>Chicago Botanic Gardens


Located about 40 minutes outside downtown Chicago, the Chicago Botanic Gardens offer a lush green oasis for people of all ages. With 24 well-manicured gardens on 385 acres, the ever-changing scenery has the power to take you to (what feels like) a far away place.

From the beautiful bonsai collection, to the lakeside gardens, to the rose gardens, there is certain to be something to please everyone. And with their educational programs for adults and children, anyone can take advantage of the opportunity to learn from the experts at the Gardens.

Speaking of experts, we here at FROSCH Insider are fortunate to know experts in many fields, and have recently extended our reach into a new field: horticulture. One of our cruise specialists, Jerri Anderson, recently booked an anniversary cruise for the Loobys, and put us in touch with Mr. John Looby III, president of Lake Forest Flowers (a well-known florist near our Deerfield office).

An avid traveler, industry expert, sought after international lecturer, and continuing instructor at the Chicago Botanic Gardens, we sat down with Mr. Looby to talk about travel, horticulture, and teaching.
FROSCH Insider: What are your favorite plants & flowers, and what regions do they come from?
Looby: That’s a tough one, as there are so many. But I do favor plants and flowers from the tropics and Hawaii… orchids, roses, and lilies are among my favorites.

FROSCH Insider: What is your favorite type of travel and favorite destinations?
Looby: Adventure travel, hands down! Ziplining, helicopter rides, kayaking, horseback riding, snorkeling, you name it. I’ve been fortunate to travel all over the world and try something adventurous everywhere I’ve gone. I’ve been to Hawaii a great many times, and it continues to top my list of favorite destinations.

FROSCH Insider: What destinations and seasons would you suggest for people looking to experience beautiful floral scenery?
Looby: Holland in the spring [for the tulips], and anywhere tropical anytime. Hawaii and Latin America offer opportunities to see beautiful flowering plants year-round.

FROSCH Insider: What brought you into teaching at the Chicago Botanic Gardens? What do you teach there?
Looby: I was asked to teach there and focus mainly on private seminars. It’s a popular choice for corporate team-building, so groups can come in and work together on a hands-on project. I also teach a course called Roadsidia, where volunteers cut native plants, dry them, then create arrangements that can be sold with the proceeds going back to the Botanic Gardens.

FROSCH Insider: In your opinion, what is the “can’t miss” garden?
Looby: The Japanese Gardens, as it really makes you feel as if you’ve been transported to Japan!

FROSCH Insider: This is a broad question, but do you have any inside tips or tricks for gardeners?
Looby: Plants like to be handled, to feel appreciated. It probably sounds funny, but don’t be afraid to talk to them, even.

Thanks so much to Mr. Looby for welcoming us into his place of business and sharing his expertise with us!
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