Chicago Botanic Garden to debut walkway
Thursday, June 23, 2005
by ANDREW SCHROEDTER
The Chicago Botanic Garden's esplanade, a brand new public plaza and entry garden display that abuts a manmade pond and cascading fountain, will be unveiled for the first time Saturday.
The nearly 3-acre plaza is the first thing visitors will see upon leaving the gatehouse, which serves as the garden's entrance.
Construction on the esplande began in spring 2004, and workers this week were still preparing for the display's debut.
Sue Markgraf, garden spokeswoman, said the esplanade will be ready in time for its opening.
The esplanade offers stunning views of the water and a winding, bricked walkway that shadows the pond's perimeter. There's no swimming or fishing allowed, but Markgraf said visitors are welcome to soak in the tranquil scenery.
"We want people to experience the water," she said.
Within that aquatic experience, Markgraf said there's something for everyone.
Crews hand-planted more than 500 white water lilies in the pond, along with more than 10,000 annuals, including petunias and geraniums, in the esplanade's Crescent Garden.
Other esplande highlights include an elm canopy, a 70-foot waterside terrace and the 350-foot lake walk, which consists of narrow, wooden slatted paths that extend along the shoreline.
Dan Kiley, a renowned landscape architect, conceived of the esplanade though the construction was managed by Peter Morrow Meyer after Kiley died in 2004.
Admission to the garden is free, though parking costs $12. In the summer months, the garden is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, call (847) 835-5440.