The Lurie Garden and Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Chicago's Millennium Park
After reading about this for several years, I was looking forward to seeing it in person and, even though we were in Chicago in the middle of a record heat wave, the prairie planting was thriving and was even more impressive than I expected.
Designed to pay homage to the city's motto "Urbs in Horto" (City in a Garden), the Lurie Garden with its graceful wooden footbridge and groves of trees, was the result of an international design competition, and has become a popular resting and meeting place.
"Lurie Garden is a 2.5-acre (10,000 m2) garden located at the southern end of Millennium Park in the Loop area of Chicago in Cook County, Illinois, United States. Designed by Kathryn Gustafson, Piet Oudolf, and Robert Israel, it opened on July 16, 2004. The garden is a combination of perennials, bulbs, grasses, shrubs and trees. It is the featured nature component of the world's largest green roof. The garden cost $13.2 million and has a $10 million endowment for maintenance and upkeep. It was named after Ann Lurie, who donated the $10 million endowment. For visitors, the garden features guided walks, lectures, interactive demonstrations, family festivals and picnics.
The Lurie garden constantly depicts the dynamics of nature, but it is most colorful from June through the autumn. It is not a botanical garden with a scientific purpose and is instead a public garden. Thus, it does not use a plant labeling system. The plant life of the garden consists entirely of perennials. It does not now nor does it intend to incorporate annuals, which rarely survive Chicago winters. Approximately 60% of the plant life in the light and dark plates are plants that are native to Illinois.
The "shoulder" hedge, which serves as the northern edge of the garden, also fills the space next to the void of the great lawn of the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. These hedges use a metal armature, to prefigure the mature hedge. The shoulder hedge is an evolving hedge screen of deciduous Fagus (beech) and Carpinus (hornbeam) and evergreen Thuja (arborvitae, also known as redcedars) that will eventually (over the course of approximately ten years) branch horizontally to fill the permanent armature frame and create a solid hedge.
The garden was one of the gardens depticted in the 2006 In Search of Paradise: Great Gardens of the World exhibition that was shown from May 12–October 22, 2006 in the Boeing Galleries and that was later shown in the Chicago Botanic Garden. The Chicago Botanic Garden developed the exhibition that included 65 photomurals of gardens from 21 countries using photographs that were less than five years old"