Chicago Gardens & Parks Tour

This trip has been cancelled.

September 8 through 11, 2022

A tour of world-class garden-based destinations for Reiman Gardens’ members with Director, Ed Lyon.

Most people have no idea how rich the Chicagoland area is in public gardens, private gardens and other horticultural based sites. However, the reputation for bad traffic keeps so many people from exploring all it has to offer.

We remove that obstacle for you! We will take a bus from Ames to Chicagoland – you can sit back, relax and enjoy leaving those issues to the driver.


We will see some of the finest gardens in the country, including the Chicago Botanic Garden, the Morton Arboretum, Garfield Park and Conservatory, and one of my personal favorites, Cantigny Gardens on the McCormick estate.

We are especially excited for you to see the Alebrijes exhibit at Cantigny and the mind-blowing Human+Nature exhibit at the Morton. The Morton is one of the country’s largest arboreta but also includes ornamental areas around the visitor’s center and a large children’s garden. Cantigny is overlooked due to the larger sites but just went through several phases of multi-million-dollar renovations and we promise will impress you!

The Garfield Park Conservatory was designed by Jen Jensen and is sectioned into different “rooms’ which allow individual showcasing of plants such as the fern house, desert biomes, tropical and others as well as outdoor gardens, kitchen gardens and a children’s nature play area. Chicago Botanic is one of the nation’s finest and we will use a tram to orient you to the acres of themed areas.


We have a bus with room to bring back plants! I have included both Hornbaker Gardens and Blumen Gardens on other trips and both get rave reviews for plant selections hard to find in central Iowa. If you are a gardener, you will want to start saving some money now!


One of the most well-known landscape designers in the country also has exquisite gardens not accessible by the general public. The Gardens at 900 were created around the two gate houses of the A. Watson and Elsa Armour estate (now a subdivision!) designed by famed architect David Adler. Craig’s gardens feature formal English garden design, a shade garden, orchard and swimming pool.

We will have a real treat for you in Camp Rosemary. Posy Krehbiel’s estate is probably the finest English garden inspired site in America that are open only for very limited and select groups. The house was built for the president of Carson, Pirie Scott and Co by famed architect Benjamin H. Marshall, who designed the Drake Hotel. The gardens will blow your mind. You heard of English perennial borders 18-20 feet deep but have never seen them? You will here.


Two projects are considered the greatest modern achievements in public parks in modern history – the High Line in New York City and Millennium Park in Chicago. Millennium Park on famed Michigan Avenue (“the Magnificent Mile”) is home to the highly recognizable Cloud Gate (“The Bean”), the enormous Jay Pritzer Pavilion, Maggie Daley Park and much more including Lurie Gardens. The 3.5 acres Gardens are a spectacular example of naturalized plantings in limited soil depth due to being built over parking garages and designed by world-renowned Piet Oudolf.

If you love gardens and gardening, you will enjoy this tour. Director Ed Lyon knows all of these sites intimately and will beat any other tour guide with horticultural knowledge. He has personally picked the sites as his favorites and includes ones that you could never see otherwise. Chicago gardens without the driving hassles – don’t miss this!

See the trip details and information here.