Best place to smell rue | Best of Chicago 2011 | City Life | Chicago Reader

Best place to smell rue

Northwestern's Shakespeare Garde

It's on the National Register of Historic Places and was designed by famed landscape architect Jens Jensen (see "Best respite from a Chicago winter"), but it seems like many locals don't know about this plot hidden in plain sight in the center of Northwestern's campus, just north of the Howes Memorial Chapel. First planted in 1915 to commemorate the 300th anniversary of Shakespeare's death, the eight beds feature the more than 50 flowers, shrubs, trees, and herbs mentioned in his works, among them rosemary, lavender, pansies, poppies, marigolds, lemon balm, and rue. (According to the website of the Garden Club of Evanston, which founded the Shakespeare Garden and still maintains it, "parsley, holly, ivy, mint, and peonies are also allowed.") Bordered by a double row of hawthorn hedges, it's remarkably peaceful—just turn your back on the blocky Ford Motor Company Engineering Design Center incongruously looming over it. —Kate Schmidt

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