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cover story: Chicago ~ the garden city
a photo-essay by diannek

Springtime! Just saying the word makes me feel good. It's my favorite season. Maybe it's everybody's favorite time of the year. The birds are chirping and the buds are opening, the flowers bloom again and the last signs of winter disappear.

Beautiful Michigan Ave!

... in the spring

Same place!






Chicago in the winter

Both of these photos were taken from the center of Michigan Ave, same location.

Here are some of my very favorite photos of Chicago.  I was there in the winter and then again in the summer.  The difference is amazing, not only the weather, which was lovely in June, but the flowers.  Chicago is a city of wonders and for me, the flowers play a very big part of it.
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This is a small garden beside the Raphael Hotel on East Delaware Place, just a few short blocks off Michigan Avenue. It is January.  The

snow covers the ground and the perennials appear as skeletons protruding from the rocks and frozen dirt. Then comes spring.  The over-turned barrel is planted with rose-colored impatiens, which spill from the barrel like wine. 

This garden is reminiscent a Japanese tea garden, combining the basic elements found in nature: water, represented by the flowers, stones, to represent the mountains, and green shrubs to represent life itself.

As we all know, winter in Chicago can be brutal, but springtime in Chicago may be its best season. I marveled at the Chicago gardens. Even in the heart of downtown Chicago, gardeners found ways to produce that springtime message.
chicago1.jpg (23228 bytes) Here's a stairway to a nice old brownstone building on Dearborn Street. Pink and purple Petunias line the steps. 
Dearborn Street is just a few short blocks from Michigan Avenue and Chicago's famous Miracle Mile. The homes are stately and old, like the brownstones of New York. It seems like downtown Chicago is nearly all pavement. Pedestrians rarely see grass until you wander into a city park.  Look at the ways gardeners have improvised to create springtime beauty in Chicago.
A beautiful wrought-iron fence along State Street contains a massed planting of impatiens! Easy to grow, they provide a showy and colorful spectacle all summer long. chicago3.jpg (36307 bytes).

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Planter boxes outside the John Hancock building.   Simply breath-taking!

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