Who knew? I guess I should have. In fact, shame on me for not being aware of the work many have done to make Chicago a city that lots and lots of pollinators call home. While at the Association of Garden Communicators Convention a couple weeks ago, I had the opportunity to tour several beautiful gardens created to nourish people and pollinators.
The Lurie Garden is an escape into nature in the heart of the city. It is difficult to believe the 2-1/2 acre garden is actually a rooftop garden, sitting on top of a parking garage built over railroad tracks.
Designed by Piet Oudolf, the garden includes both native and non-native plants in large swaths of color and texture.
The garden buzzes with many different species of bees and other beneficial insects…
…and butterflies enjoy the abundance of nectar.
The Lurie Garden, part of the 24-acre Millennium Park, is free and open to the public every day.
The Gardens at the Shedd Aquarium create habitat not only for pollinators, but also for many different types of birds.
A large migratory bird garden, located on the lakefront side of the building, offers birds traveling on the Mississippi Flyway food and shelter.
Native plants are chosen as often as possible and no pesticides are used. The bees are happy about that.
Learn more about the Gardens at the Shedd Aquarium here.
The Nature Boardwalk at the Lincoln Park Zoo attracts pollinators, birds and aquatic wildlife, too.
The boardwalk, 2/3 of a mile in length and bordered by prairie and wetland plants, surrounds a large pond.
Butterflies, pollinators and beneficial insects don’t even seem to notice the skyscrapers close by. The Nature Boardwalk (and the zoo) are free and open to the public every day.
Individual homeowners join in the act, too. Bill Kurtis (yes, that Bill Kurtis) and his wife, Donna La Pietra, have returned many acres of their property to prairie to support conservation. More about their amazing garden is coming in a future post.
Chicagoans with urban-sized yards get in the act, too. Check out this previous post about Keeler Gardens.
I am so grateful Chicagoans are providing and planting spaces for our planet’s very important pollinators and wildlife of all kinds. Way to go, Chicago!