The President's Circle


In gardening as well as life, we are aware of the changes from one season to another. Spring, when plants awake, is a hopeful season of renewal. In summer, abundant beauty and warm temperatures enhance our appreciation of nature. But, typically, fall can feel like a season that is more like an end than a beginning.

However, now that I see the Garden every day, I have grown to appreciate autumn’s changes in a new way. Temperatures must drop below freezing and the growing season must end, to bring about the cycle of renewal. Plants rest to regenerate their strength to grow anew and again share their harvest. Falling leaves are turned into compost to nourish the soil. Rain and snowfall replenish aquifers and fortify plants that were stressed by late- season drought. And spring-flowering bulbs now being planted—living storehouses of the sun’s energy—begin growing underground, sustaining us with their promise of future beauty.

In this season, as in every season, I hope you find time to walk through the Garden. If only for a moment, stop and reflect on the complex and changing beauty of what you see — and what now lies hidden—from our eyes—underground. No matter which season we are in, the seen and unseen beauty of the natural world has the power to comfort and inspire us all.

I look forward to seeing you, my President’s Circle friends, during a walk or at one of the special events planned for this fall. When our paths do cross, let us savor the moment and the companionship this season of hope and trust in the future brings.

My best wishes to you for a happy and healthy fall,

Sophia Siskel
President & CEO
Chicago Botanic Garden