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Chicago Botanic Garden: Of waterfall and waterfowl

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Courtesy of Craig Summers Black.

(Read caption) Amber waves of miscanthus sway in the summer breeze.

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I watched the last of summer slip serenely into the recent past while transplanted and transfixed at the Chicago Botanic Garden.

As in my Iowa garden, this Illinois landscape was quiet in its presentation at this time of the year, so late in the growing season.

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The last lotus of summer, the flowering heads of ornamental grasses, the still-ripening fruit, expanses of wildflowers, the elegance of visiting waterfowl – these were the highlights of late-season Illinois. And, again, the structural power of hardscaping – especially of the Chicago Botanic Garden's dramatic water features – hammered the lesson home: Work on your bones.

Chicago’s climate is milder than my own (not as hot in summer, not as cold in winter), so some dramatic perennials were still in flower.

My eye was especially entertained by a new-to-me mum – Megumi. This diminutive cascading Japanese chrysanthemum is a yellow anemone style, vibrantly handsome. Alas, it is a florist type and is in no way winter-hardy hereabouts. Then again, very few mums are. Hard to believe, I know.

I also got a sneak peek at the new Plant Conservation Science Center, which opens Sept. 23. Exceedingly cool. Check out my earlier blog post on the opening of the center.

What else I’m into this week: Eating antique apples and Asian pears from my orchard.

Editor’s note: Look for more blog posts by The Transplanted Gardener, Craig Summers Black, at our blog archive. For more Monitor gardening, see our main gardening page and our RSS feed.

You may also want to visit Gardening With the Monitor on Flickr. Take part in the discussions and get answers to your gardening questions. If you join the group (it’s free), you can upload your garden photos and enter our next contest. We’ll be looking for photographs of fruits. So find your best shots of summer’s blueberries, peaches, plums, etc., and get out your camera to take some stunning shots of early fall apples. Post them before Sept. 30, 2009, and you could be the next winner.