Beautiful Container Plantings Along the Streets of Chicago

Updated: Jun. 05, 2023

A few weeks ago, I found myself walking along Michigan Avenue which runs through the heart of downtown Chicago.

We were in town attending my daughter’s graduation from Navy basic training.

I had a few hours before our flight left for home and couldn’t think of any better way to spend it then walk down Chicago’s famous Michigan Avenue with its beautiful architecture, shops and of course, green spaces.

I love being inspired when I see different plant combinations.  Now, I may not be able to grow all of the same kinds of plants in my desert climate, but I can find plants that look similar so that I can reproduce the same look.

Here are a few of my favorite plantings…

 Blue hydrangeas held aloft on raised platforms above a sea of boxwood.

I love this look – surrounding street trees with flowering annuals and perennials.

Purple and blue hydrangea are planted with yellow violas, sweetly scented white alyssum and pink snapdragons.  Pussy willow branches add a welcome vertical accent.

Container plantings don’t have to be limited to flowering plants.  Colorful foliage makes a striking statement in this container.  I love the burgundy foliage of New Zealand flax.

This bed of gorgeous colors is created by plants with contrasting, colorful foliage.

This container uses the bright yellow color of violas to contrast with the cool blues of hydrangea.

This bed is filled with tulips that have finished flowering.  Bright pink hydrangeas are held aloft on raised platforms.  Yellow pansies provide a great contrasting color.  Boston ferns and branches complete this striking container combination.

Palms make great container plants.  This pygmy date palm takes center stage with sweet potato vines surrounding it.

I really like how pink and blue hydrangeas look next to each other.  It’s too bad that you can’t get both colors to grow together in a garden setting.  In areas with acidic soil, hydrangeas will be a bluish shade.  Growing up in California, were alkaline soils are the norm, our hydrangeas were pink.

While I am not a huge fan of formal pruning, I like how the shrubs are pruned in the same shape as this container filled with different shades of pansies, don’t you?

A border of boxwood shrubs surround the burgundy-colored coleus.  Japanese maple trees provide a beautiful mid-height planting underneath tall trees.

I hope you have been inspired to recreate these beautiful plant combinations in your own garden.   Don’t worry if you can’t find the exact same plants – you can easily use plants that have a similar shape and color to create the same look.

If you would like inspiration on creating beautiful window box plantings, check out my post about the window boxes of Charleston, SC.

Where have you seen beautiful plantings?  Please share them with us!