Peekaboo Moon: The Garden After Dark

Last night, I took a “class”with my mom called “The Garden After Dark” at the Chicago Botanic Garden, taught by Julie Siegel of J. Siegel Designs. Julie, the creation of a  photographer and painter, developed a strong appreciation for art and passion for plants which was the perfect recipe for her to blossom into a landscape design authority.

The first twenty minutes was a power point presentation. We were reminded about how our other senses kick into overdrive when one of them is diminished.  So, the smell of the garden increases as does the power of touch and hearing. Clearly I was in the class, as in most cases, to provide comic relief. Other than me walking into a table, I maintained an admirable sense of composure.

Let me point out how incredibly lucky ANYONE is to be able to explore the Chicago Botanic Garden at night.  It’s a completely different place.  I’ve been there many, many times and I was amazed at how unfamiliar the garden was lit up by the moon instead of the sun. Julie, donning her unzipped hot pink down jacket, led us on our walking tour interjecting lessons throughout our journey.

This row of fountains are intense during the day, but at night, they are mesmerizing.

To the right of this view is a huge fountain that greets you as you pull into park.  A nice greeting. On my way home from my old office, I would come here many times and take an hour power walk, taking in the gorgeous sunsets. I know these look like holiday decorations. But those are beautifully lit water fountains. One of the first rules of night gardens?  Properly placed light.

I had a hard time wanting to leave the fountain but then I turned around and saw this scene stealer.

The almost perfectly full moon lit our way through the garden.

As the garden became darker, the views became more exquisite.  Even the guys in the group were sighing.

This panorama shot is even more hypnotizing in person but this looks like a postcard waiting to be made.

My education continued as I saw a couple of bridges that I walk on frequently. Who knew they had lights?

This enticing shot has my three favorite colors: blue, green, and purple.

The whole evening providing breathtaking moments piled up on top of each other. It was like the finale of fireworks on the Fourth of July.  The water in this photo is so still, it looks like colored glass. The photo showcases the Carillon, a bell tower, on the left. I’ve included a clip so you can see what the Carillon is and it also has the infamous table that I walked into. Hey, can you blame me? Hard to believe that an expressway is behind this view!

My final shot ended up being quite abstract, but given our teacher’s passion for the coupling of art and gardens, I thought it was fitting.

Peekaboo moon in the garden after dark

Here are the dazzling willow trees, that remind me of frizzy hair, embracing the captivating moon that served as our spotlight for the beguiling garden at night.  Julie teaches other courses in various venues in the Chicagoland area. If you are a fan of gardens, I can confidently say it is worth exploring!

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Posted on September 29, 2012, in Rant, Rave and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Much better than my post! You’re hired…

  2. Serendipity, once again, here is Julie’s post about the same experience, from a teacher’s point of view 🙂 http://jsiegeldesigns.blogspot.com/2012/09/chicago-botanic-garden-after-dark-tour.html

  3. Beautiful! I especially like the photo of the glass-like water…incredible.

  4. Thank you! Hard to believe I took them with my phone! 😉

  5. Great photos! I especially like the moon one. My family loves the Chicago botanic garden, and I have a good friend who volunteers there. How neat that you saw it at night!

  6. I like the first shot and how the trees look like silhouettes and in the last shot how you’ve captured the moon! 🙂

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