Publish Date

Agreement signed, project underway



CHICAGO, IL and GARRISON, NY – The Chicago Park District and Chicago Parks Foundation are partnering with the Garden Conservancy, a national nonprofit organization based in Garrison, NY, to make major improvements to Humboldt Park’s historic Jens Jensen Formal Garden.

The beautiful and iconic circular garden was completed by the internationally renowned landscape designer Jens Jensen in 1908. Collaborating to rehabilitate the rose garden is a natural fit for the Garden Conservancy, tapping their expertise in garden preservation, design, and management practices.

“We are thrilled to be part of this important effort, as it marks not only our first major preservation project in the upper Midwest and in an urban center, but also the first Jens Jensen-designed garden in our portfolio,” said Garden Conservancy Preservation Committee Chair Susan Lowry. “By rehabilitating this historic garden, the project will also revitalize a much-loved community resource.”

This project aims to repair the garden’s deteriorated infrastructure, rehabilitate its important design features, and to implement a planting design that re-interprets Jensen’s historic planting palette and famous Prairie style. Major recommendations for improvements of the site have been proposed by the Hitchcock Design Group, the landscape architecture firm with considerable expertise in rehabilitating historic landscapes, especially the work of Jensen and his disciple Alfred Caldwell. Among those recommendations, is the planting of lush native perennials to provide year-round seasonal interest, attract birds, and make the garden more interesting and beautiful.

“We are proud to be home to Jensen’s ‘living green parks,’ which continue to serve as natural havens amidst the city bustle,” said Chicago Park District General Superintendent and CEO Michael P. Kelly. “With the Conservancy’s assistance, not only are we restoring the important design features and the spirit of Jensen’s beloved garden, but we are enhancing it by transforming it into an inviting four-season gathering space accessible to patrons all year round.”

Members of the Humboldt Park community are also joining the Chicago Park District, the Chicago Parks Foundation, and the Conservancy in efforts to help provide financial support and advice on a new planting plan and design for the popular park amenity.

The revitalization project will enhance this outdoor green space for families and friends who often gather here to take pictures for special occasions, transforming this once vibrant formal garden into a spectacular display of perennials. Most recently, members of the long deceased famed landscape architect’s own family—some traveling from as far away as Denmark—proudly assembled at the Humboldt Park site to admire Jensen’s landscape artistry.

Donations to the garden revitalization project can be made at


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 Foundation is the 501c3 charitable partner for the Chicago Park District.  Established in 2013, the CPF provides grant management, 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 partners with garden owners and with public and private organizations to help secure a garden's future. It also 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.

Related Documents