The Gerard T. Donnelly Grand Garden

Content Media

A lush, colorful garden to celebrate The Morton Arboretum’s centennial is open for visitors to enjoy.

Commemorating one hundred years of planting and protecting trees for a greener, healthier, and more beautiful world, the Gerard T. Donnelly Grand Garden will serve as a central attraction for gathering and enjoyment during the Arboretum’s second century. This splendid addition to the Arboretum showcases the beauty and diversity of plants alongside delightful water features and spaces for celebration and joy.

A Garden of Celebration and Joy

The Gerard T. Donnelly Grand Garden layout features three main spaces: the Joy of Plants Garden, Centennial Plaza, and the Celebration Garden.

Joy of Plants Garden

To the west, a green lawn and accessible paths will lead through a series of garden rooms. These garden rooms will be shaded by tall trees and lushly planted for color, beauty, and variety, with many places to sit and enjoy their loveliness throughout the seasons.

Centennial Plaza

Arrive at a paved, accessible central circle. Be surrounded by abundant flowers and plants, with pergolas to provide shade and beautiful, soothing pools of water. Enjoy a space to gather, sit, relax.

Celebration Garden

To the east, a magical garden of plants with silvery leaves and flowers will lead to an elegant celebration place. With a central lawn for seating, a terrace for wedding ceremonies and other events, and delightful water features, it will be a place to make lifelong memories.

New Beauty in a Historic Space

The Gerard T. Donnelly Grand Garden reimagines the historic Hedge Garden, created in 1934. The Arboretum’s newest garden honors the past view and layout of the earlier garden in a transformed setting. Set on two acres, the accessible, welcoming space is a gorgeous outdoor landscape garden.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Yes, the new garden is accessible for guests of all abilities. Paved walkways throughout the garden will help guests easily explore.

  • The new garden is centrally located, bordering both the Visitor Center and the Administration and Research Center. If you are exploring the surrounding area, consider visiting the Sterling Morton Library or Plant Clinic.

    While visiting the garden, you also have access to 1,700 acres of tree collections, gardens and landscapes, and exhibitions to explore. Browse all of the things to do at the Arboretum for your next visit.

  • Yes, the Garden is open daily. However, please note that the Celebration Garden section of The Grand Garden will be temporarily closed through mid-January 2023 as the Arboretum prepares for its 10th Annual Illumination celebration, whose path this year includes portions of the garden. Centennial Plaza and the Joy of Plants area remain open for guests to enjoy. Besides this temporary partial closure, The Grand Garden will be open year-round.


Be part of The Morton Arboretum’s next century. Make a gift to celebrate 100 years of work for trees and people.

Make a gift