Garden History

2008
World Environment Day Celebrated World Environment Day Celebrated

The Garden celebrated its first World Environment Day, a United Nations commemoration of the importance of the natural world.

Ph.D. class N.U. Ph.D. Program Inaugurated

The Garden partnered with Northwestern University to offer a Ph.D. in Plant Biology and Conservation. The first students began in Fall 2009.

Dwarf Conifer Garden Renovation Dwarf Conifer Garden Renovated

Dwarf Conifer Garden reopened after renovation, showcasing a colorful range of cone-bearing plants. 

2009
Rice Plant Conservation Science Center Rice Plant Science Center Opened

Laboratories and teaching facilities were unveiled for use by more than 200 Ph.D. scientists, land managers, students, and interns. The 38,000-square-foot building was awarded a Gold LEED rating by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Green Roof Garden Green Roof Garden Unveiled

Atop the Plant Conservation Science Center, a 16,000 square-foot green roof garden was established. It became the largest, most encompassing such trial in the country with 40,000 plants representing 200 different species and cultivars.

Spooky Pooch Parade Spooky Pooch Parade Debut

The popular costume parade for dogs was moved from winter, when it was called the Reindog Parade, to fall when the weather is warmer.

2010
Strategic Plan website 10-Year Strategic Plan Launched

Keep Growing, the Garden's 10-year strategic plan, was launched. Goals were set to include: deepening impact across all program areas and audiences; broadening recognition locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally; improving health of natural world for present and future generations; fostering financial strength; and growing the Garden from “great” to “legendary.”

Fall Bulb Festival Fall Bulb Festival Debut

Featuring hundreds of varieties of bulbs, along with food, music, and activities, the first Fall Bulb Festival was held at the Garden with support from the Woman’s Board of the Chicago Horticultural Society.

2011
Lavin Plant Evaluation Garden Evaluation Garden Reopened

The Bernice E. Lavin Plant Evaluation Garden reopened following redesign.  On this site, scientists study plants to determine which are best suited for midwestern gardens and similar climates. The Lavin Evaluation Garden provides the opportunity to evaluate plants in a sunny area, while the Pullman Evaluation Garden provides a shady site in which to evaluate plants.

Trellis Bridge Trellis Bridge Opened

 The Bridge stretched across a waterscape, connecting Evening Island with the Lavin Evaluation Garden.

2012
40th Anniversary

The Chicago Botanic Garden turns 40.