Wednesday Tours

Wednesday has three fantastic tour options that all conclude at Millennium Park and include dinner with a cash bar available.

Wednesday Tours & Dinner

-Part of the AAS/NGB 2-day registration option

Wednesday, July 31

Three tour options, finishing with dinner at Millennium Park. Please review the Park's security information before planning your visit.

Part of the Core Symposium Registration or register for the day.

Core Symposium Member Registration: $589 Regular Rate

Core Symposium Non-Member Registration: $859 Regular Rate

Wednesday Only Member Registration: $299 Regular Rate

Wednesday Only Non-Member Registration: $419 Regular Rate

 

Tour Option 1: Chicago Botanic Garden & City Tour

-AAS/NGB attendees should register for Tour Option 1

photo of Chalet, credit: Kyle Lambert

8:00 AM - 8:30 PM (with option to return at 10:30 following fireworks*)

The Chicago Botanic Garden & City Tour will visit Lurvey’s, the Chicago Botanic Garden, Chalet Nursery & Garden Center, and Lurie Garden and Millenium Park with the option to walk to Shedd Aquarium and Northerly Island.  This tour plans to have rolling buses that leave at different times from Chicago Botanic Garden and Chalet. Please note these rolling buses will only leave when completely full to ensure there is plenty of room for everyone to get to the next location. Dinner will be at Millennium Park.

Lurveys Garden Center

As a company, Lurvey is dedicated to helping people improve their outdoor living spaces by providing quality landscape products and exceptional customer service. Their vast inventory and service offerings – enhanced by the interaction between their Turf Nursery, Landscape Supply, and Garden Center – demonstrate their capacity to bring your vision for your landscape into reality. Lurvey strives to be a convenient one-stop supplier and invaluable partner to customers by offering the largest-variety and highest-quality plant and hardscape material in Chicago.

Chicago Botanic Garden

The Chicago Botanic Garden opened more than 40 years ago as a beautiful place to visit, and it has matured into one of the world's great living museums and conservation science centers. Every year, more than one million people visit the Garden's 27 gardens and four natural areas, uniquely situated on 385 acres on and around nine islands, with six miles of lake shoreline. The Garden also has a renowned Bonsai Collection.

The Chicago Botanic Garden has 50,000 members—one of the largest memberships of any U.S. botanic garden. People of all ages, interests, and abilities participate in programs, take classes, and stroll the grounds year-round. Within the nine laboratories of the Garden's Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Plant Conservation Science Center, scientists and graduate students conduct a wide array of plant research. The Garden is one of only 17 public gardens accredited by the American Association of Museums. Its Lenhardt Library contains 150,000 volumes—including one of the nation's best collections of rare botanical books.

Chalet Nursery & Garden Center

Chalet is deep-rooted in history as a third-generation, family-owned, local business entering our 100th year serving the North Shore. From our humble beginnings as a self-started yard care business by L.J. Thalmann, we have grown to incorporate multiple divisions, increasing the Chalet offerings. The expansion of our Landscape Division and the addition of Chalet Farms are just a few of the transformations that have helped shape Chalet.

Chalet has been recognized by its peers and named "Innovator of the Year" by Garden Center magazine. And as we step towards our 100 year anniversary, we consistently strive to serve our customers and community in exemplary fashion while helping to steward the earth.  

Lurie Garden

Lurie Garden in Millennium Park is an urban oasis emerging from a harmonious blend of symbolism, landscape design and ecological sensitivity.

Lurie Garden is made possible by an endowment gift made by the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Foundation and generous support of garden by private citizens, garden clubs, industry supporters, among many others. The Millennium Park Foundation manages and oversees the endowment, as well as the garden’s annual budget and operations.

An urban model of responsible horticulture, Lurie Garden provides a healthy habitat for a wide variety of plants and wildlife. Lurie Garden is a leader in cutting-edge design, responsible gardening practices and dynamic public programming in an urban environment.

The garden offers a four-season experience blending Chicago’s past, present and future with bold design, dramatic form and intimate spaces. Its design pays homage to Chicago’s transformation from flat marshland to innovative green city, or “Urbs in Horto” (City in a Garden).

Visitors find respite and inspiration in four seasons. In early spring, sun-hungry bulbs and perennials stretch through soil and begin anew. Summer and fall teem with the flutter of butterflies and birds. Winter’s seed heads and ornamental grasses capture snow and ice, creating graceful art forms. Lurie Garden is living art – a palette of texture and color blending Chicago’s unique culture, ecology, history and people.

