Internationally Recognized Garden Designer Piet Oudolf Selected to Revive Historic Jens Jensen Formal Garden in Humboldt Park












Chicago Parks Foundation

Willa Lang, 312.742.5105


The Garden Conservancy

George Shakespear, 845.424.6500












CHICAGO, IL and GARRISON, NY – APRIL 27, 2017 – The Chicago Park District, Chicago Parks Foundation, and the Garden Conservancy are pleased to announce that internationally recognized garden designer Piet Oudolf will design a new planting plan for Humboldt Park’s historic Jens Jensen Formal Garden. Oudolf is familiar with Chicago as he recently designed the Lurie Garden at Millennium Park.

“We are thrilled to have such a renowned garden designer lend his creative talents and thoughtful insight to our revitalization of the garden, and transform Jens Jensen’s world-class formal garden into an inviting four-season gathering space accessible to patrons year-round,” said Chicago Park District General Superintendent and CEO Michael P. Kelly.

The Jens Jensen Formal Garden, a beautiful and iconic circular garden, was completed by the renowned landscape designer Jens Jensen in 1908. Oudolf’s planting design will be coordinated by the Hitchcock Design Group, the master planner and contractor for the project to revitalize the historic garden.

The planting design is an important part of a joint project of the Chicago Park District, the Chicago Parks Foundation, and the Garden Conservancy that aims to repair the garden’s deteriorated infrastructure, rehabilitate its important design features, and to implement a planting design that reinterprets Jensen’s historic planting palette and famous Prairie style. Members of the Humboldt Park community are providing input on the planting and design.

On April 3, Oudolf met with Humboldt Park residents at a community conversation hosted by the Chicago Parks Foundation (see photos on page 1). More than twenty-five people, including representatives of the Humboldt Park Advisory Council, National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture and the Jens Jensen Formal Garden Restoration Working Group, gathered to provide input for the first phase of the garden’s renovation. Oudolf presented his site analysis and approach to the garden, including a sustainable and durable design that can survive all of Chicago’s seasons and will not require pesticides.

“We will create a community of plants that work well together and look beautiful throughout the seasons" said garden designer Piet Oudolf.

The revitalization project will enhance this outdoor green space for families and friends who often gather there to take pictures for special occasions, transforming this once vibrant formal garden into a spectacular display of perennials.

Donations to the garden revitalization project can be made at

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About Award-winning Garden Designer Piet Oudolf
Piet Oudolf developed his signature style in his own garden at Hummelo, near Arnhem in the Netherlands. He employs perennials and grasses in a highly architectural way: seed-heads, texture, and foliage are equally or even more important than flowers or color. He has designed gardens throughout Europe and North America, including the Lurie Garden in Chicago (2003) and the High Line in New York City (2006). He has authored or coauthored more than eight books.

The Chicago Park Districtis the 2014 Gold Medal Award winner, recognized for excellence in park and recreation management across the nation. For more information about the Chicago Park District’s more than 8,300 acres of parkland, more than 585 parks, 26 miles of lakefront, 12 museums, two world-class conservatories, 16 historic lagoons, nearly 50 nature areas, thousands of special events, sports, and entertaining programs, please visit or contact the Chicago Park District at 312/742.PLAY or 312/747.2001 (TTY). Want to share your talent?  Volunteer in the parks by calling 312/742.PLAY.

The Chicago Parks Foundationis the 501(c)(3) charitable partner for the Chicago Park District. Established in 2013, the CPF provides grant management and fiscal sponsorship for Park Advisory Councils and supports community groups who wish to fund raise for park specific projects or programs. The Chicago Parks Foundation works collaboratively with the Chicago Park District to improve and enhance parks, programs, and facilities, to further connect and strengthen the bond between people and their parks, and to cultivate stewardship now and for the future.

The Garden Conservancy, established by noted plantsman Frank Cabot in 1989, is a national nonprofit organization whose mission is to save and share outstanding American gardens for the education and inspiration of the public. The Conservancy helps new and emerging public gardens become community-based public resources, and existing public gardens manage challenges to their survival. It further fosters appreciation of the important role gardens play in America’s cultural and natural heritage through its national Open Days garden-visiting program and through educational programs and garden-study tours.


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