Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Postcards From Chicago, Wish You were Here! part 1

Dear Gardenblogging friends,

We've just landed in Chicago for a long weekend. This is the best fall weather for the middle of August; incredible temperatures and mostly blue skies....I sure wish you were here! Gail




Navy Pier, a tourist destination for sure, we only cruised past it on a walk on the lake running trail. 

Further along the trail...
Can you imagine looking out your highrise apartment to this magnificent sight!   Beautiful!

Speaking of walking, Chicago is a walking city and it's easy to get around. We walked 4 or 5 hours everyday and loved it. If your destination is too far to walk, you can take the 'L', Chicago's mass transit subway or a cab. Cabs are everywhere and easy to hail. We flew into Midway Airport where we caught the Orange Line, transferred to the Red Line and walked a few blocks to our hotel. It was $2 per person! The cab ride from the hotel to the airport was about $40 with a tip!

We stayed near the Magnificent Mile...which is Michigan Avenue; the shopping meca for the well healed and the rest of us!  Our hotel was pleasant and we had a sweet view of the lake.
Zoom lens are fabulous! Even through a dirty window you could see views like this sunrise on the lake...

Our favorite destination:

An intense blue peaks over the top of Cloud Gate's reflective surface....Cloud Gate is the creation of Anish Kapoor and is one of the many art and architectural features of Millennium Park.


I love this big silver bean and it's wonderful skyline reflections!



What the artist had to say:

What I wanted to do in Millennium Park is make something that would engage the Chicago skyline…so that one will see the clouds kind of floating in, with those very tall buildings reflected in the work. And then, since it is in the form of a gate, the participant, the viewer, will be able to enter into this very deep chamber that does, in a way, the same thing to one's reflection as the exterior of the piece is doing to the reflection of the city around.
-Anish Kapoor



"Having a wonderful time at Millennium Park, wish you were here" postcard moment for the four of us!


The photo, a delightfully distorted and fairly accurate representation of our individual personalities!

Did  you see the hand prints from visitors...I didn't notice them at the time, but they are quite noticeable in the photo.  This sculpture invites touching...you can't help but reach out to make contact with the mercury like surface!

It doesn't matter how many times we visit Chicago, we love visiting Millennium Park. Along with Cloud Gate, there is  beautiful Lurie Garden, with its delightful mix of natives and carefully chosen exotics and  the Frank Gehry designed Pritzker stainless steal pavilion 

with it's incredible state of the art sound system, and his 

 serpentine stainless steal bridge.

Cross the serpentine bridge to a field of fantastic native wildflowers and more Chicago skyline.

Let me put it this way, when we meet for  Spring/Fall Fling 2009 in Chicago, we are going to have a lot of fun in Millennium Park!


Crown Fountain at Millennium Park!

Gail

It's a 106 miles to Chicago, we've got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes; it's dark and we're wearing sun glasses. Hit it!
- - - The Blues Brothers

or if you prefer...

Hog butcher for the world,
Tool maker, stacker of wheat,
Player with railroads and the nation's freight handler;
Stormy, husky, brawling,
City of big shoulders.
- - - from Carl Sandburg, "Chicago," 1916




45 comments:

  1. Great post(card), Gail! It reminds me of all the things we loved about Chicago when we visited for the first time last fall. I can't wait to see it again during the Fling.

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  2. Pam, Neither can I...it's charming, it's frenetic and it's visceral! It's a big city with a huge history. It ought to be a great Fling!

    gail

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  3. So it would be best to hang with you in Chicago since you know all the ins and outs? I've only been once, to Great Lakes Naval Station. Looks like a fun city. Love those Annabelles in the picture.

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  4. Pictures are awesome!
    Gee, I think it was 1978 or so when I was up there. I was a teenager and we visit the Brookfield zoo and Museum of Science and History. I am sure a lot has changed in that time! Must get back some day...
    Glad you had nice weather I would like some of that mild stuff now…

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  5. Tina,

    I would love to be your tour guide, but think that the native gardenbloggers might have some good plans in mind! It's a wonderful city and if the weather cooperates it is beautiful.

    Gail

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  6. skeeter,

    Have you had rain? Mild weather would be good and rain would be better! We came home to very dry gardens...so sad to watch the flowers shrivel and drop over! The oakleaf hydrangeas need a good soaking!

    gail

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  7. Nice! Last time I was in Chicago I don't remember seeing any of that. Of course not being from the area or knowing anyone up there I may have just missed it. It looks like a great place to visit. I'm glad you're having a good time!

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  8. No rain yet. I just came in from watering. There's a chance in the southern part of Mid TN but it won't be until tonight.

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  9. Have fun, Gail! Chicago is such a great place. I went to Chicago to visit my friend at Northwestern in March. There is always so much to do and see!

