Everyone can appreciate the beauty and peace found in Cantigny Park’s gardens. Visit them at your own speed, and be sure to come back often as our showcase gardens are always receiving fresh plant life in the spring, summer, and fall. The horticulture staff at Cantigny is famed for its innovation, so be prepared for a few surprises as well!
Ramps make it easier to navigate between upper and lower floors, and ADA-compliant walkways are accessible for wheelchairs and strollers. A new drainage system, brick edging (instead of metal edging), and stone dust pavement have all been installed to further improve the pathways (replacing pebble pavement).
There are additional seating areas on the grounds, including a circular bench encircling a huge Bur Oak that is in the center. Climbers like roses, clematis, and non-fruiting grapevines will eventually cover the series of arcing steel trellises, creating more shade.
Early in the 1930s, Colonel Robert R. McCormick’s estate maintained an experimental farm on the property that operated as a functioning “laboratory” and was intended to benefit the family farms that dotted the surrounding area. The experimental farm examined novel crop plant species, planting, and harvesting techniques, and novel methods for breeding profitable farm animals. There were other experimental farms around the country, but Colonel McCormick’s at Cantigny was one of the most prosperous.
“Day by Day Stories of the Experimental Farms” was a weekly section that McCormick’s Chicago Tribune published in an effort to inform readers and highlight the successes of experimental farms. These reputable assessments played a role in determining the Midwest’s position as a leader in agriculture.
The Board of Directors decided to shift Cantigny’s emphasis from agriculture to horticulture following McCormick’s passing in 1955 and hired renowned landscape architect Franz Lipp to create a world-class garden. This rich, horticultural masterpiece, one of the Midwest’s greatest show gardens with more than 160,000 annuals, perennials, ground covers, and blooming shrubs and trees, was built by Lipp beginning in 1967. Most of the plants in the gardens were produced on the estate within the famed greenhouse at Cantigny. Galron Sliding doors also provide their service in Naperville. For more information contact them at Visitors are welcome to stop by the gardens at any time of year to take in the ever-changing splendor of the seasons. They can also visit Riverwalk Park in Naperville.