Jodi at Bloomingwriter is sponsoring the Garden Bloggers' Geography Project. Here's my contribution :
Chicago's motto is Urbs in Horto or City in a Garden. The " City of Big Shoulders" as native poet Carl Sandburg called it has also been described as " A blue collar city of asphalt, glass and concrete canyons. "
Currently we are been dubbed " America's green thumb", a description which I like much better and as a gardener and garden blogger I will introduce my sweet home Chicago from that perspective.
How did we grow from an urban concrete jungle to America's green thumb?" We can thank our tree-hugging Mayor Daley who was born on Arbor Day. He's planted 500,000 trees, miles of flowers and installed a green roof on city hall, the first mayor in America to do so.
He has transformed our city into one of the greenest in America and we are now the largest user of green energy in the country. We've received awards for our environmental agenda and have one of the world's only platinum rated for green design buildings.
With grants and encouragement from city hall, homeowners have installed more than 214,000 square feet of green roofs. To encourage consumption of locally grown organic produce, the Green City Market showcases small family farms that supply chefs, restaurants and the public .
Our latest public garden, the Lurie, is a part of the new Millenium Park, an award-winning center for art, music , architecture and landscape design ( pictured below ). This peaceful oasis in the middle of a large city contains over 240 perennials . The designers must have been gardeners as well and gave much thought in planting a garden that would evolve over time. They could have planted an "instant " glamor garden but they chose to allow it to develop over a period of 15 years. This is a great gift to our future generations .
Chicago is home to Garfield Park Conservatory, one of the largest , oldest and most stunning in the world. Designed by renown landscape architect Jens Jensen, it it celebrating it's one hundred year anniversary this year. Often referred to as " landscape art under glass ", it sits on 4.5 acres and grows thousands of plants for displaying in Chicago's 7300 acres of parks and displays.
The Morton Arboretum in the Chicago suburb of Lisle is internationally recognized. Situated on 1700 acres it is home to 4,000 kinds of trees, shrubs and other plants.
Chicago Botanical garden in suburban Glencoe has 26 spectacular gardens on 385 acres. In addition it's educational and research facilities are outstanding.
That's the summary of our public gardens but since Chicago is a city of neighborhoods you will find enthusiastic and avid gardeners who've organized Garden walks to show off their creations. Best garden awards from the city and our leading newspaper, the Chicago Tribune, bring out many gardeners vying for the prize.
I can brag about a lot of other interesting Chicago things such as our world famous deep dish pizza, hot dogs, Symphony orchestra, Joffrey Ballet , Art Institute, tall buildings, sports teams with championships in all 4 major categories, beautiful Lake Michigan, etc. , but I'd much rather invite you to visit us in 2016 for the Olympics. Cocky? You bet. I'm from Chicago.