VISIT & explore

Library courses and events




Upcoming Events in the Sterling Morton Library:


Arbor Reading Adventures

Join us in the Sterling Morton Library for this popular and interactive story time! We’ll read stories, make a craft and then head out on the grounds for an adventure walk. Themes change weekly.

Wednesdays and Fridays (November-March), 11:00-11:45 a.m.



America's Romance with the English Garden

Discover the elements that made the English garden style so popular in America with Thomas Mickey, the author of America’s Romance with the English Garden. At the beginning of the modern garden industry in the 1890s mass advertising, faster printing, national magazines, and free rural mail delivery made it possible to publish seed and nursery catalogs in the millions and send them across the country. The catalogs encouraged the romantic English garden style in essays, illustrations, and ads. The principle elements of that English garden design included the lawn, small groupings of flowering shrubs, a vegetable garden outback, flowerbeds on the lawn, trees to line the property, and a curved walkway. At a time when homeowners were eager to learn how to garden, it was no surprise that Americans everywhere loved the English garden and the same garden appeared from California to Maine.

Instructor: Thomas Mickey, author, America's Romance with the English Garden

Thursday, March 19, 7-8:30 pm

$16.00 members

$24.00 nonmembers



Modern Botanical Art

Explore the print collection and learn the techniques modern botanical artists use to record the details of plants. These works are not only scientifically accurate but creatively stylized. From Art Deco influences to painterly watercolor, you will be inspired by the collection! We will discuss the mediums and techniques used.

Instructor: Arlene Widrevitz, Art Collection Assistant, The Morton Arboretum

Saturday, May 9, 1:00-4:00 p.m.

$25.00 members

$33.00 nonmembers



New Ideas from English Gardens

Wake up your beds and borders with fresh ideas from across the pond. This lecture takes a peek at design techniques and plant combinations from contemporary gardens as different as the Eden Project and the Thames Barrier Park. Take inspiration from new designers at the Chelsea Flower Show as well as the horticulturists responsible for breathing new life into historic gardens like Great Dixter.

Instructor: Marta McDowell, garden writer and educator

Thursday, May 14, 2015, 7:00-8:30 p.m.

$25.00 members
$33.00 nonmembers

Printing Techniques and the Plant Hunters

Botanical art was an important aid in helping plant hunters describe their latest discoveries. As botanical knowledge and botanical art advanced, so did the technology used to reproduce this information and to share it around the world. We will examine wood block prints in herbals to modern digital printing from the library collections. Learn to identify the techniques employed for publication as well as fine art.

Instructor: Arlene Widrevitz, Art Collection Assistant, The Morton Arboretum

Saturday, May 16, 1:00-4:00 p.m.

$25.00 members

$33.00 nonmembers



Leafing Through the Pages - Members' Book Club

For a morning of community, connectivity and spirited discussion, join Leafing Through the Pages, the Sterling Morton Library's book discussion group. Meeting on the second Thursday of every month from 10 a.m. until noon in the Library, this group explores works of fiction and non-fiction relating to natural history, ecology, and gardens. Participants need to obtain books and read each month's selection prior to the gathering to fully share in the discussion.
Not a member of the Arboretum? Join today If you are an Arboretum member and would like more information about Leafing Through the Pages, contact Rita Hassert at rhassert@mortonarb.org or 630-719-2430.

2015 Reading and Viewing List

  • January 8, 2015 – Dennis, Jerry. The Living Great Lakes: searching for the heart of the inland sea, 2003. [LTTP redux – previously discussed on January 13, 2005]
  • February 12, 2015 - Kolbert, Elizabeth. The Sixth Extinction: an unnatural history, 2014.
  • March 12, 2015 - Green Fire : Aldo Leopold and a land ethic for our time, 2010. – Film
  • April 9, 2015 - Bachrach, Julia S. The City in a Garden: a history of Chicago’s parks, 2012.
  • May 14, 2015 - McDowell, Marta. Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life : the plants and places that inspired the classic children’s tales, 2013.
  • June 11, 2015 - Peattie, Donald Culross. A Natural History of Trees of Eastern and Central North America, 1950.
  • July 9, 2015 - Rutkow, Eric. American Canopy: trees, forests, and the making of a nation, 2012.
  • August 13, 2015 - Strayed, Cheryl. Wild: from lost to found on the Pacific Crest Trail, 2013.
  • September 10, 2015 - Eisler, Benita. The Red Man’s Bones: George Catlin, artist and showman, 2013.
  • October 8, 2015 - Bone, Eugenia. Mycophilia: revelations from the weird world of mushrooms, 2011.
  • November 12, 2015 - Croke, Vicki Constantine. Elephant Company: the inspiring story of an unlikely hero and the animals who helped him save lives in World War II, 2014.
  • December 10, 2015 – Herriot, James. All Creatures Great and Small, 1972.