I had Chicago all wrong!
Chicago IS a model for sidewalk garden urban chic and a shining example of urban renewal.
I was expecting downtown Chicago to be another congested, concrete jungle, as is the case with many high profile cities.
As a Los Angeles native, born and raised downtown, I had low expectations for Chicago based on my experience here.
The Chicago streetscapes along Michigan Avenue in Chicago's famed "Magnificent Mile" area are jaw-dropping beautiful!
Apparently, the taxes there are outrageous, but many of the merchants contribute and fund these gardens that beautify storefronts, restaurants, hotels and offices.
Great example of someone else's sacrifice for my enjoyment!
Entrance to the Independent Garden Center trade show
But, I have to admit, I was a little distracted.
To my surprise, there was a proliferation of neat and tidy curbside gardens everywhere, even in the parking lots!
I was so busy scoping out the gardens, I didn't pay attention to the "A-List" fashion stores along the boulevard.
There's nothing like free entertainment and this garden lover enjoyed it in spades!
Check out these fashionably coordinated gardens and garden art installations along Michigan Avenue and some lesser traveled side street gardens.
I wish my Los Angeles urban areas looked like this:
Chicago's Magnificant Mile Gardens
"Umbrella garden" dress with tropical coleus and impatiens plants.
Recycled bottle cap dress and pink begonias
Coca cola dress in lush garden
Fake flowers never looked so fashionable!
Pristine lawn and flower beds with red impatiens and sweet potato vine to enjoy from behind an iron fence.
Re-purposed shower curtain dress on a mannequin used as focal point in this garden.
Recycled table cloth dress on mannequin in small garden surrounded by box hedge and filled with white impatiens.
For more information on this garden walk, check out: www.TheMagnificantMile.com
Just another "median strip garden" filled with red fountain grass, purple salvia, red begonias and yellow marigolds in Chicago.
Downtown Chicago is a premiere garden destination!
This curbside dining oasis was shared by at least four different restaurants.
The small gesture of placing dining tables behind simple, white picket fence panels transfomed a humble sidewalk into a dining destination!
Add container gardens and you have "Eden-esque" dining.
I didn't even notice the cars!
This is my kind of bus stop. I wouldn't mind waiting here for an hour!
The sound of water trickling from this stone fountain creates enough white noise to distract and muffle the sound of traffic for the weary traveler.
I was so absorbed by it, I missed the bus!
Cordyline, coleus, sweet potato, impatiens, red begonia….a little color in downtown Chicago
This is the best dressed fire hydrant I've ever seen!
Even the dogs show respect for it!
It's cool how the red fire hydrant takes on a sculptural role in this small curbside garden.
This red monochromatic planting scheme was hanging on a brick wall in front of a hotel.
Downtown Chicagoan's tuck their plants everywhere.
Garden enthusiasts will be thrilled by the "free garden tours" in downtown Chicago.
Make a point to visit to the Chicago Botanical Gardens while you are there.
Don't miss it!