Garden History

1985
Regenstein Fruit & Vegetable Garden Regenstein Fruit & Vegetable Garden Opened

The 3.8-acre demonstration garden opened with the largest fruit and vegetable display in the Midwest.

Rose Garden Opens Bruce Krasberg Rose Garden Opened

This garden began to display the best rose varieties for use in the Upper Midwest.

Prairie planted Mesic Prairie Opened

The area became a demonstration of a native Illinois tallgrass prairie. Currently, the site is called the Dixon Prairie. 

Master Gardeners class Master Gardeners Training Program Inaugurated

The Garden’s Plant Information Service launched its Master Gardeners Training Program as part of the University of Illinois Cooperative Extension Service.

Dr. Roy Taylor New Director Appointed

Dr. Roy L. Taylor became the Director, CEO, and Chicago Horticultural Society president.

Sounding Sculpture Sounding Sculpture Donated

This piece by Harry Bertoia was given by the friends of Mr. and Mrs. Ralph A. Bard, Jr., and continues to stand between the Rose Garden and the Linden Allée.

1986
Carillon in pieces Carillon Dedicated

The 48-bell, 60-foot-tall Theodore C. Butz Memorial Carillon was dedicated.

Garden Received Accreditation

The Chicago Botanic Garden was accredited by the American Association of Museums. This accreditation is renewed every 10 years.

Chicagoland Grows logo Chicagoland Grows Established

The partnership with The Morton Arboretum and the Ornamental Growers Association of Illinois is dedicated to evaluating, selecting, producing, and marketing new plant cultivars.

Garden Visited by British Royalty Garden Visited by British Royalty

HRH Princess Margaret of Britain participated in the groundbreaking of the English Walled Garden.

1987
First Computerized Plant Census Conducted

A plant census tallied 735,998 plants.

CORE program Two Education Programs Launched

Collaborative Out Reach Education (CORE) and Environmental Education Awareness Program (EEAP) provided horticultural programming in schools.

Sensory Garden Sensory Garden Dedicated

The William T. Bacon Sensory Garden for the Visually Impaired was dedicated and visitors took the first self-guided audio tours.

Greenhouses dedication Education Center Greenhouses Dedicated

The Nancy Race Educational Greenhouses were dedicated, delighting visitors with plants from warmer climates. They continue to feature a desert oasis, tropical, and temperate areas.

1988
Dwarf Conifer Garden Opening Dwarf Conifer Garden Opened

This four-season hillside garden showcased 150 different kinds of dwarf and slow-growing conifers. This garden was redesigned and reopened in 2008.

Waterfall Garden Construction James Brown IV Waterfall Garden Opened

A 45-foot waterfall unfurled down a hillside, providing a unique setting to demonstrate the seasonal adaptation of nearly 26,000 plants and trees.

1989
First Lady Barbara Bush Visits the Garden First Lady Barbara Bush Visited the Garden

The First Lady was delighted by her visit to the Chicago Botanic Garden.

1990
Maintenance Building opens Maintenance Building Completed

All Garden vehicles and equipment were serviced in this building.

Centennial celebration 100th Anniversary Commemorated

The Chicago Horticultural Society, the Chicago Botanic Garden’s parent organization, celebrated its 100th anniversary.

Perennial Evaluation Garden Opened Perennial Evaluation Garden Opened

This garden, where perennials are trialed for four-to-six years alongside shrubs and vines, opened. The site began to serve as a place for the evaluation of plant performance, winter hardiness, resistance to disease and insects, and more. It is currently called the Lavin Plant Evaluation Garden.