About this time of year, when most gardeners are desperately seeking signs of life, the idea of flowers and lush greens is swoon-worthy. How about ushering in spring by tiptoeing through more than 1, 000 tulips — well, at least strolling around hundreds of them in a rainbow of hues? Or breathing in the intoxicating fragrance of more than a dozen varieties of hyacinths?
This year’s Chicago Flower & Garden Show, which kicks off March 14 at Navy Pier, offers this and much more, blooming with ideas for planting, cultivating and revamping outdoor spaces. The theme for this year’s show, which will run through March 22, will repeat last year’s: “Do Green. Do Good.”
“It sounds oversimplified, ” says Tony Abruscato, the show’s director. “But it has a lot of connotations — greening your yard for the environment. Recycling and repurposing — using found objects from antique shops or thrift stores for containers, everything from purses and shoes to old tires and a shipping pallet upcycled into a vertical plant wall.”
The idea of repurposing will be put to work for the show’s interactive butterfly garden, Santuario de la Monarca, designed by Lemont-based Premier landscaping for the nonprofit organization El Valor, which provides services to children, people with disabilities and their families. After the show, the structure will be removed and replanted at one of El Valor’s facilities, continuing to call attention to the plight of the monarch butterfly, whose population continues to decline for myriad reasons, including loss of habitat.
Major-themed gardens will include two dedicated to roses and showcasing more than 1, 000 plants — one focused on miniatures and minifloras (a cross between miniature roses and standard rose shrubs), another with large specimen roses and climbers. Ideas for outdoor living, such as rooftop gardens, patios and decks, will train the eye to pay attention to pavers, containers and accents such as rocks, boulders and stone.