What IS it with these northern cities and their appreciation for gardens? We’ve covered Buffalo thoroughly here, and posted photos of Chicago’s Millennium Park especially its Lurie Garden from our Gardenblogger Spring Fling there in 2009. But what struck me on this visit, in mid-August, were the street gardens…everywhere.
Below, even the delivery side of Navy Pier, where trucks whiz by and pedestrians are rare, is planted up the wazoo in a sophisticated palette of annuals.
And where else do you see prominent signs like this one from the mayor touting the city’s Flower Shows and Events?
Mayor Daley is SO out in front on urban beautification that he received an Honorary degree from ASLA. Here’s what they had to say about him at the time:
“Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, Honorary ASLA, is a national leader who has created planning, landscape architecture, and environmental programs for his city. Under his leadership, Chicago has added more than 120 new acres of parkland and many new recreation facilities. Newsweek columnist George Will called Mayor Daley the ‘Martha Stewart of mayors,’ and credits his green thumb with producing a ‘city chock full of gardens.’
“The Mayor’s initiatives include a Chicago Landscape Ordinance, which won the ASLA Illinois Chapter President’s Award in 2000, reforming the Chicago zoning code, and incorporating green space through all neighborhoods; creating award-winning streetscape and medians; and enacting environmental, urban forestry, and green roofs initiatives. Due in large part to his efforts, Chicago was voted one of the “10 Best Places to Live” by Money magazine in 2002.”
The closest thing in my neck of the woods is Bloom In Annapolis, another program with heavy mayoral involvement, and Annapolis has been named one of America’s 10 most beautiful cities for three years running now. But Chicago is a real city, with buildings that took my breath away. I’m particularly vulnerable to glorious shows of verticality because I’ve lived for so long in the skyscraper-deprived city of Washington.