What's New at the Garden

Early Closing Times for Lurie Garden During July Events

Lurie Garden will be closed early at 8 pm during the following downtown events. The early closures are necessary to ensure the safety of both event visitors and the garden's plantings. Millennium Park and Lurie Garden open daily at 6 am. Direct questions to: info@luriegarden.org.

July 4-5 for the Grateful Dead concerts

July 8-12 for Taste of Chicago

July 31-August 2 for Lollapalooza

The Strangest Flower in the Garden

 

The most common visitor question in the garden right now is "What's that blue plant over there?" On this beautiful first day of the fall equinox, bottle gentian (Gentiana andrewsii), is bringing vibrant color to the autumn garden. This oddly shaped flower never opens, hence its moniker. This native flower co-evolved with pollinators that have wings that beat quickly enough to create vibration.

What's Buzzing You?

Lately out in the Lurie Garden you may have noticed some insects of unusual size. Unlike the fire swamp in The Princess Bride, we don’t have a problem with giant rodents. We do at this time of year have a noticeable population of native, solitary wasp species that sometimes startle visitors. Fortunately, the three most commonly found in the garden in August don’t sting humans and are actually beneficial to the garden.

The great black wasp (Sphex pensylvanicus) is a beautiful, iridescent, midnight-blue wasp that is found on rattlesnake master (Eryngium yuccifolium), sea lavender (Limonium latifolium), and blunt mountain mint (Pycnanthemum muticum).  This solitary wasp is an important pollinator.

Clover Love!

The Lurie Garden has a small section of lawn along the south end of the Boardwalk feature in the garden. This is a great place for visitors to relax on a blanket in either sun or shade. We also use this area for family activities such as storytelling and our toddler programs. We keep our garden chemical free, including our lawn, so the clover you may see blooming there is a happy occurrence. We do hand weed the dandelions to prevent the seed from blowing in the garden beds, but white clover (Trifolium repens) does not cause a maintenance issue in the garden. In fact, it is a welcome sight to humans, bees, and bunnies.

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