Welcome to the University of Chicago Botanic Garden. There are many links to explore on the website, including walking tours, historical context of the campus and gardens, slide shows of the current campus gardens, donor gardens, as well as some great historic images from the early days of the university.
The campus is often described as an oasis in the middle of the city of Chicago, and the development of the campus as a botanic garden has certainly added to that notion. Within the main quadrangles of the original campus, designed as an interconnected academic village, various gardens have been introduced through the years, starting with the Kramer Beds flanking the walk to Levi Hall, to the newest gardens currently under development. But the gardens have also spread throughout the 217-acre Hyde Park campus, as new capital projects add to the variety of plant materials and garden spaces, and donor gardens enhance existing spaces. The challenges of gardening on the Chicago lakefront are many, but the variety of spaces found throughout the campus lend themselves to a diverse environment, creating microclimates that allow us to grow plants not typically found in the Chicago region.
The initiative to develop the gardens was approved under the directive that whatever was installed needs to be maintained. We knew this would be the key to our success. Thus the close partnership with the Landscape Services Department began and has developed over the years, as staff has been sent to training, licensing, and are involved in the design process of every garden we propose. They are an important part of the overall initiative.
As with any garden, it is never the same from day to day or year to year. We will highlight these changes as the website is updated to showcase a specific plant on campus, a new garden under design, or we announce the seasonal transitions throughout the year. Please stop by frequently and then let us know what you think.