The Chicago Flower & Garden Show is abloom with its usual competitions, vendors and seminars. But the best of the bunch are the 25 life-sized demo gardens, sponsored by cultural institutions. Here's a preview of a few.
Created by Shedd Aquarium
“We’re all about water at the Shedd. So we’re showing people how they can build rain gardens with native plants and zeroscape plants, which don’t use a lot of water. People think native plants are messy looking—but we’re displaying how native plants can be used in a formal way, so you can be happy—with less expense, less resources and less maintenance.” —Christine Nye, horticultural manager at Shedd Aquarium
Science In Bloom
Created by Museum of Science and Industry
“We were originally inspired by a pop-up book. We have a paper cut out of the museum in the middle, and in four quadrants we highlighted iconic exhibits: the ‘U-505,’ ‘Pioneer Zephyr,’ ‘Baby Chicks,’ ‘Smart Home.’ We have three four-foot baby chicks emerging from eggs made out of plant material, and a U-505 submarine on a sea of blue plants. After the show, we’ll reuse the plants at the museum’s ‘Smart Home’ exhibit.” —Anne Rashford, Museum of Science and Industry’s director of temporary exhibits and events
Hope for Healing the Planet
Created by Chicago Botanic Garden
“We wanted to showcase an environmentally friendly garden that people can make at home. We emphasize choosing locally grown plants—we use a palette that people can find at Home Depot. Also, a lot of the environmentally friendly products on the market are clunky and ugly, and we’re showing good-looking options. It’s a very doable garden.” —Carrie Woleben-Meade, the garden’s landscape architect and the design director at Mariani Landscape.
Want to show us how your garden grows? E-mail photos of your green space to firstname.lastname@example.org. See more pictures from the show in the gallery below.
HEAD OUT! Chicago Flower & Garden Show, Navy Pier, 600 E Grand Ave at Streeter Dr (773-435-1250, chicagoflower.com). Sat 7, Mon 9–Mar 14, 10am–8pm; Sun 8, Sun 15, 10am–6pm. $12, weekends $14, kids $5.