Art Institute Garden in Chicago

Heading back to the hotel after spinning under the Bean, Diana and I couldn’t resist a quick peek at the Art Institute‘s north garden (we missed the south garden). Here are just a few images from this small but lovely public garden.

Pictured above is prairie smoke (Geum triflorum ), a plant I absolutely fell in love with while in Chicago.

The other iconic Spring Fling plant for me was the allium. They were everywhere, and this long row of tall whites and shorter purples was stunning in its simplicity.

I love the spherical geometry of their flowers, which look like exploding fireworks. Ka-pow!

The Art Institute lion roars his approval.

All material © 2006-2009 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

19 Responses

  1. Diana Kirby says:

    That sweet little garden was one of my favorites — probably because it was full of irises and alliums!

  2. Darla says:

    Stunning flowers here. I tried Alliums once to not avail. Maybe I’ll try again.

  3. There was another garden on the other side of the museum, opposite side of the millennium garden, that I even liked more. Hard not to love all the allium. Iconic for Spring Fling, yes. We were there for their peak. Love that second shot.

  4. Randy says:

    Okay, that allium is just a wonderful combination. Jamie and I have GOT to put in some new beds. We are simply out of space.

  5. Gail says:

    A little treasure of a garden. The alliums and black iris were wonderful~~gail

  6. Pam, all of your pictures are just beautiful! And don’t you just love prairie smoke? It’s one of our coolest natives!

  7. Frances says:

    Hi Pam, I missed those gardens, thanks for showing them. The taller white allium makes a fine companion for the purple, one I already have. I smell another bulb order in the works. Fantastic shot of them, too. I did enjoy Randy’s butterflies too, thanks for the tip. :-)

  8. Lola says:


  9. They are neat little gardens at the Art Institute. Many years ago (more than I care to admit), I used to have lunch there in the summer when I worked in the Loop. They were a quiet & cool oasis amidst the concrete & steel of the city. That was before the Lurie Garden.

  10. chrisf says:

    Hey if Society Garlic and other onions will grow in Texas, why won’t the giant Allium? I’ve asked people
    for years and no one seems to be able to tell me.

  11. janet says:

    love the double stacked Alliums!

  12. Jenny B says:

    It has been years since I have been to the Art Institute. The garden looks wonderful–and I agree, the Prairie Smoke is beautiful.

  13. linda says:

    I love that garden – the aliums and black iris were gorgeous. It was so shady and peaceful there when Monica, Mr.Brown Thumb and I stopped by there for awhile Sunday afternoon after getting back from the conservatory. Glad you got to see it too Pam!

  14. That place is amazing….up there in July of last year….lucky you!!!

  15. That garden was delightful and you got the perfect shot of those alliums. They were just incredible! And, whenever I’ve been in there, it’s always pretty quiet — a nice oasis.

  16. Chookie says:

    Ooh, I love Prairie Smoke too! Very jealous of all the Chicago Spring Flingers, too.

  17. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Whoo hoo, I also approve. I missed this garden darn it. I guess this means I must go back to Chicago and finish seeing the gardens I missed here and the CBG. I love those alliums too. I can’t get them to last more than one season so I don’t try to grow them any longer. They are so striking in a large clump like this.

  18. Pam you really have the gifted eye for taking pictures. I already wish I had gone back to the Lurie for another visit, now I hear the Art Institute had two gardens. Drat!

  19. juliette says:

    Hello, I see your beautiful photograph of prarie smoke. What would it take to gain you permission to use your photo as a reference for a painting? Please do let me know. Thankyou, Juliette