For my birthday (January 17), Steve surprised me with a Garden Plus membership to Chicago Botanic Garden for the year! We now get to park two cars for free, and we get a discount on their gift shop purchases, as well as their cafe and classes. Other benefits (for Garden Plus) include free Wednesday admission to the Butterflies & Blooms exhibit, the Model Railroad Garden, and tram tours, as well as a discount for the other days. Steve, you are the real MVP.
We went to CBG with the kids. Ari went with us to the garden last summer, but this was Sandy's first time there! It was a great experience for them. Ari hardly recognised anything, as it looks very different each season.
Our first stop after the membership information desk was the Garden Shop, where I snagged a cute little Philodendron 'Prince of Orange', which was a plant I've been wanting for months! I already have Philodendron 'Moonlight'.
Most of the plants were between $4-$10. There were so many Tillys, some loose, some in terrariums. I already have a bunch so I held off for now. I think by the time summer hits I'll have an army of air plants, though. They also had neat gifts for pretty much anyone you could think of! Steve bought the kids cardinal cookies and a sticker book.
The weather was decent in the 40s. We came upon a bridge that lead to the serene Japanese Garden, Sansho-En, the Garden of Three Islands.
It was as if we stepped into a whole new world. All was quiet aside from the crunch of gravel and snow beneath our feet. The terrain was a bit rocky, and some hills were steep.
We stopped by the greenhouses to warm up a bit.
Before exiting the garden, we stopped by the Hippeastrum display.
Afterwards, we joined Steve's family for a delicious dinner that evening. My birthday was wonderful! I'm looking forward to many more beautiful moments at the garden, and sharing them with all of you.
If any of you love the idea of having year-round access to plants, I highly recommend looking into your local conservatories, gardens, and arboreta. Many participate in the American Horticultural Society Reciprocal Admissions Program where you get free admission, parking, and other benefits.