What a beautiful day to enjoy eating outdoors and catching up with friends at Park Grill (the food there is so much better than it has to be for a tourist destination!). Others went to the Terzo Piano restaurant at the Art Institute. Then it was on to a guided tour of the Lurie Gardens in Millenium Park. We split the group of 21 garden buddies into three and off we went with the well-informed-master-gardener-guides. Amazingly the garden had survived the interminable scorching heat of the last week or was it a year? What a testament to native north american plants for drought resistance. Our guide said that the weather was so extremely hot that the gardeners actually waterered the garden at about 3 a.m. last week. As you probably know from your own gardens, the plants are about a month ahead of normal. That means that many of the midseason plants have already bloomed. The scarlet red “Chicago apache” daylily pictured above was blooming its heart out next to the red tipped switch grass. This is my kind of perennial – a hearty bloomer that is drought resistant, can tolerate sun or partial shade, not fussy about soil and is good for attracting butterflies. I will definitely be considering Chicago apache for a shot of color in my garden, maybe with the yellow lilies? Lurie garden (chemical free) was literally “a buzz” with bees, birds, and butterflies. I found out today that Lurie has bee hives located under the Nichols bridge and they harvest and sell the honey at their sales twice a year. On the east side of the “seam” (an angled wooden walk over water that seperates the east and west gardens) I saw red winged blackbirds in the trees and felt a gentle, refreshing breeze from the lake. I am telling you, this garden oasis in the midst of steel and concrete should be a “not to be missed” location on your bucket list. Another plus, Lurie Gardens have four season interest, so you can return various times during the year and see something different and beautiful each season. Pat and I were part of the initial planting of the 120,000+ spring bulbs, so the purple “river” in the spring is one of my favorite sites. I imagine Marilyn will be a lot more informative in her article, she was taking notes.