Highlights of the garden include the dramatically lit, 15-foot-high “shoulder” hedge. This physical representation of Carl Sandburg’s famous description of the “City of Big Shoulders” encloses the garden on two sides and protects the delicate perennial garden. A graceful hardwood footbridge over shallow water divides the garden diagonally between “light” and “dark” plates.

Millennium Park, Dinner & Cash Bar

Millennium Park boasts one of the most impressive collections of public art in the world. Chicago's iconic sculpture Cloud Gate (aka "The Bean") takes the top spot, but there are more artful surprises to be found: from a pair of water-spouting digital fountains to a Frank Gehry-designed showstopper, the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. Attendees can tour the park while heading to the Pavilion's rooftop for a dinner and cash bar where we will enjoy the sounds of the Symphony below. An option to take the *later bus home allows Attendees to stay for the fireworks show. This is truly an unforgettable experience and has been made possible by the support of Lurie Garden and Millennium Park Foundation. 

Tour Option 2: Taste of Chicago Grower Tour

photo of Hoffie Nursery, credit: Allyson Hoffmeyer

7:00 AM - 8:30 PM (with option to return at 10:30 following fireworks*)

The Taste of Chicago Grower Tour will visit Hampshire Farms, Hoffie Nursery /  GET Group, Mariani Plants, Countryside Nursery & Garden Center, and Lurie Garden and Millennium Park with an option to walk to the Shedd Aquarium and Northerly Island.  Dinner will be at Millennium Park.

Hampshire Farms

Year after year your Hampshire Farms perennials will provide beautiful blooms. Whether you have a full sun or full shade landscape, Hampshire Farms can provide all of those and everything in between.  Our perennial plants come in a vast array of flower and foliage colors, heights and shapes. Many varieties bloom during all times of the season to give your garden constant color. Our detailed tags give you all of the information you need to plant and care for your perennials.

Hoffie Nursery / GET Group

Carsten and Allyson Hoffmeyer began Hoffie Nursery, Inc. in 1990. Carsten's dream had always been to grow –PERENNIAL QUALITY™– plants for garden centers and landscapers. That dream has evolved into Hoffie being one of the leading wholesale perennials growers in the Chicagoland area.Through the years, we have increased our plant selection to over 600 different varieties, 45 acres of land, 167 quonset houses, heated greenhouses, automated irrigation, our brand name labels, computerized inventory, box trucks and semi trucks with rail-gates, more employees and much more experience. What will never change is our pride in growing the highest quality plant material on the market.

GET Group, Inc. was established in the fall of 2002 as a producer of perennial liners.  GET Group, Inc. is an offspring of our parent company, Hoffie Nursery, Inc. which began in 1990 as a wholesale grower of finished perennials, ornamental grasses, ferns, fall asters, mums, cabbage and kale. We did much of our own propagation for Hoffie Nursery and saw a significant improvement in the finished product when using our high quality liners Right from the GET go! We, Carsten and Allyson Hoffmeyer, then decided to begin GET Group as a separate and new company, to produce and supply liners to the wholesale market. The name GET, incidentally, are the initials of our children Gretel, Emily and Torben.

Mariani Plants

Our journey began in 1992 on 167 acres in southern Wisconsin, our loyal customers motivated and challenged us to expand and produce more quality plant material. Today, Mariani Plants has grown to 550 acres in Kenosha, WI, 120 acres of  Container/Propagation Shrubs & Perennials and 40 acres of Evergreens in Garden Prairie, IL.

In 2008 Mariani Plants started a 1 gallon Perennial program. Today we grow over 400 varieties of the latest and greatest Perennials and Grasses while never turning our backs on the tried and true.  We strive to ship out retail-ready quality whether it’s for a shopping mall or for Garden Center end caps.  Each week we produce a bud and bloom list along with the most recent photos of our hottest plants.  We believe our quality and service can meet all of your Perennial needs. 

Countryside Nursery & Garden Center

We established our roots in McHenry County, Illinois back in 1960 and have been growing ever since. Our beautiful 28 acre location in Crystal Lake is home to an extensive nursery center stocked with the healthiest plants, as well as numerous greenhouses filled with locally grown plants and vegetables. Looking for garden supplies? Our garden center has everything you’ll need from tools to fertilizers, pond supplies to bird feeders. And for all the seasons of life, our talented, award winning florists in the Countryside flower shop are here to help you celebrate birthdays, create wedding dreams, or memorialize friends and loved ones. Our experienced landscape team travels throughout Northern Illinois to create some of the most beautiful landscapes. 

