Sunday, January 20, 2008

Chicago gardens

From Carol Eichler:

Over an extended October week-end to visit family in the Midwest, I strategically squeezed in a free day to allow myself a visit to the Chicago Botanic Garden, located in Glencoe, approximate 20 miles north of downtown Chicago. (There is also train access most of the year) It’s a wonderful place that I soon discovered can easily require more than one day to fully explore.

At the November meeting, I presented a few slides of the Malott Japanese Garden, Sansho-En as well as two personal favorites – the Waterfall Garden and the Sensory Garden.

Sansho-En translated means Garden of the Three Islands. Designed as a "stroll garden" with curving paths, it discloses its plant treasures gradually, never at once. Pines are pruned to open up distant landscapes, framing perfect views of lakes, grassy hills, woods and gardens beyond. Nature imitates nature as shapes and forms repeat themselves.

The 385-acre Chicago Botanic Garden features 23 display gardens and 3 native habitats, uniquely situated on nine islands surrounded by lakes. The overall design is stunning. If you’re planning a trip to Chicago, this place is a must see at any time of year.
I also discovered there are other Japanese garden “in the vicinity.”

Osaka Garden is located on Wooded Island (Paul H. Douglas
Nature Sanctuary) in Jackson Park, near the Museum of Science and Industry. It is constructed for the 1893 World’s Fair.

A bit farther afield but ever so exquisite are the Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford, Illinois (about 85 miles north and west of downtown Chicago). There are two very distinct gardens on the 12 acre site – one a formal garden in the style of the Kamakura period, 1185 to 1333 A.D. The second, the Garden of Reflection, is a contemporary international garden with a strong Japanese influence. The Gardens were a gift of Linda and John Anderson in 1988 and are currently open to the public from May 1st through October 31st.

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