In commemorating Juneteenth this year, we invited Chicago writer Tequia Burt to write about the importance of African American heirloom seeds. Every year in my garden, I grow at least one African American heirloom crop, partly to commemorate Juneteenth.
Plants and Gardening
Oh, we love Netflix’s blockbuster series, the steamy period romance Bridgerton. But we’ve barely noticed all the sex and scandals in the show’s depiction of early nineteenth-century London high society. Nope, we’re too busy looking at the wisteria.
It might be the coconut scent of Nemesia ‘Sunsatia Lemon’ that turns your head. Or the hot magenta blooms of Linaria ‘Enchantment’, which looks like a mini-snapdragon. Whatever it takes to get you to stop and feel spring in the Buehler Enabling Garden.
On the virtually treeless plains of Nebraska almost 150 years, ago a day was set aside to celebrate and appreciate trees—Arbor Day. This year we have selected the genus Quercus, the oaks, as an exemplar of why trees are important to us and our environment. Quercus rubra standing tall at the Garden
When looking at different bonsai trees, you might notice the stylized beauty of their shapes and textures. A lot of thought and work are put into raising bonsai trees and pruning them just so, but for many bonsai artists, their containers are just as important as the plant itself. “The pot and the soil have a relationship just as much as the tree and the pot have a relationship. The tree-to-pot relationship is aesthetic and functional too,” said Chris Baker, curator of bonsai at the Chicago Botanic Garden.
Even when the Chicago Botanic Garden was buried in snow, our horticulturists would look for signs of spring and trade tips—did you see that winter aconite blooming underneath the crabapples? Spirits are high as early blooms emerge, well ahead of the first day of spring on March 20.
Even when snow is falling and temperatures plummet, I’m working on my backyard vegetable garden. I might not be harvesting tomatoes and zucchini yet, but I am still strategizing and prioritizing so I can squeeze the most out of the upcoming growing season.
My top pick for cool new plant species? The media has called it grotesque and compared to an eyeless worm. And our friends at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in London described it as “the ugliest orchid in the world.”
In other seasons, people tend to breeze right by conifers in favor of, say, roses that scent summer evenings or crabapple trees that flower in the spring. But in winter—especially after a dusting of snow—pines and other conifers are the plants that shine.