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Occupying nearly 400 acres and displaying more than 2 million plants, you're sure to find something of interest at the Chicago Botanic Garden. It hosts 24 display gardens, including world-renowned collections of ginkgo, oak, serviceberry, and perennial geraniums.
Visiting your favorite public garden is a great way to learn about stunning plant combinations for different seasons. At the Chicago Botanic Garden, for example, you can see displays such as these candy-color tulips and how well they echo the blooms of crabapples.
You'll view a wide array of plant forms when you visit your local garden, which gives you ideas about how to incorporate the these shapes in your yard. For example, rounded clusters of rhododendron blooms play off a pond and several shade trees. A square gazebo and low wall create excitement by offering contrast.
Most botanic gardens feature a number of stunning containers, which generates ideas on creating similar containers in your yard. Here, for example, something as common as geraniums put on a brilliant show in classic-looking square containers against a backdrop of green.
Let spring-blooming bulbs naturalize in beds and borders -- even your lawn. Naturalizing means planting the bulbs randomly and letting them spread like wildflowers. The result is a one-of-a-kind display that gets better every year.
Water can play many roles in the garden: It's sure to attract birds; moving water adds lovely sounds that filter out noise; and still water has a wonderful reflective quality. You can design with a water feature in so many ways, too; use a fountain as a focal point, a stream as landscape accent, or a barrel to showcase a dramatic lotus.
The unique curves of the bridge in this photo catch the eye. We know you probably don't have the opportunity to re-create this exact look in your yard, but you can add curves in other ways. For example, give your beds and borders soft, undulating edges. Or redo an old garden path so it meanders gracefully.
It used to be that gardeners grew plants like they saw them in nurseries -- grouped by annuals, perennials, bulbs, etc. But you can create garden magic by mixing them. Here, alliums shine against fuchsia-pink snapdragons, variegated 'Frosty Morn' sedum, burgundy and pink Magilla perilla, and other plants.
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