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  10. Dave,

    It is looking bad in the garden...big earth cracks! I water and feel guilty! But if I don't the trees will die and I can't let them die!

    It's a great city and a nice one for kids, too...

    Gail

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  11. Gail, Glad you had such a good time! I live, as you know, about 3 hours from Chicago, but it seems like we get there only to go to a baseball game or to the airport. It's been quite a while since I've been downtown, and I've never seen Millenium Park. I definitely need to make some plans for a weekend trip! Thanks for sharing these photos with us. Hope you get some down time to relax now--we always need a "vacation" after a vacation, it seems:)

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  12. Hi Gail, I had no idea Chicago was so wonderful. You must have had a super time and even got to see gardens too. Your photos should be in the travel brochure. And I'll go with the Blues Brothers version.

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  13. Thanks for the postcard, Gail ... I'm really looking forward to the next Fling now!

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  14. Rose,

    It was a good time and as you say I need to rest and take care of the garden...we haven't had rain and it is looking like it! So lots of hose dragging. I can recommend Millennium Park and the Lurie Garden is very nice, also the field of flowers on the other side of the BP Bridge is a beautiful prairie over looking the city....a wonderful recognition of the prairie past and skyscraper present.

    Gail

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  15. Frances,

    Thank you! This visit was about time with the son and his gf so I saw gardens as an " oh look, I am stopping to take a photo" moments! Actually he is incredibly knowledgeable...he is a phd candidate working with invasive exotic plants! Blues Bros it is! Chicago has LOTS to recommend it!

    gail

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  16. Cindy, mcok, Oh it ought to be a ton of fun! I am looking forward to it, too!

    Gail

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  17. My kids love "The Bean" too. (Nobody calls it the Cloud Gate.) You were so lucky to have the best weather of the summer this past weekend. It isn't usually this nice in August.

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  18. MMD,

    I know I call it the Bean, too but I wanted to give the folks its 'given' name! Isn't the family photo classic bean behavior. Apparently it is also a photo spot for brides and grooms. You can see one bride in a distorted photo someplace in the post! The weather was a wonderful gift...walking around in 90 degree weather would have been, well, a very different weekend! I would have so loved spending time with you at Lurie Garden!

    Gail

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  19. Gail, Chicago at it's best. I only saw a small part of Millennium Park the last time we were there, but did get to see the famous 'bean'. I think it is wonderful more people are doingthe prairie plants. BTW, when is Spring Fling? Rose and I have talked about coming-we are pretty close and how fun to meet the people behind the blogs!

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  20. Still no rain Gail but calling for steady showers tomorrow. Fingers crossed here big time...

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  21. Beckie,

    I am not sure when Fling is; it might actually be in the fall! But ask Mr McGregor's Daughter, she might know!

    It's very exciting that more prairie plantings are going in, especially to honor original prairie sights. Wasn't the area around Chicago both a prairie and a marshy area?

    The Bean is something else!

    Gail

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  22. skeeter,

    I hope it rains all over your part of the world and mine, too!

    Gail

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  23. We drove through there one night on our way somewhere else, so I din't get to see much. It was huge to me. I'm from a small town. Those photos are absolutely fantastic. $40 for a cab ride...Wow. That seems like a lot.

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  24. Hi Gail, glad to see you back!
    Sounds like you had a great trip, and MMD is right, the weather last weekend was very unusual for this time of year and nearly perfect. Too bad I spent most of the weekend working (job) and doing laundry around here (was way behind!).

    In all of the many times I've been to Chicago I've never been to Millenium Park ... the bean is really cool! I'd love to see that one day, as well as the park. I just love that city, but I could never afford it, and since I moved back to Iowa, I'm appreciating it more and more than I ever did when I was a kid, when all I could dream of was escaping! Plus ça change, eh?

    Not to rub salt into the proverbial wound, but it started raining here very early this morning and lasted through most of the day, a nice gentle one that should have parked itself over your neck of the woods. I hope you get something soon!

    BTW, in the next couple of weeks when you think of it, email me as to where I should send those seeds I'm collecting for you. So far I have Prairie Mallow and Zebrina Mallow... were you wanting Sea Holly too? If so, those will take a bit longer to harvest as they're still blooming right now. But no rush....

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  25. Gail, so glad you had an enjoyable visit and wonderful weather last weekend. We get these gems of August every so often - I heard on the news recently it has something to do with La Nina. The long-range forecast for here for August is more of the same cool temps, possibly warming up towards the end of the month.

    I really must get up to Millenium Park! After seeing your's and Monica's posts, I see what I've been missing!

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  26. gardengirl,

    It was lovely in Chicago. A great weekend to be in a garden! It's hard to leave them in the growing seasons.

    We are the same way with Nashville must see places; there are many we have never seen. Isn't that the way it is in one's hometown?

