There’s nothing quite like a fresh start to the new year. For gardeners, this is a great time to set goals and to think through plans for the year. We asked our dedicated team of horticulturists at the Chicago Botanic Garden to share their goals and advice for gardeners everywhere. Chester Jankowski, Jr., senior horticulturist
Plants and Gardening
If you’ve visited Lightscape, you probably noticed some striking transformations at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Following the illuminated trail, perhaps you stood to admire the distant and beautiful Elizabeth Hubert Malott Japanese Garden. You likely saw a lit-up island floating in the lake, and if you looked closely, you might have noticed that there’s actually no way to get to that island. Did you wonder why that is?
Ever seen a plant lure and “swallow” an insect? Now’s your chance to see carnivorous plants in action as part of the fun of Bees & Beyond, which features pollinator-themed gardens, cool topiaries, and more through September at the Chicago Botanic Garden.
Why Pumpkins Are Fruits and Other Cool Botany
Think you know what a fruit is? Most people think of fruit as being sweet or tart, juicy or crunchy, or peel-able like a banana—but none of that matters, botanically speaking (and that’s what we speak here at the Chicago Botanic Garden). The way botanists see it, fruits are made by flowering plants and contain seeds. So pumpkins are fruits. What about tomatoes? Yep.
We have a problem. My cat is eating my plant.
Despite the fact that my prayer plant has inhabited my apartment for over a year as part of my Plant Parenthood journey at the Chicago Botanic Garden, my cat’s small, albeit mischievous brain has only just now discovered that she can, in fact, eat it. The leaves turned all ratty and shriveled, and now the plant is dead.
Want to grow your own orchids? We’ll help you choose which ones are right for you. To get started, drop by the Orchid Show and note the ones that catch your eye. Then come to the Post-Orchid Show Plant Sale, where you can buy orchids at bargain prices. Meanwhile, Assistant Horticulturist Chester Jankowski provided these basics on four kinds of orchids.
You may have noticed that the Garden closed for two consecutive days on January 29 and 30, due to the recent polar vortex for the safety of our staff and visitors. But the extreme subzero temperatures weren’t just hard on humans, they were also hard on some plants. Tom Tiddens, Supervisor of Plant Health Care, said it could have been worse if we hadn’t had an insulating blanket of snow on the ground.
There comes a time in every plant parent’s life when you begin to think about expanding your family. Are you ready for more plant children? Should you reassemble the crib? How will your houseplants feel about having siblings… er, clones?Aside from the internal struggles, enlarging your plant collection by propagation is a relatively easy—and inexpensive—undertaking. It also makes a thoughtful gift over the holidays or as a homegrown housewarming present.
Looking for a feel-good, beautiful, reasonably priced gift? Plants are all that and even on trend—see #plantsmakepeoplehappy; it's an Instagram thing. Here's a quick guide on which plants to buy—as a gift or for yourself. Make sure to get them to their destination safely by wrapping them head to toe at the store and getting them back indoors as soon as you can.