Chicago Botanic Garden

What's in Bloom

What's in Bloom at the Chicago Botanic Garden

Main Gardens — January 1, 2015


Dwarf conifer garden
in snow




Peeling birches


Weeping Nootka false-
cypress (Chamaecyparis

Aquatic Garden: Waterlilies are hiding under the ice.

Bulb Garden: The Bulb Garden is in its period of winter rest in preparation for the colorful show to come next spring and summer. Now other plants take center stage including the picturesque shapes of the many Hook's junipers (Juniperus chinensis 'Hooks'). Other notable conifers include the graceful pendant weeping Norway spruce (Picea abies 'Pendula') and the weeping Canada hemlock (Tsuga canadensis 'Pendula'). Color is present in the red twigs of the IVORY HALO® Tatarian dogwood (Cornus alba 'Bailhalo') and the deep green mound of the intermediate yew (Taxus x media 'Dark Green Spreader'). A lone abandoned nest waits among the fuzzy buds already present on the Merrill magnolia (Magnolia x loebneri 'Merrill').

Circle Garden: The annual displays have been removed and flower bulbs are planted for next spring.

Dwarf Conifer Garden: This garden offers many subtle and surprising discoveries. There is so much that is vibrant green in an otherwise barren landscape. Look for conifers in many varieties and shapes in shades of green, yellow, blue and purple, such as: Hairy white fir (Abies concolor 'Candicans') – bluest, weeping Nootka false-cypress (Chamaecyparis nootkatensis 'Pendula') –weepiest; Golden Mop Sawara cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Golden Mop') – yellow foliage, Jeffrey pine (Pinus jeffreyi) – longest needles; Oriental spruce (Picea orientalis 'Aureospicata') – shortest needles; fastigiate Douglasfir (Pseudotsuga menziesii 'Fastigiata') – skinniest.

Enabling Garden: Winter interest: Three-flowered maple (Acer trifolium) with peeling bark that makes it closely resemble a birch; Whitespire birch (Betula populifolia 'Whitespire'), delicately branched with peeling bark, Northern catalpa (Catalpa speciosa) with the long, cigar-shaped pods that look like strange Christmas ornaments; Boulevard falsecypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Boulevard') -evergreen, lacebark pine (Pinus bungeana) with patchy ornamental bark, weeping Japanese red pine (Pinus densiflora 'Pendula') -evergreen, Green Bun Bosnian pine (Pinus leucodermis 'Green Bun') -evergreen.

English Oak Meadow: Poppies will be planted this spring.

English Walled Garden: Come to see plants that offer interesting features even in winter. Evergreens: Boxwoods, including Buxus 'Green Mountain', 'Green Velvet', Chicagoland Green™ , 'Wintergreen'), spreading juniper (Juniperus communis 'Repanda'), dwarf Alberta spruce (Picea glauca 'Conica'), Big Deal rhododendron (Rhododendron 'Big Deal'), upright Japanese yew (Taxus cuspidata 'Capitata'), Adams intermediate yew (Taxus x media 'Adams'), Hicks yew (Taxus x media 'Hicksii'), Smokestack intermediate yew (Taxus x media 'Smokestack'), Holmstrup arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis 'Holmstrup'). Colorful fruit: Harvest Red holly (Ilex 'Harvest Red'), Kordesii rose (Rosa 'Champlain'), hybrid musk rose (Rosa 'Darlow's Enigma'). Interesting bark: Tartarian dogwood (Cornus alba 'Argenteo-Marginata'), China Snow® Peking lilix (Syringa pekinensis 'Morton').

The Esplanade: Tulip bulbs have been planted for next spring.

Heritage Garden: For the winter display, a lighted white fir (Abies concolor) is the focal point of the garden, surrounded by Sea Green and Blue Forest junipers. Linnaeus Meadow: Redosier dogwood (Cornus sericea – red stems). Pine Bed: Rainbow's End Alberta spruce (Picea glauca 'Rainbow's End'), blue spruce (P. pungens 'Glauca Procumbens'), prostrate Colorado blue spruce (P. pungens 'Glauca Prostrata'), Gnom Mugho pine (Pinus mugo 'Gnom'), windswept white pine (Pinus strobus 'Windswept'), Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris 'Hillside Creeper'), Fletcher Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii 'Fletcheri').

Lagoon Garden: HARVEST GOLD® Crabapple (Malus 'Hargozam') –yellow fruit.

Lakeside Gardens: Winter Interest: Hess cotoneaster (Cotoneaster 'Hessei'), winterberry (Ilex verticillata 'Red Sprite') – red berries, until the birds eat them; fruit on crabapples (Malus 'Prairifire', Malus floribunda, Malus x zumi 'Calocarpa').

Landscape Gardens: The intertwining branches of the weeping beech (Fagus sylvatica 'Pendula') and the fruit on the crabapples provide winter interest as does the red bark on the Scots pine trees (Pinus sylvestris). Around the ponds and stream, the red stems of the swamp rose (Rosa palustris), the Cardinal Redosier dogwood (Cornus sericea 'Cardinal') are noteworthy as are the stems of the dwarf basket willows (Salix purpurea 'Nana').

McGinley Pavilion: Winter Interest: Whitespire birch (Betula populifolia 'Whitespire') -white bark, Ruby redosier dogwood (Cornus sericea 'Ruby') -red stems, Walter's Siberian crabapple (Malus baccata 'Walter's' -yellow fruit.

Native Plant Garden: Winter Interest: Wild senna (Cassia marilandica) -seedpods, Washington hawthorn, (Crataegus phaenopyrum) – red-orange berries; grasses, many straw-colored such as northern dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis); little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium) - mahogany red; many fuzzy white seeds on other plants.

Rose Garden: Worth noticing are the striking rosehips adorning some of the roses such as the 'Rosa Mundi' and 'Alba Roses'. The remainder of the roses have shed their beauty, ready to sleep for the winter.

Sensory Garden: Winter Interest: Bihou Japanese maple (Acer palmatum 'Bihou) -yellow & coral bark, coral-bark maple (Acer palmatum 'Sango Kaku') -coral bark, wormwood (Artemisia 'Powis Castle') -silver foliage, Red Sprite winterberry (Ilex verticillata 'Red Sprite')—red berries, various crabapples in Meadow area (Malus spp.) -red & gold fruits, SILVER SPRITE™ northern bayberry (Myrica pensylvanica 'Morton') -glossy green leaves, Green Sheen pachysandra (Pachysandra terminalis 'Green Sheen' -glossy green leaves, sweet birch (Betula lenta) -white peeling bark, gray birch (Betula populifolia 'Whitespire') -white peeling bark, Hameln dwarf fountain grass (Pennisetum alopecuroides 'Hameln' -dried seed heads.

Waterfall Garden: Winter Interest: Views: From the top of the waterfall look down on surrounding lakes and gardens. Plants: Evergreens at every level, white bark and drooping branches of European white birch (Betula pendula 'Youngii'), red stems of Tatarian and redosier dogwood (Cornus alba 'Siberian Pearls' and C. sericea var. coloradensis), yellow stems of Bud's Yellow redosier dogwood (Cornus sericea 'Bud's Yellow'), green segmented stems of common horsetail (Equisetum hyemale).

Water Gardens: Grasses and sedges along the shorelines stabilize the shores and provide cover for birds.