We won't go into the difficulty we had finding the parking garage for our hotel, Club Quarters on Adams, but it was enough to make us miss the guided tour of The Lurie Garden with the rest of the garden bloggers. We had our GPSr, which was helpful in getting us downtown from the Chicago Botanic Garden, but with all the tall buildings downtown, it sputtered.
With a little luck, we found it and then got checked into our hotel. We walked the short distance to Millennium Park, where we took the requisite photos of Cloud Gate, a modern sculpture by Anish Kapoor more affectionately known as The Bean. I'd seen it before, but it's an awesome piece of work that always makes me smile.
The Crown Fountain, which is actually two waterfall fountains, is fun too.
A band was playing in the Pritzker Pavilion and if we hadn't had a schedule to keep, I would have liked to have heard more of whoever it was.
The Lurie Garden sits on 5 acres and was commissioned in 2000 and completed in 2004. It was designed by the team of Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Ltd, Piet Oudolf and Robert Israel, with Oudolf responsible for the perennial planting design.
As we walked into the garden, the sea of shades of purples brought out oohs and ahhs and we worked our way around it, taking it all in from many different angles, each of them stunning.
We left by way of the Nichols Bridge to The Art Institute of Chicago, which was celebrating the opening of their new Modern Wing. Grant Wood's American Gothic is housed here, we found out later. No time to do a museum visit, but a quick trip through the gift shop left me wanting an art piece that some way, somehow, someday, I will have.
The Art Institute has lovely gardens of its own, both north and south, and we walked through the north one on the way back to our hotel. Here we saw a truly black iris.
This small garden has within it an Alexander Calder sculpture, entitled Flying Dragon. It sits at the end of a large bed of various grasses that created a sea of softness.
Large alliums were used here, as they were in many of the gardens we saw this weekend, and they lined one side of the grassy area.
A couple of blocks away, near our hotel, is another Alexander Calder sculpture, Flamingo, which was presented to the city in 1974. I was fascinated by the splash of color it made against the formal black and steel of the modern business buildings surrounding it. This sculpture is a classic example of constructivism, which is a sculpture consisting of small pieces that are joined together.
Chicago was celebrating "Free Hug Friday"! :-)
Next: Friday night's Spring Fling reception!