Art Institute, Chicago IL


The North Courtyard

The main area of the courtyard was planted with Vinca minor, which was old and loosely knit together. The developing weeds came through quickly creating a distraction within the groundcover and the area required constant attention from the maintenance staff. Roy designed a meadow highlighted with a mix of Geranium sanguineums, Ankum’s Pride, Max Frei,  album, and a hybrid, ‘Tiny Monster’. The geraniums are supported by a short grass Seslaria autumnalis. In the background of the planting Stachys ‘Hummelo’ and Allium ‘Summer Beauty’ mingle with Molinia ‘Moorflame’ and Molinia ‘Hiedenbraut’. For height and strong architectural interest, there are groupings of Eupatorium ‘Little Joe’. Tom Wolfe, horticulturalist at the Art Institute, then filled the planting with 8,000 bulbs. The garden is simple with moments of color through the summer, highlighted by the large Eupatoriums in late August.

The South Courtyard

Tom Wolfe, horticulturalist at the Art Institute root pruned the 53 year old Gleditsia triacanthos plantings in two large raised planters along Michigan Ave.  Wolfe asked Roy to design a new ground layer. Roy planted a matrix of Carex bromoides with Carex muskingumensis and Chasmanthium latifolium mingled in along with drifts of Hosta ‘August Moon’.  The highlight of the planting is Persicaria polymorpha with its large, cloudy white flowers drifting through the center of the beds. What’s unique about this planting is each plant used in this design is rarely if ever planted anywhere in the Chicago area. There are many regionally dependable plants that can raise the level of beauty and live well in diverse, healthy plantings.