Chicago Botanic Garden

Enjoy your visit — Past exhibitions

Great Gardens of the World

Piet Boon Garden
Piet Oudolf, designer
Photo: © Nicola Browne
2001, The Netherlands

Throughout history, gardens have reflected our vision of paradise. In an all-new public exhibition opening September 23, 2006—and coinciding with the unveiling of the Chicago Botanic Garden's newly renovated Education Center—In Search of Paradise: Great Gardens of the World expands visitors' imaginations as they embark on a sensory journey of contemporary gardens from around the globe.

With text by internationally known garden writer Penelope Hobhouse and including the writing of Charles Jencks, British architectural critic, writer and garden designer, more than 125 full-color photographs, many measuring 4 by 6 feet, tell the story of contemporary garden design.

"From Brazil to Singapore, from South Africa to Australia, our exhibition presents images of the world's great gardens by the world's preeminent garden photographers," says the manager of exhibitions at the Garden. "In Search of Paradise looks at how the use of new materials, a concern for ecology, and a desire to bring nature to urban environments has changed the look of contemporary garden design. Inspiring and innovative, these gardens—like contemporary art, literature and music—tell us who we are and what we value."

Villa Massei
Gil Cohen and Paul Gervais, designers
Photo: © Andrew Lawson
1980s, Lucca, Italy

In Search of Paradise explores a number of themes, including historic and contemporary gardens featuring water as their central design element. Other themes include the art and science of ecological gardening, and bringing nature to the city. Andy Cao, Kathryn Gustafson and Charles Jencks are just a few of the renowned garden designers featured. Photographers include Nicola Browne, Andrew Lawson and Alain Le Toquin, among others.

A hard-cover catalog and companion to the exhibit, In Search of Paradise: Great Gardens of the World, features more than 200 full-color illustrations of images and text from both this and the 2003 exhibition, In Search of Paradise: Centuries of Great Garden Design. Published by Frances Lincoln, London, the catalog may be purchased in the Garden shop for $45.