Strolling through the Chicago Botanic Garden opens the gate to a brief Zen experience. This is so not only because of its dreamy and renowned Japanese garden to which I will refer hereafter, but because it is kept in a truly flawless state, to the point where one has to wonder if he is experiencing a new planet. No crumpled leaf, loose branch or arid flower is present to ruin the experience of the million visitors who wander through the garden undisturbed. Even in the vegetable area known for its propensity to untameness reigns the most geometrical order.
The credit has to be undoubtedly appointed to the multitude of gardeners who commit to it every day, but the true capability behind the Chicago Botanic Garden lies in the 1300 volunteer. Equipped of gloves and small utensils these garden volunteers take care of the plants, earth or garden. You may see them in diverse arrays, employed in a multitude of tasks to which they commit with devotion and affection for the garden’s sake. If one cares to look attentively, one may notice that they are there not only for the wellbeing of the garden but primarily for their own creating a view that prompts oneself to kneel down and steal their job. I wonder why here we are not capable of organizing such a thing, many could gain from it.
The garden itself can be praised for incomparable data, opened to the public only forty years ago it actively possesses 13.989 trees, 879.087 bulbs, 1.428.719 everlasting plants, 28.032 aquatic plants and 65.987 shrubs in nearly 156 hectares which are themselves subdivided in 27 different gardens and 4 raw areas. It also occupies 32 hectares of water channels between lakes and canals that encircle 9 islands and 255 species between sighted birds.Certainly one of the gardens most astounding areas is the Japanese garden, uncomparable in its varsity, it extends over almost 7 hectares of land. The latter is subdivided in three islands of which only one open to the public. The third, located in the center of the lake, is inaccessible and symbolizes a visible paradise which can never be reached. Meandering in this area one is submerged by irises, rododendrs and plumb trees but the presence of pine-bonsai can also be strongly perceived. These trees, symbolic for longevity in Japanese culture, are trimmed and cared for with uncomparable capability and are uncommonly planted in raw earth. However even the in-vase bonsai collection accommodates more than 200 samples exhibited illustriously in the Regenstein Center courtyard.The Chicago Botanic Garden has more than 50.000 members; individuals of all ages, interests and abilities who participate to programs of all sorts, taking lessons or walking through the park for free the whole year round. Furthermore the garden’s ‘Library of Lenhardt’ holds 110.000 volumes, of which one of the best national collections of rare botanical volumes. In conclusion this botanical garden is truly worth the while, not only for the botanical and scientific research areas, but mainly for its sociological approach to the experience. Its immaculate organization succeeds, capably engaging a vast sphere of diverse individuals, in creating a beautiful reality.