The Horticulture staff grows plants and maintains the display gardens and general grounds. The dazzling displays of flowers, breathtaking scenes, sculpted trees and shrubs, and bounteous fruits and vegetables are all due to the high level of skill and expertise the Garden's horticulture staff possess.
There are many layers of design, and every detail is attended to. The Garden has followed strong master site plans developed since the 1960s by the former firm of Environmental Planning and Design (EPD) in Pittsburgh. This has served to organize and integrate the various landscape experiences throughout the Chicago Botanic Garden. The Garden's most recent master site plan (the first not designed by EPD) can be found on this site at strategicplan.chicagobotanic.org.
Environmental Planning and Design also designed many of the Garden's earliest gardens, including the Landscape Garden, Fruit & Vegetable Garden, Heritage Garden, and Waterfall Garden. Specialized designers were brought in for unique gardens, such as the late Koichi Kawana for the Japanese Garden and John Brookes for the English Walled Garden.
Although the Garden is a great teaching and scientific garden, most of its constituents enjoy it for its beauty. Because of that, the Garden has sought out the top landscape architects to design its display gardens. The firms of Dan Kiley (Administration Building and Esplanade); Oehme, van Sweden & Associates (Gardens of the Great Basin, Science Campus, and Kleinman Family Cove); and Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (Spider Island) have all left their imprint on the Garden. Local landscape architects such as Scott Byron (Grunsfeld Children's Growing Garden) and Hoerr Schaudt (Dwarf Conifer Garden) have also designed at the Garden. Craig Bergmann and Doug Hoerr have redesigned older sections of the Garden and given input on seasonal displays, or the "wows" seen in the Garden. Renowned landscape designer Mikyoung Kim provided the concept vision for the Learning Campus Garden, and the noted Belgian firm Wirtz International Landscape Architects designed a shade garden for the Kris Jarantoski Campus.