Super Seed Saturday

Saturday, January 20, 2024
Regenstein Center
Special Hours: The Garden is open until 4 p.m. 

Hear from experts, explore behind-the-scenes, swap seeds with gardeners


  • Free admission to Super Seed Saturday events; preregistration is not required for the Seed Swap
  • Registration is requested for the free lecture
  • Registration is required for the free tours of the Dixon National Tallgrass Prairie Seed Bank & the Rare Book Room 
  • Regular parking and Garden admission fees apply for nonmembers


11th Annual Seed Swap  
Burnstein Hall and Krehbiel Gallery, 2 – 4 p.m.

  • The purpose of this program is to encourage gardeners to come together to share/swap seeds and to learn more about starting seeds, saving seeds, and related topics. (Participants are not required to bring seeds to share/swap. They can also just come and take some seeds home.)
  • Gardeners are invited to bring saved seed and leftover seed packets to share and swap with other gardeners.
  • Chicago Botanic Garden staff and volunteers, as well as outside guests, will have displays and will be available to answer questions and talk with Seed Swap attendees.
Seed Swap

Alsdorf Auditorium, 1 p.m.

  • Speaker: Jennifer Jewell  
    Jewell is a gardener, garden writer, and gardening educator and advocate. Since 2016, she has written and hosted the national award-winning, weekly public radio program and podcast, Cultivating Place, a co-production of North State Public Radio in Chico, California.
  • Presentation: What We Sow     
    From Jewell’s new book of the same title, she reveals the power of seeds in our world, "for food, for medicine, for utility, for the vast interconnected web we include in the concept of biodiversity and planetary health, for beauty, and for culture."
  • Book Signing: Burnstein Hall, 2 p.m.     
    Following her keynote presentation Jennifer Jewell will be signing copies of new latest publication, What We Sow: On the Personal, Ecological, and Cultural Significance of Seeds.

Tour — The Dixon National Tallgrass Prairie Seed Bank  
Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Plant Conservation Science Center, 10 – 11 a.m.

  • Did you know the Chicago Botanic Garden has a seed bank? Take a rare, behind-the-scenes tour of the Dixon National Tallgrass Prairie Seed Bank in the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Plant Conservation Science Center with Dave Sollenberger, seed bank manager, and learn more about this crucial work. See the state-of-the-art lab—including all the unique seed prep equipment—and learn the multiple steps to seed banking from the seeds’ arrival to long-term storage.
  • Limited to 12 participants.

Seeds of Yesteryear: Selections from the Rare Book Collection  
Lenhardt Library, 11 a.m. – noon

  • Go back in time through this viewing of seed catalog selections from the Lenhardt Library’s Rare Book Collection. Donna Herendeen, Lenhardt Library manager of public services, presents a variety of colorful seed catalogs from the late 1800s to early 1900s, including a rare “salesman’s sample” catalog from Chautauqua Nurseries that features plates joined by ribbons, bound accordion-style, and all in its own carrying case.
  • Limited to 15 participants.