About Our Teaching Garden and Teaching Prairie

Begun in 2021 as a partnership between the Library, the Barrington Breakfast Rotary Club, and the University of Illinois Extension Cook County North Master Gardeners, our Teaching Garden is an outdoor classroom for hands-on, multi-generational learning, as well as a quiet place to relax and read. Located in the southeast corner of the Library’s upper parking lot, the Garden is fully accessible, and offers comfortable seating in a beautiful setting. 

Teaching Garden Workshops
Tuesdays, 9:30-11 AM
Local gardeners provide hands-on instruction in seasonal gardening tasks. From 9:30-10 we’ll focus on basic garden maintenance. From 10-11, we’ll focus on a specific gardening topic. Meets weekly starting Tuesday, May 28, weather permitting. Registration suggested.
July 23: Growing and harvesting herbs
July 30: Tomato troubleshooting
August 6: Gardening with kids
August 13: Controlling spreading perennials 
August 20: Flower harvesting and preserving
August 27: Garden mosaic craft
September 10: Gardening with kids
September 17: Seed collecting
September 24: Seed collecting
October 1: Harvesting
October 8: Goodnight Garden Storytime; harvesting
October 15: Chop and drop; putting a garden to bed

2024 Seed Library Now Closed

The Seed Library is closed for the season. Please visit the links below for care instructions for your seeds. If you'd like us to consider adding a particular seed to the Seed Library next season, please email your suggestions to lkirchhoff@balibrary.org. Happy growing! 





Seed Library FAQ

Q. What’s in the Seed Library?
A. We stock a variety of native and common garden seeds. Produce seeds are non-GMO and organic, and we try to offer both very common seeds (like basil and cosmos) as well as seeds you may not commonly see in stores.

Q. What do the seeds cost?
A. Seeds are free!

Q. Do I need to have a library card to use the Seed Library?
A. The Seed Library is available for all to use, with or without a library card. 

Q. I have questions about seeds that you’re offering. Who can I ask? 
A. The Illinois Master Gardener Help Desk is an excellent resource if you have questions about your garden or particular plants. If you have questions about our program or particular seeds we’re offering, you can contact librarian Liz Kirchhoff at lkirchhoff@balibrary.org.

Q. Do you take seed donations?
A. Yes! You can drop seeds off at the Customer Service desk at the front of the Library. Please include the name of the seed and a way for us to contact you in case we have questions.

Q. How long is the Seed Library available?
A. The Seed Library is available until we run out of seed stocks for the year. Last year we gave our last seeds in April, so we encourage you to visit early!

Seed Library Resources

Seed Sources:

Johnny's Selected Seeds

Main Street Seed

Prairie Moon Nursery

True Leaf Market


Helpful Info

ASPCA Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants for Pets

Germinating Native Seeds

Master Gardener Help Desk


Local Gardening News

2024 Periodical Cicadas Info

2024 Seed Library Suggestion Form

Aggressive Plants

BALibrary Garden & Environment Webinars

Composting 101

Conservation @ Home

Garden Design Basics

Illinois Native Plant Database

Jumping Worm Fact Sheet