Garden History

1976
Education Center Education Center Opened

Designed by Edward Larabee Barnes, the new facility was dedicated and opened to the public. The Library’s collection of 6,000 books was moved to the facility. The resource is housed in what is currently called the Regenstein Center.

1977
Chicago Horticultural Society President and Director Appointed

Dr. Roy Mecklenburg was appointed Chicago Horticultural Society President and Director.

First Plant Census

The Garden’s first plant census was conducted, tallying 13,837 trees and shrubs.

First Bonsai Show First Bonsai Show

The Midwest Bonsai Society hosted its first Mid-America Bonsai Show and Sale at the Garden.

1978
Interns Student Intern Program Launched

Horticulturists-to-be were welcomed to the Garden to gain knowledge and practical skills through hands-on work.

Plant Information Service Began

Master Gardeners and Horticulture Specialists provide the following services to Garden visitors and callers on the Plant Information Hotline.

1979
Prairie construction Prairie Restoration Received Support

The MacArthur Foundation awarded a grant for the future planning and development of an educational prairie restoration set to begin in 1980.

1980
Sign from 1987 Chicago Botanic Garden Officially Named

The Botanic Garden of the Chicago Horticultural Society was formally dedicated as the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Floating Lake Fountain Floating Lake Fountain Dedicated

Located in front of the North Lawn, the fountain was dedicated in memory of Emily Birnie and Harold Cornelius Smith.

Weed Sale Weed Sale Debut

Volunteers hosted the Garden’s first Weed Sale. Currently, this event is called the Roadside Flower Sale.

1981
new greenhouses Greenhouse Completed

A 12,000 square-foot greenhouse was given to the Garden to help meet production space needs. In 2011, the Garden grew 250,000 plants. 

Farwell Landscape Garden Edith and Albert Farwell Landscape Garden Opened

Visitors to this garden began to see an array of planting options for their own home landscaping needs.

Shoin House Shoin House Assembled

Seven carpenters took one year to complete this building in the soon-to-open Japanese Garden designed by Koichi Kawana. No nails were used in the original construction. Shoin House is a tribute to traditional Samurai retreat quarters – a place of peace and tranquility. 

1982
Garden Established as Weather Station

Instruments were installed south of the research building, allowing the Garden to become part of the Agricultural Weather Network for Illinois.

Japanese Garden Dedication Japanese Garden Dedicated

The plants and elements of Sansho-En (Garden of Three Islands) evoke Japanese symbolism. The garden is a tribute to beauty and pure form.

Shade Evaluation Garden Shade Evaluation Garden Opened

Scientists began to study plants grown in this evaluation garden to determine which species thrive best in shaded areas.

Horticultural Therapy Offered Horticultural Therapy Offered

The Garden conducted horticultural therapy programs in nine Chicago-area care facilities.

1983
Bulb Garden Aquatic and Bulb Gardens Dedicated

The Kresge Aquatic Garden and Edna Kanaly Graham Bulb Garden were dedicated as part of the Home Landscape Demonstration Gardens.

Linnaeus Sculpture Dedicated Heritage Garden and Linnaeus Sculpture Dedicated

The Gertrude B. Nielsen Heritage Garden and the Carolus Linnaeus sculpture by Robert Berks opened and were dedicated.

1984
Naturalistic Garden Ellen Thorne Smith Naturalistic Garden Opened

Woodland, prairie, and habitat demonstration gardens began to show visitors the plants that thrive in each ecosystem.