The President's Circle

Welcome to the July E-Newsletter


Dear President’s Circle Member,

It's high summer at the Chicago Botanic Garden, and the living is easy—at least on the surface. Our 25 display gardens are in full bloom, and our four natural areas—McDonald Woods, Dixon Prairie, the Skokie River Corridor, and our Garden lakes—are at the peak of their growing season. Visitors entering the Garden discover a world of seemingly effortless beauty. Behind the scenes, however, it's a different story. Growing and maintaining the Garden's 2.5 million plants and their environments is demanding work—especially this summer, due to the heat and lack of rain. I can't walk through the Garden without thinking gratefully of our staff and volunteers who make it happen.

In mid-June the North Lake began refilling, and by the time you read this, the muddy lakebed will have disappeared, replaced by 50 million gallons of water largely supplied by a deep underground aquifer and supplemented with rainfall. The 120,000 plants added along the North Lake's 4.4 miles of shoreline constitute the largest perennial planting project in the Garden's history.

Next month, the Kleinman Family Cove opens. Here in advance, exclusively for President's Circle members, is an article about the Cove that will appear in the fall issue of Keep Growing. Don't forget to visit our web pages on the Learning Campus for a full perspective of this important capital project.


You're invited!

Happy HourHappy Hour in the Grunsfeld Children's Growing Garden

Thursday, August 23
5 to 7 p.m.
$15 per person


Celebrate summer and the Chicago Botanic Garden's 25th display garden while enjoying refreshments, good company, and a lovely warm evening in the new Grunsfeld Children's Growing Garden. Supported by Bartlett Tree Experts.

Register online or call the President's Circle at (847) 835-6925.


Open HousesGreen Youth Farm and Windy City Harvest Open Houses

Discover how the Chicago Botanic Garden's urban agriculture programs are building healthier Chicago communities. Attend one of these open houses—or all of them—from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Guided tours and a farm-fresh lunch await you! (Parking is available in designated lots, except for North Lawndale, which has easy street parking.)

Wednesday, July 25: Washington Park
Wednesday, August 1: Jr. Green Youth Farm
Wednesday, August 8: North Lawndale
Wednesday, August 15: North/Chicago Waukegan
Wednesday, September 12: Windy City Harvest

R.S.V.P. online or call (847) 835-6907.


photo album

Photo AlbumSummer Dinner Dance

More than 350 guests gathered on June 22 to celebrate the Garden's 40th anniversary at the ninth annual Summer Dinner Dance. The gala raised $500,000 for the Garden's conservation, education, and research programs. Sponsored by JPMorgan Chase & Co.


save the date


Kris Jarantoski40th Anniversary Celebration and History of the Garden

Tuesday, October 2
Presented by Kris Jarantoski,
executive vice president and director of the Chicago Botanic Garden


Plan to attend this informative and entertaining gathering! Details will follow in upcoming President's Circle newsletters.


WEX PreviewPresident's Circle and Guild Wonderland Express Family Celebration

Tuesday, November 20

This special evening features fun for the entire family, including a preview of the Wonderland Express exhibition.



Every three years, a President's Circle member steps forward to accept the responsibility of guiding our membership. This year Betsy Hough will join Ben Lenhardt as the new co-chair. Betsy has been a member of the Woman's Board for five years, has served as board treasurer, and is a five-year President's Circle member.

I would like to offer a sincere thank you to the outgoing co-chair, Jane O'Neil. If I had to choose one word to describe Jane, it would be, simply, "amazing." With indefatigable energy and a keen sense of style, Jane has helped make the Garden's annual Antiques & Garden Fair the most anticipated event of the spring season; has led outstanding trips for President's Circle members; has organized President's Circle events; and, after serving on the Garden's board of directors for eight years, recently was awarded the great honor of Life Director status. Jane has been a remarkable mentor, one of the Garden's strongest "cheerleaders," and a joy to work with. I look forward to seeing her at many Garden events in coming years.

Here's to enjoying high summer, inside and outside of the Garden!

All the best,


Sophia Siskel
President & CEO
Chicago Botanic Garden


Sophia Siskel
President & CEO

Betsy Hough
Ben Lenhardt
President’s Circle
Co-chairs

In This Issue:

Happy Hour
   Grunsfeld Garden
Open Houses
Photo Album
40th Anniversary
WEX Preview