The award-winning Daniel F. Ada L. Rice Plant Conservation Science Center features science laboratories and two notable garden areas: the Woman's Board of the Chicago Horticultural Society Rainwater Glen and the Green Roof Garden, including the Ellis Goodman Family Foundation Green Roof Garden South and the Josephine P. & John J. Louis Foundation Green Roof Garden North.
The Rainwater Glen
The shallow, troughlike depression that surrounds the Plant Science Center is called the Rainwater Glen, and it functions like a river’s floodplain. Though beautiful, it is above all practical: designed to hold back stormwater runoff, it allows deep-rooted native plants to facilitate absorption and help filter impurities. The native plants in the Rainwater Glen have reduced the need for irrigation by half, and no potable water is used for irrigation. The Rainwater Glen contributes to improved water quality at the Chicago Botanic Garden and to the health of each of the ecosystems it flows through.
Find out how to make your own rain garden. Download a brochure here.
The Green Roof Garden
The Plant Science Center features a green roof garden that serves as a living laboratory. In addition to being the subject of research by Garden scientists, the Green Roof Garden functions as an outdoor classroom to thousands of Garden visitors annually. The 16,000-square-foot green roof is accessible to the public via a grand staircase. An overlook with interpretive panels educates visitors about all aspects of rooftop gardens.
Two distinct areas serve specific functions: the Ellis Goodman Family Foundation Green Roof Garden South features regional and national native plants, many of which are not currently used as rooftop plants; the Josephine P. & John J. Louis Foundation Green Roof Garden North features a mix of plants known as good green roof plants, plus native and exotic plants that have potential for green roof use. Generally, the plants are sun loving, drought tolerant, have a shallow root system, and can withstand windy conditions.
Find out more about the Green Roof Garden.