Beth Botts

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» Organic, Sustainable (67)
» Trees, Shrubs (30)
» Vegetables, Fruit, Herbs (55)


332 S. Wesley Ave. #2D 60302

As a writer and speaker, I'm an evangelist for common-sense gardening that is sustainable for the planet and for people; making friends with nature; and the satisfaction of lunching on your own warm, sweet home-grown tomatoes.

w: http://thegardenbeat.com

e: view email bethbotts@bethbotts.com


I cover the gardening waterfront

From lettuce to lichens, from compost to cosmos, from pruning to pesticide-free lawns, from Lake Michigan to the far horizon, I've wondered about a lot of things that have to do with plants and nature and set out to find the answers. I dig in the dirt and tramp in the woods and I've learned a thing or two.  

I've written thousands of articles and blog posts, as an editor and reporter for the Chicago Tribune and a freelance writer for magazines such as Organic Gardening, Chicagoland Gardening and The maerican gardener, as well as the Tribune. I've won awards from the Garden Writers Association while exploring landscapes all over the country.

As a writer and speaker, I'm an evangelist for common-sense gardening that is sustainable for the planet and for people; making friends with nature; and the satisfaction of lunching on your own warm, sweet home-grown tomatoes. I tell a good story and I give solid advice. 

Raised on the South Side by an organic gardener and environmentalist, I now garden in a leafy suburb on the edge of Chicago -- in the deep shade on the north side of a four-story building, in the sunny strip by the garbage cans, in pots on the third-floor porch and on windowsills in the winter.  


"Start Here: Basic Steps for the New Gardener"

          Just getting started, in a plot or a pot? Here's how

"What now? Refreshing the Tired Garden -- and Gardener"

How to give an established garden a new look and feel that takes less work to maintain. The key: editing

"Air Rights: Making the Most of Vertical Growing Space"

When you grow in tight spaces, you can't afford to let the vertical space go to waste. How to garden up to surround yourself in green.

"Spring Beyond Bulbs: The Garden Comes Alive"

As spring gets underway, how your plants and soil rev up


"I thought You Were Sleeping: What Happens in the Garden in Winter"

You may be taking the winter off, but your plants, soil and wildlife aren't


"Wonders from the Woods: Native Wildflowers in an Urban Garden"

Plants from the understory of the Midwestern woods are magic in a shady urban garden in early spring

"Gardening in the Dark: What Works in Deep Shade"

Shade is the biggest challenge for most gardeners. Here's how I have a satisfying garden on the north side of a four-story building


"Spring in a Minor Key: The Delights of Unusual Bulbs"

Everybody loves tulips, daffodil and crocus. But there are many other fall-planted bulbs that can add sparkling color, texture and charm to the spring garden


"Taming the Wild Ones: How to Welcome Native Plants into a Garden"

Many folks think native plants only belong in a meadow garden. But if carefully chosen, these wildlife-welcoming plants can fit into even the most formal of garden styles


"Vegetables Anywhere: How to Fit Farming Into Your Life"

Vegetable gardening in small urban spots, courtyards, raised beds, containers, balconies, roofs  and other tight spots  


"Pruning Shrubs and Small Trees: Why, How, When and Where Not"

How to prune thoughtfully for beautiful, healthy shrubs and small trees with less work


"The Green Garden Tightwad"

 Often, the best ways to reduce our environmental footprint are thrifty too


"Where Plants Come From"

It takes a worldwide industry and a lot of high tech to bring you a six-pack of annuals, a hanging basket or a rosebush. See how it's done 

For the horticulture trade:

 "How to Talk to New Gardeners"
The customers you need for the future of your business are often new to gardening. To become repeat customers, they need good advice, in terms they can understand and in doses they can handle. Here's how you and your staff can have the best interactions with new gardeners. Learn to give them confidence and help them achieve success that will encourage them to keep on gardening and rely on you for advice, products and plants.

" Adapt and Thrive: What Climate Change Means to Your Business"
It's happening. What does it mean to your customers and you? A look at what we can learn from the current scientific consensus about how the changing climate is likely to affect gardening, agriculture, water, weather, energy costs, landscape design and the laws you operate under.



"Beth is a superb speaker who is invited back repeatedly by our club. She gives practical, enjoyable and colorful presentations."

-- Wil Rutt, president,

 Proksa Park Garden Club

"A big thank you from the Portage Park Garden Club for your wonderful presentation!"

"I always enjoy your talks and I always learn something new."
"Start Here: Basic Steps for the New Gardener"

          Just getting started, in a plot or a pot? Here's how


Chicago and the Midwest, 60302

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Audience Reviews

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Garden Club talk

Cindy Blue from IL - 11/10/2017 18:30:27

Beth gave a talk about Growing Green in a Changing Climate to my garden club and it really opened our eyes. I'm so grateful for her resource list and being able to hear her scientifically sound information. Climate change is real, thank you for giving us some common sense advice!

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Great speaker! Great information!

Susan McFaul from Northbrook, IL - 11/09/2017 10:27:28

Beth presented her very timely "Growing Green in a Changing Climate" to the Northbrook Garden Club & gave us specific actions to take in our own yards to mitigate the changing climate patterns. Beth is an accomplished & very knowledgeable speaker & we all learned something new. You will enjoy having Beth speak to your group!

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Interesting and inspiring

Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp from Indiana - 10/08/2017 07:53:06

Beth spoke recently at a Master Gardeners' event in Porter County, Indiana, and did a terrific job of telling the us about nifty, fun and practical ways and tips to garden, especially if you have limited space. I came away w/lots of ideas to try at home.

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