Lurie Garden

Lurie Garden in Millennium Park is an urban oasis emerging from a harmonious blend of symbolism, landscape design and ecological sensitivity.

Lurie Garden is made possible by an endowment gift made by the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Foundation and generous support of garden by private citizens, garden clubs, industry supporters, among many others. The Millennium Park Foundation manages and oversees the endowment, as well as the garden’s annual budget and operations.

An urban model of responsible horticulture, Lurie Garden provides a healthy habitat for a wide variety of plants and wildlife. Lurie Garden is a leader in cutting-edge design, responsible gardening practices and dynamic public programming in an urban environment.

The garden offers a four-season experience blending Chicago’s past, present and future with bold design, dramatic form and intimate spaces. Its design pays homage to Chicago’s transformation from flat marshland to innovative green city, or “Urbs in Horto” (City in a Garden).

Visitors find respite and inspiration in four seasons. In early spring, sun-hungry bulbs and perennials stretch through soil and begin anew. Summer and fall teem with the flutter of butterflies and birds. Winter’s seed heads and ornamental grasses capture snow and ice, creating graceful art forms. Lurie Garden is living art – a palette of texture and color blending Chicago’s unique culture, ecology, history and people.

Highlights of the garden include the dramatically lit, 15-foot-high “shoulder” hedge. This physical representation of Carl Sandburg’s famous description of the “City of Big Shoulders” encloses the garden on two sides and protects the delicate perennial garden. A graceful hardwood footbridge over shallow water divides the garden diagonally between “light” and “dark” plates.

Millennium Park, Dinner & Cash Bar

Millennium Park boasts one of the most impressive collections of public art in the world. Chicago's iconic sculpture Cloud Gate (aka "The Bean") takes the top spot, but there are more artful surprises to be found: from a pair of water-spouting digital fountains to a Frank Gehry-designed showstopper, the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. Attendees can tour the park while heading to the Pavilion's rooftop for a dinner and cash bar where we will enjoy the sounds of the Symphony below. An option to take the *later bus home allows Attendees to stay for the fireworks show. This is truly an unforgettable experience and has been made possible by the support of Lurie Garden and Millennium Park Foundation. 


Tour Option 3: Chicago Gardens with Purpose Tour

photo of Gethsemane Garden Center, credit: Kyle Lambert

7:30 AM - 8:30 PM (with option to return at 10:30 following fireworks*)

The Chicago Gardens with Purpose Tour will visit Gethsemane Garden Center, Whole Foods, Christy Webber’s Rancho Verde, Garfield Park Conservatory, Farm on Ogden, McCormick Rooftop, and Lurie Garden and Millennium Park with an option to walk to the Shedd Aquarium and Northerly Island.  Dinner will be at Millennium Park.

Gethsemane Garden Center

Gethsemane Garden Center has proudly served Chicago’s gardening needs for almost forty years. Family owned and operated, our knowledgeable staff is passionate about flora and dedicated to providing you with the highest quality plant material and customer service in Chicagoland. We take the concept of buying locally to heart and are committed to supporting local, family run farms and greenhouses, some of which grow solely for us. This allows us to quickly respond to the unique needs and tastes of our diverse community and to make certain that we always have a great selection and variety of plants throughout the growing seasons.

Nestled at the border of Edgewater and Andersonville, Gethsemane is also firmly committed to supporting our community. We do this every day by creating quality jobs for our local residents. We give back through street beautification projects and foster neighborhood camaraderie by hosting free holiday celebrations. We also sponsor an active philanthropic program that focuses on targeted giving within our surrounding area. We are just bursting with neighborhood pride and are thrilled that Gethsemane brings so many of you to our “neck of the woods” to see firsthand just what a wonderful and vibrant part of the city we inhabit.

Our goal is to make Gethsemane into a place for you to meet your neighbors, share ideas, and be inspired to personally create a landscape for your home. So, we want to take this opportunity to thank you for visiting us and for letting Gethsemane help your garden grow.

Whole Foods Living Wall

Surrounded on three sides, this Whole Foods sports a 10 foot tall living wall totally 4,740 square feet in area. The structure uses modular planter boxes filled with 5,000 customized plant selections from a palette of seven different perennials. We will drive by this wall to take a look!

Christy Webber's Rancho Verde

Christy Webber Landscapes is a full-service landscape provider that maintains over 450 single-family homes around Chicago. They are best known for their impressive plantings in Millennium Park, Museum Campus and Soldier Field. Their headquarters, a LEED Platinum building, is known as Rancho Verde, a 12.5-acre industrial park on Chicago’s west side. Rancho Verde has won numerous awards for its innovative, environmentally-sensitive approach to the redevelopment of a brownfield site. It features wind turbines, solar panels, a green roof, geo-thermal heating and more.

