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Breathtaking Gardens


Have you ever been overwhelmed with beauty? Have you experienced an occasion when you witnessed a site that was so magnificent, it literally took your breath away?


My list of stunning personal views is long, but a few places that top the list include the Ali'i Kula Lavender Farm on the slope of Haleakala Crater in Maui upcountry; the red rocks of Sedona, Arizona; the San Juan Mountains in Colorado; the centuries-old walled city of Obidos, Portugal; the erupting Kilaeua Volcano; and the countrysides of Italy and Ireland.


We have remarkable locations such as these all over our world, and some of them are in our own backyards. National and local forest preserves, waterways, and public parks and gardens are sure to offer unexpected pleasures, as well. They may not have the impact of expansive mountains, volcanoes, or oceans, but their incredible beauty is undeniable, just the same.


For those of us in Chicagoland—believe it or not, that is what we affectionately call the city of Chicago and surrounding suburbs—we have the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe, Illinois. It’s a hike for me, about an hour and 15 to 30 minutes depending on traffic—but well-worth the drive.


My boyfriend and I recently drove there and were richly rewarded for our travels. Upon entering, I was struck, once again, by the breathtaking views from the moment I passed the check-in booth. This botanic garden truly is a paradise of human and natural creation.

CBG consists of 385 acres of wonders including the bulb, circle, crescent, enabling, English walled, fruit and vegetable, heritage, Japanese, rose, and sensory gardens. Guests also find a butterfly habitat and a model railroad garden to explore. And when hungry, the Graden View Cafe and Grill provide tasty offerings.


There is so much to see, it would be difficult to tour the entire property in one day. Checking the Chicago Botanic Garden map and deciding on the areas most desired to peruse on a given day allows plenty of time to fully delve into specific areas.


On our most recent visit, we strolled areas we hadn’t seen for years. It has been decades since I’d last walked the paths through the waterfall, and I don’t remember ever seeing the Japanese garden before, so we decided to make those two gardens our priority. We explored a few other gardens as time allowed.


The entire visit was incredibly peaceful. We ended the day feeling as if we’d been transported to an enchanting land that fueled our spirit.


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Snuggle up on your sofa with the book, Tranquility. Transformation. Transcendence. The Enchanting Promises of Public Gardens, and enjoy some of the riches of public gardens, including Chicago Botanic Garden, by pondering photos of three gardens and the poems they inspired.



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