MANAGER, HORTICULTURE PROGRAMS
Charlotte Blome oversees the horticulture program in the areas of garden planning, maintenance, and development with an emphasis on soil building and conservation, environmental stewardship, and educational programming.
BA in German from the University of Wisconsin-Madison
BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
“My favorite Shedd garden story is about the remarkably healthy soil we have fostered. I love watching eyes light up when students learn what that means.... miles of fungal mycelium and billions of bacteria in every tablespoon, and how these microbes help our plants grow, stabilize and enrich our soil, clean our water and counteract climate change by sequestering carbon. Soil is such a wonderfully optimistic piece of the conservation puzzle.”
Charlotte Blome manages Shedd’s horticulture program and the 90,000 square feet of ecological gardens that encircle the aquarium building. She and her team also oversee a growing number of horticulture volunteers and interns, giving them the opportunity to work in and learn from Shedd’s many diverse and sustainable gardens. With more than 30 years of experience in the horticulture field, she has worked in a wide range of climates and settings across the United States, but her heart is in the oak savanna of the Midwest and in gardens open to the public.
Blome has a passion for native plants. Under her direction, the horticulture department has worked closely with Shedd’s Conservation Action team to extend their reach beyond Shedd’s grounds by developing a native plant propagation and planting program that produced more than 5,000 native plants in its first year. In support of local biodiversity, Blome and her team also observe and track fauna from birds and mammals to aquatic macroinvertebrates in the gardens and host an annual Bioblitz with entomologists and ornithologists from the University of Illinois, the Field Museum, and Shedd’s own field biologists.
Previously, Blome was garden manager at the Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek, CA. She trained as a gardener in Kyoto, Japan and has a BA in German from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.