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Kudos Chicago Excellence in Gardening Awards

Three years of CEGA awards on display in Marlene Fisher’s 5th Ward garden. Photo by Marlene Fisher

Award-winning gardeners from 40 of Chicago’s wards were honored at the 2019 Chicago Excellence in Gardening Awards (CEGA) ceremony, held October 12 at the Austin Town Hall Park Auditorium. Yard signs, certificates and several special awards were presented to individuals and groups representing 68 gardens from across the city, with honorable mention certificates presented to additional gardens.

For the third and record-breaking year, CEGA, Chicago’s only citywide gardening honors, was pleased to honor those that entered their personal and public gardens, and the pride they have for their communities. The awards recognize beauty, creativity and community engagement, and also reward sustainable horticultural practices, such as using native plants, conserving water and providing habitat.

Christine Nye, former Manager of Horticultural Programs at the Shedd Aquarium and one of the driving forces of CEGA, presented the keynote address. Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) commissioner Kim du Buclet also addressed the gathered gardeners.

This year, CEGA received nonprofit status, which will enable the organization to expand its efforts in Chicago. Its goal is to reach every corner of the city and honor beautiful, sustainable gardens in every ward.

For a list of winners, photos and additional information about CEGA, visit