Chicago’s History of

Horticulture

The roots of the Chicago Flower & Garden Show can be traced back as far as 1847. When it first began, the show was a flower and fruit exposition presented by the Chicago Horticultural Society (CHS). Similar to today, the events were organized by like-minded gardeners who where looking for a way to trade horticulture tips and techniques among exhibitors and participants.

On June 16, 1847, the CHS held its first Exhibition of Fruits and Flowers, where it showcased ornamental plants and displays of prized fruits and flowers. The exposition was a surprise hit. Enthusiastically received by both tradesmen and the general public, the success of this event established the growing role of horticulture in the city’s footprint—a role that continues to flourish to this day.

 

The show has since evolved. From decade to decade it has moved venues, grown in size and expanded its list of attractions. Today the show welcomes more than 40,000 attendees to the Festival Halls in Navy Pier, where they can experience every facet of horticulture. While visiting, attendees can walk through life-sized gardens, participate in DIY workshops, learn from educational seminars, enjoy garden-to-table cooking presentations and more. Through the decades of the show’s experience, its legacy remains the same: it continues to capture the hearts of thousands year after year.

 

Since 2011, the annual event has been produced by Flower Show Productions, which includes the visionary leadership of owner and director Tony Abruscato. Through his commitment and the dedication of sponsors and supporters, the Chicago Flower & Garden Show is encouraging new generations to get involved and be inspired by gardening.

 

Photograph postcard of the Flower Show in the Chicago Coliseum from 1910

Photograph postcard of the Chicago World Flower & Garden Show from 1965

1927 Chicago Garden & Flower Show Program

2017 Sponsors

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