Lurie garden, winter 2015. Photo by Kevin J. McCarey.

By the first weekend of December, my Christmas Cactus was blooming again.

I dug into that topic in a previous blog, and now rather than dig any deeper into the history and mysteries of this pretty pink plant, here are seven sure-fire ways to green up your spirits indoors and outside with a few urban and suburban area holiday light show events.

Okay, pencils down….

TO-DO, #1:  I am continuing to garden in-and-out-of doors utilizing two DIY gardening ideas:  In my kitchen garden window where light is limited (ugh), with the assist of adjustable grow lights, my culinary herbs that were outside, have been successfully transplanted into containers, and are flourishing in an alternative light set-up.  This combination of some sun, with the consistency of grow lights, for me is a proven winner.

In my edible garden is my DIY cold frame, where my greens, lettuces and kale, are ready to pick and eat, in spite of the snow and cold temps.

TO-DOS, 2-7:  Through December, of course, to celebrate the season, around here are these five magnificent light shows, most of which I have already seen:  Morton Arboretum (Illumination) Lincoln Park Zoo (ZooLights), Brookfield Zoo (Holiday Magic ), Chicago Botanic Garden (Wonderland Express) and Garfield Park Conservatory (Solaris:  A sea of all Colors).

Millennium Park, where the annual Chicago Christmas tree has landed, is steps from the four season wonder of Lurie Garden.

There, Spring through Fall, is the bliss of blooming native plants framed by stunning architecture.

Then, comes the season of brown.

On a recent visit I heard bird calls through the rustling of its tall grasses and still standing tall flower seed heads, which are a smorgasbord of peck-and-eats for the birds of the Windy City.

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Deb Quantock McCarey

Deb Quantock McCarey is an Illinois Press Association (IPA) award-winning freelance writer who has worked with Wednesday Journal Inc. since 1995, writing features and special sections for all its publications....