Garfield Park Conservatory

Chicago’s Garfield Park Conservatory is one of the largest and most stunning botanical conservatories in the nation. Often referred to as “landscape art under glass,” the Conservatory showcases thousands of plant species from around the world throughout eight indoor display gardens. Year-round, visitors can enjoy the lush flora and tropical temperatures indoors, or more than 10 acres of outdoor gardens, nature play spaces for children, water lily pond, and much more. Whether you’re visiting to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life, or joining us for an upcoming program or event, we hope you enjoy your visit to Garfield Park Conservatory!

 

Farm on Ogden 

 

The Farm on Ogden supports and sustains a healthy urban community by bringing food, health, and jobs together in one location. The multiuse facility, located in the Lawndale neighborhood of Chicago, is project of the Chicago Botanic Garden and Lawndale Christian Health Center (LCHC). The two partners take a “whole person” approach to community health and wellness. The Farm on Ogden is managed by Windy City Harvest, the Garden’s urban agriculture program, in partnership with LCHC. The Farm on Ogden offers Jobs Training, Urban Farming, Indoor Food Production, Food as Medicine, Farm Stand and Food Aggregation, as well as Commercial and Teaching Kitchens.

 

Legends Farm (see *Note)

This two-acre urban farm is a collaboration among Windy City Harvest, the Chicago Housing Authority, and Brinshore-Michaels, the site developer. This site serves as an incubator for six small farm businesses independently operated by graduates of the Windy City Harvest Apprenticeship program and Business and Entrepreneurship for Local Foods course. Its incubator function is supported by a USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) grant. This site reflects a wind-row approach to growing on land that has contamination issues: geotextile fabric covers the site, and compost-filled beds are contained by timbers that keep paths neat. This site has multiple one-eighth-acre farm plots, as well as shared-use tool storage, a Good Agricultural Practices-approved wash-pack station, hoophouse propagation space, and a community allotment garden. (*Note this stop is a change in the schedule. McCormick Rooftop was originally part of this tour but had to cancel the visit.)

 Lurie Garden

Lurie Garden in Millennium Park is an urban oasis emerging from a harmonious blend of symbolism, landscape design and ecological sensitivity.

Lurie Garden is made possible by an endowment gift made by the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Foundation and generous support of garden by private citizens, garden clubs, industry supporters, among many others. The Millennium Park Foundation manages and oversees the endowment, as well as the garden’s annual budget and operations.

An urban model of responsible horticulture, Lurie Garden provides a healthy habitat for a wide variety of plants and wildlife. Lurie Garden is a leader in cutting-edge design, responsible gardening practices and dynamic public programming in an urban environment.

The garden offers a four-season experience blending Chicago’s past, present and future with bold design, dramatic form and intimate spaces. Its design pays homage to Chicago’s transformation from flat marshland to innovative green city, or “Urbs in Horto” (City in a Garden).

Visitors find respite and inspiration in four seasons. In early spring, sun-hungry bulbs and perennials stretch through soil and begin anew. Summer and fall teem with the flutter of butterflies and birds. Winter’s seed heads and ornamental grasses capture snow and ice, creating graceful art forms. Lurie Garden is living art – a palette of texture and color blending Chicago’s unique culture, ecology, history and people.

Highlights of the garden include the dramatically lit, 15-foot-high “shoulder” hedge. This physical representation of Carl Sandburg’s famous description of the “City of Big Shoulders” encloses the garden on two sides and protects the delicate perennial garden. A graceful hardwood footbridge over shallow water divides the garden diagonally between “light” and “dark” plates.

Millennium Park, Dinner & Cash Bar

Millennium Park boasts one of the most impressive collections of public art in the world. Chicago's iconic sculpture Cloud Gate (aka "The Bean") takes the top spot, but there are more artful surprises to be found: from a pair of water-spouting digital fountains to a Frank Gehry-designed showstopper, the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. Attendees can tour the park while heading to the Pavilion's rooftop for a dinner and cash bar where we will enjoy the sounds of the Symphony below. An option to take the *later bus home allows Attendees to stay for the fireworks show. This is truly an unforgettable experience and has been made possible by the support of Lurie Garden and Millennium Park Foundation. 

 

*Late bus option must have sufficient pre-registration numbers or will be subject to cancellation.

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