb tour of the Buehler Enabling Garden. Full of fragrant plants, it will be included on our tour. Please join us and add to the discussion...I find the teacher always learns more than the student.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Zorn's Home & Studio

It was just as exciting as always to make our annual pilgrimage to the Zorn Museum in Mora. But it was a nice change to visit when it wasn't freezing and when it did have lots of visitors including many families with infants (Sweden is more family-friendly logistically, socially and politically)! See the compound above, the house below and the studio below that. The top photo shows you a bit of a typical sky during our visit: Sweden's coolest and rainiest summer in about 20 years. Such a relief for us Chicagoans during this season's extreme heat and drought.

The traveling exhibit introduced me to a contemporary of Zorn's: Julia Beck (1853 - 1934). The fact of her being one of those rare women artists of her time stirred me more than her work. However, I did find one of her paintings really exceptional. Looks like the Museum's website bio is only in Swedish, so here is some useful info about her from a blog called "Swedish Thoughts." To me, seeing her paintings just reinforced what a master artist I consider Anders Zorn to have been. That is his sculpture (probably a replica of the real one inside the museum) below, just outside his studio.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Yellow Cheers!

Miraculously, we returned to an Evanston of cooler temps and real rain! I heard on the radio that the drought is still predicted to last through November, but you can see a noticeable difference on some plants. I was reminded of our recent trip to Sweden, with their coolest, rainiest summer in two decades. There the gray sky was enlivened by yellow flowers such as the four Mullein (Verbascium) above in a community-accessable garden near Stockholm (zone 6). This is a plant I love for its architect and contrasting gray leaf and yellow bloom, but even though it is hardy here in zone 5, it's been my experience that it does better in zone 6.

So yesterday I was delighted to find these towers of yellow in the client's garden below. She is really into native plants and most of the plants in this photo were here before we added some shrubs this spring. Her watering regime during this brutally hot & dry year was heroic, so the plants are not exhibiting much sign of drought. I did hear however, again on the radio from a meteorologist whose name I forget, that one consequence of temps above the mid-90s is that the plants stop photosynthesizing. The yellow wildflower is Cup Plant and it shares ground with common Milkweed (in the foreground) and Joe Pye Weed (purple mop-heads), all very attractant of butterflies and bees. The purple-leaved shrub in the middle is Ninebark and it is one of the plants which I noticed around that actually fared quite well during this year's drought.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Return from Sweden...

We're back from Sweden: the transition on this side of the Atlantic is always more challenging due to the hours that jet-lag strikes. As always, we were so happy to be in a beautiful, civilized country that treats its environment well. And its people.

Editing photos for blog takes too much brain power right now, so I offer three simple images:
1.) The view South out the plane flying over (somewhere near Greenland) as the sun was setting...who knows what time other than the middle of the night.
2.) Looking up on the bus taking us to Arlanda (Stockholm airport) when they cancelled our train...a first for my Swedish husband in 35 years of annual travel home. Note Birch.
3.) Perfect sunset at wonderful friends' perfect home outside Stockholm...wish we were still there!