Chicago Botanic Garden Turns 50 and Celebrates with Art

Image credit: James Prinz



The Chicago Botanic Garden is a favorite suburban escape for my family. We even love the drive, knowing that in just 30-40 minutes we can escape the city and end up in a verdant wonderland of plants, sculpture and suburbanites on bicycles. My own children love to run through the rose and English gardens in particular. 

This spring/summer CBG is commemorating its extraordinary growth over the last five decades and marking its 50th birthday in 2022 with Flourish: The Garden at 50, running through September 25. Members, visitors, and program participants are invited to celebrate 50 years of the Garden connecting people to the natural world. In particular they are invited to admire the art specially commissioned to make this anniversary. Participating artists include Edra Soto, Faheem Majeed, Patrick Dougherty, Luke Jerram, and others. 

“What began as an ambitious vision to have Chicago’s own public garden is now 28 gardens and four natural areas in Glencoe, 16 community garden and farm sites in Chicago and Lake County, and dozens of conservation and restoration research sites around the country,” said Jean Franczyk, the Garden’s president and chief executive officer. “We are thankful to all who have shown up for nature, supported our conservation mission, and inspired us to keep imagining a future where people and planet thrive.”

The Rookery by Patrick Dougherty—Chapel Hill, NC


Flourish: The Garden at 50 features a series of Garden-wide experiences. Ten nature-inspired art installations from Chicago, national, and international artists have been created specifically for the Glencoe campus and Windy City Harvest’s Farm on Ogden, connecting people with nature in new ways. Splashes of gold-hued plants have been incorporated into the seasonal designs of the display gardens. Additionally, attendees will be invited to engage with interactive stories taking them back in time and transporting them to an imagined future for the Garden and pop-up events that will surprise and delight.

“The Garden is thriving due to the commitment of our members, visitors, and program participants over the last 50 years,” said Jodi Zombolo, associate vice president of Visitor Events and Programs. “We are excited for everyone to join our joyous birthday celebration.” 

Flourish: The Garden at 50 is open daily during the Garden’s general hours, which change seasonally. Visit chicagobotanic.org/flourish for more information. 

Some trivia and surprises shared by the Garden:

• Did you know that more than one million visitors now come to the Garden each year? Or that in 1972, that number was 20,000?

• The gardens have been designed with splashes of 50th anniversary gold throughout. Think of it as your own treasure hunt and find the gold plants.

• Every other weekend through September you are invited to engage in interactive, celebratory pop-up events. All activities are included with membership or general admission ticket, from Chicago Human Rhythm Project to an all-woman Mariachi serenade. View the calendar here


Of Earth and Sky by Luke Jerram—Bristol, UK and Keli Stewart—Chicago, IL



About Chicago Botanic Garden

The Chicago Botanic Garden, one of the treasures of the Forest Preserves of Cook County, is a 385-acre living plant museum featuring 28 distinct gardens and four natural areas. With events, programs, and activities for all ages, the Garden is open every day of the year. Located at 1000 Lake Cook Road in Glencoe, IL, the Garden is smoke free. Opened to the public in 1972, the Garden is managed by the Chicago Horticultural Society, accredited by the American Association of Museums, and a member of the American Public Gardens Association (APGA).