Millennium Park & Lurie Garden

We had a partial grounds staff outing to Chicago today to get tours of Lurie Garden in Millennium Park and the park itself.  Unfortunately, we left Terry, Cindy and Alex behind but I’m sure they took care of everything and likely saw some rain too which caught up to us on the way home.  Big John, Ibhar, Janice, Larry H., Bobby K. and I headed to Chicago at 6:30 am and hit the start of rush hour but ended up getting to the park early enough to take a stroll.  We had a great tour of the fantastic, 2.5 acre Lurie Garden (almost 14 years old!) by their Director and Head Horticulturist, Laura Ekasetya.  She shared a lot of the history of the garden, how it is maintained and her passion for not only plants but insects was readily apparent.  We also had a “behind the scenes” tour of their maintenance area.  Dr. Scott Stewart, Executive Director of the Millennium Park Foundation, then gave us a tour of the rest of the park to include the Cloud Gate (the “bean”), the various water features, future improvements, etc.  We really enjoyed hearing about this wonderful urban park which is the third most visited destination in the world.  We also ran in to Austin Eischeid, an acquaintance of mine, who is currently working on some major re-design of plantings in many locations throughout the park.  We had great tours, visits and all on a sunny day.  Lunch was nice too but the traffic back home (even leaving at 2 pm) was not much fun.  Oh well.  Another day well spent!

This outdoor pavilion can seat up to 15,000!  The Grant Park Symphony was practicing this morning which sounded awesome!

Scott to the left and Austin to the right