Summer Break in a Shakespeare Garden

This past weekend Moraine Valley Community College presented it’s annual Shakespeare Under the Stars. This year the play was The Winter’s Tale, re-imagined to take place in the mid 20th century in Sicilia and Bohemia with the very clever addition of a psychedelic Bear chasing an exiting actor off stage.

The play was set so close to the Shakespeare Garden you could have watched it from the benches in the garden, and many of us did just that.

The  garden is designed with plants that are referred to in various Shakespeare plays. The path winding through the garden has plaques on stands with quotes from his plays in which the flowers are referenced. Here are two of my favorites.

The garden is just beautiful. There’s sun at one end and shade at the other with a red brick path winding through it.  Places to sit off the path are nestled under trees or tucked behind the flower beds. The Shakespeare Quotes are scattered along the way. There’s a sundial at the sunny entrance with purple Salvia and Liriope circling it.


Simple birdbaths are surrounded by Peonies, Allium, Sage, Boxwoods, and perennial grasses.  Mounded Boxwoods give structure and an English garden feel.


The garden is perfectly designed in this designer’s opinion.  Perennials are planted in mass, giving it consistent textures and colors. The heights are staggered. The flowing perennials are anchored with mounded boxwoods. Specimen bushes are placed in each section of the garden. Structures (bird baths, sundials, plaques to read) are placed along the way to encourage you to take your time and enjoy the view. Benches are tucked into their own little garden spots off the path, in the sun or out of it.

It is an island of color and tranquility in a high traffic space on a busy campus.  A beautiful place to take a break, relax and rejuvenate.  Exactly what a garden is supposed to do. If you’re in the area I highly recommend visiting the garden for inspiration or just for a brain break.  Bring a book and stay awhile.


I will leave you with one more photo of the play


The Princess of Silicia and the Prince of Bohemia in a scene from the Winter’s Tale. The Prince is our youngest son, Daniel. I don’t think I’m too biased when I say the play was wonderful and the actors fantastic.


This is hands down my favorite quote and it’s very true. It is why we garden and why we seek out gardens. It’s why we take our kids to parks, why we treasure our National Parks, why some of us camp and some of us hike. It’s why we boat, bird watch, grow so many damn tomatoes that we can’t even give them away.  There are different paths to happy, and nature in all its forms can help us get there.

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