Linda Grashoff's Photography Adventures

Chicago, Sublime and Ridiculous

October 2, 2022

When my daughter and daughter-in-law picked us up in Chicago for the drive to their home in Madison in August, we made a brief stop at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Having gotten next to no sleep the night before (we got up at 3:15 the morning to catch the train), David and I didn’t last long. But we were there long enough for me to catch a few photographs. On the reverse trip, we were able to spend a little time in downtown Chicago. Be prepared: the last photo is scary.

1  The garden included many kinds of lotus plants, with variously colored flowers. I didn’t catch the name of this one.

2 The garden had at least as many waterlilies. Again, I didn’t get the name.

3 I got the name of another water lily but, alas, no photograph of the lily, which is a reddish color according to what I found online. The dragonfly appears to be our old friend Blue Dasher.

4 I really failed at noting plant names at the garden; I’ll blame it on sleep deprivation. I wish I knew the name of this water plant. I’d never seen square leaves before. Update of October 3, 2022: Take a look at the suggestions offered by Gabi Weinert and nannus in the comments section. Either plant mentioned seems to me like a possible match.

5 The main visitor building at the garden featured dried plants and flowers hanging from the ceiling.



8 I probably wouldn’t be comfortable living in downtown Chicago, despite that being my childhood dream.

9 But I do like visiting and photographing there. Given more time, I’d have gathered many more images.

10 Seeing this building made me feel as if I were in a science fiction movie. It was all the more frightening knowing that it was not fiction.

19 responses

  1. Wonderful shots, Linda. The light on the lead shot and #7 is fantastic. Years ago, I attended the McCrone Institute and spent some time in Chicago. I loved every minute. I didn’t have a car so I got around on buses and the “L”. It’s a great town for anyone, especially one with a photographic eye. As for Trump, he’s not as scary as those that believe him.

    Liked by 1 person

    October 2, 2022 at 3:11 PM

  2. Thank you, Ken. Good to know you loved your time in Chicago. For many years I attended a December conference there and always looked forward to being in the city. Unfortunately, it was before my return to photography, so I have no photos from those times. I agree about Trump’s supporters. They are giving him power he wouldn’t otherwise have. Still, his name in those huge huge letters seemed surreal in a bad way.


    October 2, 2022 at 8:24 PM

  3. Given that the flower in your first photo is a lotus, it would seem to be Nelumbo nucifera, the Asian lotus: As Ken noted, you caught especially nice lighting on #7.

    Five years ago when we visited Chicago we took one of those boat rides along the river. I remember seeing some of the buildings you’ve shown.

    Liked by 1 person

    October 2, 2022 at 8:42 PM

    • You may be right about the lotus, Steve; sure looks like it. I took #8 shooting right across the river, so I’m not surprised that you saw that one.


      October 4, 2022 at 3:01 PM

  4. Thank you for taking us with you through sharing these nice impressions!
    The tender and beautiful water plant sould be a trapa natans or Ludwigia sedioides. These are different plants, the first one has white flowers, the ludwigia yellow ones. Trapa natans also produces fruits (curious looking water chestnut)

    Liked by 1 person

    October 3, 2022 at 2:39 AM

    • Thank you, Gabi. Since the water plant was not in flower—at least I didn’t see any flowers—I can’t choose between the two plants you mention. Nannus (see his comment below) goes with the second one you name. They both have those square leaves.


      October 4, 2022 at 3:04 PM

  5. nannus

    The plant with the geometric swimming leaves seems to be this one:

    Liked by 1 person

    October 3, 2022 at 9:00 AM

    • Thanks for weighing in, nannus. It is a beautiful plant. Have you seen it in person?


      October 4, 2022 at 3:05 PM

      • Anonymous

        No, never before, at least not that I remember. I just did a little Google search. Did not take long. I just found it intriguing and interessting and so I wanted to find out what it was.

        Liked by 1 person

        October 4, 2022 at 3:25 PM

  6. The mystery plant is very intriguing – I’ve never seen it before. Having worked at the NY Botanical Garden and visited other botanical gardens I was delighted to see such a unique plant growing in Chicago. Just the squarish leaves alone would have been enough, but for them to arrange themselves in rosettes – outrageous!! I googled both suggested plants with ‘Chicago Botanic Garden’ and L. sediodes came up in a FB post. Someone said they saw it at Chicago Botanic Garden in 2017 as part of a ‘Brazil in the Garden’ theme. Whatever the identity, I’m grateful to you for photographing it in your diminished state. 😉 And you’re completely forgiven for all the missed labels. The progression from water plants to dried plants arranged very deliberately to city buildings and their (wavy) reflections is nice. I love photographing buildings like those, except for the last one. My stomach turns when I see buildings with that name in NYC and elsewhere. Ugh. But the rest of the images make up for it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    October 4, 2022 at 9:52 PM

    • Thanks, Lynn. I argued with myself for quite a while before posting that last photograph. In the end, I guess I did it to share the pain. If the man hadn’t been in politics, I think I might have blown off his name dominating the building as a silly narcissistic waste of money—as I wrote off his NYC tower when I saw it many years ago. But given the man’s political position, it’s downright frightening.

      Liked by 1 person

      October 5, 2022 at 11:13 AM

  7. Robert Griffith

    Beautiful photographs, Grasshopper. But the Trump Tower gives me the creeps.

    Liked by 1 person

    October 5, 2022 at 9:00 AM

    • Me, too. Seeing that name in letters so large made me feel like I was in a Big-Brother-is-watching-you moment. Hmm. “Grasshopper.” I think I know you.


      October 5, 2022 at 11:05 AM

      • Robert Griffith

        Yes, you know me from roughly forty years ago at the University of Michigan. I can’t remember how I stumbled across your book “They Breathe Iron” and your blog, but I’m pleased to see you are still hale and hearty, doing things you clearly enjoy.

        Liked by 1 person

        October 5, 2022 at 11:32 AM

  8. Your photographs of the dried botanicals hanging from the ceiling, particularly #5, are amazing! I have been back several times since you posted to look at them. The layers of color, form and texture in #5 are beautifully shown…really nice!

    It’s good that others seem to have identified the plant in #4. My first thought was spearmint Chiclets 🥺…

    Liked by 1 person

    October 7, 2022 at 2:00 PM

    • Thanks, Mic. Those dried plants made me want to do something similar—but where?—and don’t I already have enough interests, all competing to see which can distract me the most from the others? Ah, the tragedy of a curious mind. . . . Yes, Chiclets! Are they still made? I can’t ask a question without trying to find an answer. So I Googled and found a Wikipedia entry: Interesting, if uncertain, information.

      Liked by 1 person

      October 7, 2022 at 2:24 PM

      • I bet you could find space to hang a small panel of slats similar to the ceiling in the photograph but yes, I also understand the competing interests. Remember though, the real tragedy is having a mind but no curiosity.

        Chiclets!? Where did that thought come from?…50 years since I’ve had them, maybe more.

        Liked by 1 person

        October 8, 2022 at 10:38 AM

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