    Millennium Park was crowded! But people watching is always a treat. We counted 11 weddings one day...just in the park area. Did they luck out with the weather!

    I enjoyed Monica's post; her photos were great! Some folks have a gift!

    Gail

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  27. IVG,

    I mentioned to my spouse that Spring Fling might be in the Chicago area, so we all might get to the Bean. Wouldn't that be a fun 'L' ride! But it is very expensive to stay in the city, we splurged, even took the cab to Midway.

    Rain, what is that? Does it come out of a rubber hose or sprinkler? We do have a chance of rain later this week...4o%; that doesn't seem like good betting odds.

    Thank you for remembering the seeds I will email you all the info! Still no goldfinch activity on the coneflower! So seeds aren't ready. I will collect the TN variety, but they may be cross pollinated with purpurea! Still they make nice offspring!

    Have an easy week!

    Gail

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  28. eve,

    It is a very expensive town! Used to be you could get a pretty good meal for not so much! But times have changed...everywhere.

    The cabs are like some animal on the hunt, roving about the neighborhoods in search of prey. Seriously, they are always on the move...and all you need do is stand on the curb and raise your arm and one stops! The gas used from driving around adds to their costs!

    But, it was a fun weekend and the weather cooperated. Thanks for the photo compliment!

    So, what is your town like? Not having any small town experience, I am very interested to know what it was like growing up there.

    gail

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  29. Yea, getting rain today! 3/4 inch so far and more falling...

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  30. skeeter, Yippee! You guys need it...I was looking at the drought map of the SE and you need it more than we do here in Nashville!

    Gail

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  31. I've never been to Chicago. It looks more beautiful than I imagined it to be? Thanks for the tour around and how lucky were you with the weather??!! That's just icing on the cake isn't it?

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  32. Kathleen,

    It is a very nice Big City but not NYC big! We enjoyed ourselves very much...glad you liked the tour!

    gail

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  33. My husband always quotes that line from the Blues Brothers LOL It looks like a really fun place to visit -- thanks for the tour!

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  34. Mary,

    Both your blog sites are fabulous....really and you are so right there are indeed very kind strangers blogging!
    Good luck with the voting and the photo contest!~

    Does your guy quote other movies? I wish I had that kind of memory...to quote movies, poems or characters in novels!

    Gail

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  35. Beautiful shots, Gail. Haven't been back to Chicago since I moved in 2000 but your pictures make me long to go back for a stroll on the lake.

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  36. bonnie,

    Will you attend Fling if it's in Chicago? It's such a fun town, expensive but fun and I hear the Botanical Garden is wonderful? How are you doing? I am so sorry about your garden and the drought!

    Gail

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  37. Gail, I've never been to Chicago and have only heard great things about the big city for a tourist. You've given a good rundown to intice one to visit. You took some great photos too.
    Meems@Hoe&Shovel

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  38. meems, Thank you...it was fun to run around with a camera. I do hope you get to visit sometime...a very different climate then yours! The first time we visited it was about 20 degrees and snowing! We still walked all over the place! The cold is wet and icy! Not Tampa weather at all!

    Gail

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  39. Very Awesome Vacation! I like the shiney bean and all it's smudge marks. No--I like the reflections. I like sidewalk venders selling hot dogs and other goodies.

    I was there once in winter and they wouldn't let us walk close to the buildings for fear falling ice would cause us some brain injury. So I guess summer was a good pick of the year.

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  40. anna,

    We are so lucky we haven't that kind of extreme weather to worry about! We visited Montreal and there were signs next to some very steep roofs that said watch for falling ice...The bean is very cool with reflections and smudges! You get a first prize ribbon for noticing them!

    Gail

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  41. Hey, is the Chicago thing for sure, then? that would be SO much fun!

    I love your pics, particularly of the bean and the metal sculpture near the Lurie Garden. (And of course, I adore that garden itself!)

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  42. BSG,
    I heard Mr McGregor's Daughter refer to it in her Bloom Day Post....she has the details. I will be there I loved Spring Fling in Austin and met some great folks, saw wonderful gardens and thoroughly enjoyed Austin!

    It is a great park!

    Gail

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  43. You had a great time! I've not been downtown Chicago for a long time.(Well, we had a quick trip down to hit Navy Pier, the boat to the aquarium area, etc. last summer... hardly counts.) Did you contact MMD? :-)

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  44. shady,

    We talked about it before I left but my son and his girlfriend were there and all my free time was with them! I would have loved to go visit her garden and have lots of conversation...that's hard to do with 3 non gardeners in tow!

    How far are you from Chicago?

    Gail

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  45. I haven't been to Chicago for many, many years. Lived 30 miles north of it for two years (1964 - '65) so I have not seen all those new buildings and pieces of art. Thank you for showing me the update.

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Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.


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