First stage of Cantigny Park redesign enters the homestretch this summer

 
 
Updated 5/11/2018 6:24 PM
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  • Crews put the finishing touches Cantigny's new pond garden, constructed as part of "Project New Leaf," an ongoing transformation of the suburban getaway in Wheaton.

      Crews put the finishing touches Cantigny's new pond garden, constructed as part of "Project New Leaf," an ongoing transformation of the suburban getaway in Wheaton. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • Cantigny Park will open new-look display gardens in July. Boxwoods already have been planted around garden beds.

      Cantigny Park will open new-look display gardens in July. Boxwoods already have been planted around garden beds. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

Cantigny Park has reopened its pond garden, one of most serene spots in time for Mother's Day crowds expected to flock to the suburban gem this weekend.

Here's a look at that garden and changes being made at other favorites around the 500-acre park:

Pond garden: Double the size of the previous pond garden, the new version opened to the public this week. It features panoramic views of the historic McCormick mansion and display gardens. Around the permitter are new trails and blooming redbud trees. New stone stairs end almost flush with the water.

Display gardens: Japanese yews screen the gardens, creating a room-life affect. Inside, garden beds are still arranged in a circular layout, maintaining a link to the design of the estate's original landscape architect Franz Lipp. New benches offer more seating and spots to enjoy the new-look gardens. Horticulturists will plant white, annual and pollinator gardens in addition to a display of native grasses. A rose garden will be near the Visitor Center this summer. Next year, the garden will serve as another wedding venue at Cantigny. A special opening for Cantigny supporters is July 10, followed by a public opening that week.

Visitors Center: The Le Jardin restaurant inside the Visitors Center now has its own entrance to welcome families for a sold-out Mother's Day brunch. An interior remodel wrapped up this year in the dining spot and Bertie's Coffee Shop. Outside, construction crews are building an outdoor brick arrival plaza and a colonnade of red oak trees ending a short distance from the base of Butterfly Hill, a new summit that will open in fall 2018 looking onto Cantigny's neighboring golf course.

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