The greenhouses at the Chicago Botanic Garden are transformed with lights and a variety of holiday flowers - brightly-colored amaryllis, poinsettias and kalanchoe. While Wonderland Express is going on, the greenhouses stay open until 6 p.m., well-past dark. It's fun to walk through them in the dark with the dramatic holiday lights. Photographing the flowers, however, requires daylight so go early enough to get good light. Just as the reality of another long cold Chicago winter is settling in, it's nice to have some beautiful flower subjects to photograph in the warmth of the greenhouses. The first round of amaryllis in the Semitropical greenhouse were the 'Pink Surprise' amaryllis. I'm glad I had a chance to photograph these beauties before they faded. They have since been replaced by a new deep red variety. They are just beginning to open and I hope to grab some time to photograph them tomorrow.
'Pink Surprise' Amaryllis
Poinsettias were never a favorite flower of mine until I visited the Lincoln Park Conservatory a couple of years ago to see their holiday flower display. I was fascinated to learn that there are about 100 varieties of poinsettias in a wide range of colors. The red poinsettia is by far the most popular because of its association with Christmas. The poinsettia is part of the spurge family. The showy colored parts of poinsettias that most people think of as the flowers are actually colored bracts or leaves. The yellow flowers (cyathia) are in the center of the colorful bracts. Contrary to popular belief, the poinsettia is not poisonous. Since that visit I have enjoyed photographing the poinsettias at CBG and more fully appreciate their beautiful patterns and textures.
For more about the holidays at The Chicago Botanic Garden be sure and read my article posted on outofchicago.com last week. The festivities at the Garden last until January 4th!