Lurie Garden’s spring bulb designer, Jacqueline van der Kloet, lectures about her design and her new book in time for the bulb-planting season.

The people of Chicago know the long winter is officially over when the bulbs at Lurie Garden are starting to make their appearance. Speckles of crocus first appear, braving the nips of late frosts. Soon to follow are the garden’s iconic drifts of white, pink, and purple tulips.

While Piet Oudolf is considered the designer of the planted beds at Lurie Garden, in 2006, 2 years after the garden had been planted, Oudolf and the then-director, Colleen Lockovitch, discussed the need for color in the garden earlier in the year. Jacqueline van der Kloet, a fellow Dutch garden designer, known for her bulb artistry, was asked to create a design throughout the garden that would not only bring early color but would also be harmonious with the scheme that would be blooming as the bulbs she placed would be fading.

Spring Tulips - Lurie Garden

Spring tulips in Lurie Garden. 

In the garden’s most widely-known feature, The Salvia River, Van der Kloet planted violet-blue crocus and grape hyacinth bulbs. The result is a sense of foreshadowing of the shades of purple that will be flowing through the exact area weeks later. Another not-so-obvious but magical element added by Van der Kloet was light. Considering the limited daylight at the beginning of spring, swaths of white tulips run along the bank of The Salvia River. When in full bloom, walks in the garden are still bright and promising as the sun sets early in the day.

Lurie Garden Spring Bulb Design by Jacqueline van der Kloet

Lurie Garden Spring bulb design includes a strip of grape hyacinths banked by light-creating white tulips.

Van der Kloet’s visit is well timed. Most bulbs are best planted in the fall for a resulting spring display. This talk will be of interest to those who are planning their own spring displays as well as for those who look to understand the design choices that make the Lurie Garden magical all year round.

Jacqueline van der Kloet, author of 'Colour your Garden'

Jacqueline van der Kloet, the author of the new book, Colour your Garden, will be lecturing at Chicago Cultural Center on August 16, 1-3pm.

Jacqueline van der Kloet will be lecturing at the Chicago Cultural Center on August 16, 1-3pm. This event is free, but registration is required. Register here.

More information about these and other free Lurie Garden Programs at

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