Humanity’s first home was a garden. And while biblical Eden is no longer available to stroll through, alas, the Chicago Botanic Garden is very much with us.
I’ve visited hundreds of times — the place kept my wife and me sane during COVID. While encouraging people to visit isn’t in our selfish interest — crowds — going at least once certainly is in yours.
Half the size of New York’s Central Park — 385 acres — the Chicago Botanic Garden isn’t actually in Chicago, but Glencoe, immediately east of the Edens Expressway between Lake Cook and Dundee Roads.
|Chicago Daily News|
Jan. 27, 1965.
There are vegetable gardens and groves of birches, water lilies and desert cacti. I’ve seen deer, otters and, on one memorable occasion, a hooded merganser duck. One of the joys is shifting in scale and perspective, lifting your gaze from close-up examination of a gorgeous lily to peer across the lagoon at a bridge in the distance, flanked by weeping willows.
The place is so big, we recently spent an hour there walking and never went inside, merely circled the perimeter.
One of the more astounding aspects of the Botanic Garden is, no matter how often times we visit, and we often go three times a week, it’s always fresh, new, interesting, because of the changing light at different times of day, the seasons of the year, plants waxing and waning, annual shows — orchids, jack-o-lanterns, a light show at Christmas. My wife and I visit in February when it’s 20 degrees, as the garden is beautiful in snow.
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