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Thursday, May 22, 2008

more color inspiration…

Barbara Kay writes, talking about the sweater color in the last post: “…Actually, I was thinking “it’s Crepe Myrtle pink”. Crepe Myrtles do come in a lovely cotton-candy pink, and in white. However, the most planted here (perhaps the hardiest?) is the color of your sweater. (Here is south Louisiana).”

This comment made me so sentimental! When I first started gardening, years ago (after seeing one in LA), I fell in love with the Crepe Myrtle and tried to plant one in my front yard. Our *Zone* (5b) is just a little too cold (erm, it’s 43° right now in the morning) and it was not to be! Back then, I didn’t know anything about matching plants to the weather conditions of an area, so I was mystified and so disappointed when my little tree didn’t come back in the Spring…

Chicago loves its plants! I’m often at City Hall and there are now huge planters, curbside and in the large windows, full of the most fabulous seasonal flowers and more!

Up top you see that wonderful shade of Fuschia, this time in a Buttercup! Or, for you horticulturalists out there, Ranunculus Fuschia (factoids on Ranucnculus Bulbs). I came face to face with this beauty while parking my car and couldn’t resist a shot with ye olde camera. Here’s two of my color obsessions in the wild, together and quite stunning, but WAIT.

Isn’t that lovely green in the background Lettuce?

Indeed, lettuce (and kelp kale) are favorite cool-weather ornamentals here in the Big Windy. I used to throw seed out as soon as you could poke the ground at my old place and it makes a wonderful, frothy companion to the Bulbs of Spring and other cool variety flowers.

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Here at the Hall, you see pansies, johnny-jump-ups, snap dragons (another favorite of moi), tulips, and the whimsical lettuce.

Our Chicago Park District Flower people are some of the finest in the world! Many of the things planted in the various municipal boxes, planters, hangers and parks are started from seed and lovingly tended at the Lincoln or Garfield Park hothouses, then planted out at several times during the year. This way, we Up Norths get to enjoy the lush beauty of the southern regions’ more bountiful varieties.

Sometimes, they get a little too envious of the tropics—a few years ago, at Roosevelt and Michigan, there was a huge plant-out of Palm Trees, Banana Plants, and other imported deep south region trees and flowers. The mighty Citizens of Chicago rejected it out of hand, dubbing the area “Gilligan’s Island” and insisted that the City money would’ve been better spent on something we were used to looking at! Looking back, that planting did appear woe-begone and lonely in front of all the Boul Mich skyscrapers and the experiment was never, ever repeated!

That event, however, hasn’t prevented the Park folk from sticking Bamboo every/anywhere they can fit it in :) The appeal is lost on me most of the time…

But just look at this lovely bunch the City fashioned for us:

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