One of the more common questions we get is what will bloom in the shade. We have some great answers for you!

Wax Begonia
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Container Gardening is a wonderful starting point for many new gardeners, a way to create “special gardens” for others, or even a great place to plant edibles in containers right on your patio. Many of us with established gardens are finding that containers are a great way to introduce a beautifully planted architectural feature in the garden.

Used in this container: Palm Cat, Coleus 'Kong Rose', Fuchsia Autumnale, New Guinea Impatiens, Fuchsia Upright, Fuchsia Trailing, and Lysimachia 'Goldilocks'
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There's nothing better than a BLT sandwich with a freshly picked tomato slice. Yum! Our mouths are watering just thinking about it! The key to great tomatoes is simple, they just need the right combination of sun, water, soil, nutrients and, of course, love. Here's how to do it:


Choosing Your Site
Tomatoes need lots of sun. Make sure that the area you want to plant them gets a least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day, has good air circulation and well-drained soil. If growing tomatoes in the ground or in raised beds, it's a good idea to change the growing location within your garden each year to avoid soil-borne diseases. If you don't have a sunny spot in your gardens, you can plant some varieties containers and put it in a sunny spot on your porch or patio. Make sure your container has at least a 12”-18” diameter.

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When you fertilize you are adding nutrients back into soil that has been depleted. To add nutrients back into your soil, mix in organic matter like chopped up leaves, compost, and/or TGP Choice Garden Mix along with fertilizer to your flower beds and vegetable gardens.


What do the numbers mean?

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Every spring we fall in love with so many plants it’s hard to choose our favorites! This week we’ve put together some of the trees, shrubs, perennials, and annuals that make great additions to your garden.

Perennials For Shady Spots

Bleeding Hearts offer lovely pink, heart-shaped blooms in spring but what is exceptional about Dicentra ‘Goldheart’ is its golden yellow-green leaves that can brighten a shady spot. Combine Goldheart with darker leaved Coral Bells (Latin name: Heuchera) for an eye-catching combination.

Dicentra 'Goldheart'
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We know you are itching to get in the garden and you can! Now is a great time to plant trees, shrubs, and perennials and even some cool weather loving annuals and vegetables.*



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Nothing seems to say “springtime is truly here” as the sight of our native woodland wildflowers in full bloom. With a few exceptions, most of these elusive spring beauties are tied into the seasonal rhythms of their shady woodland homes. Early spring provides a short window when these alluring plants can be enjoyed, even if it is for what seems to be abrief minute. When the warmer temperatures arrive, most species will go dormant for the season. They bloom for just a few weeks, and then their leaves turn yellow and the plants disappear. These plants are called spring ephemerals.


Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)

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Spring is soooooo close! Our Saturday classes have been full of gardeners getting their creativity flowing and garden plans together in time for planting this year. Last Saturday’s classes were standing room only so we thought we’d share some highlights from both presentations: Native Plants for the Garden and Right Plant in the Right Place.

Why Plant Natives?

Native plants have evolved to survive our climate and can grow successfully in your garden when planted in the right place. Think of natives as planting for the birds, butterflies and bees, not only in the summer but also in winter. So many of the natives add interest and texture to our winter landscapes and are often a source of seed for birds year round. How wonderful would it be to lo...

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As you’re reading this it is officially spring according to our calendars. Though temps are lagging, the ground is thawing and I bet you’re wondering what’s new for your 2015 gardens. Our plant experts Mary Saba and Kyle Lambert revealed many of the new plants at our class last Saturday and some truly bear repeating! They also reminded us of many noteworthy plants that could be overlooked in a pot but can really add impact to our gardens.

Planting Determinates

Mary began discussing the proper locations, highlighting that each plant has primary and secondary determinants for identification of the proper location in your yard. Plants are tagged for sunlight (full sun, part shade, etc.) as a primary determinant. The secondary determinant is th...

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This weekend we get to “spring” forward by turning our clocks ahead one hour. As of 11:30 this morning we are 15 days, 6 hours, 15 minutes and 24… 23… 22 seconds away from the first day of spring. Can you tell we’re excited even though those piles of snow are still outside the windows complete with a shiny layer of ice on top! Mother Nature is just not going to be letting us outside soon — well at least for the next couple weeks. So while we impatiently wait to get outdoors and turn up that soil, let’s spend some time planning and getting organized so that when the weather breaks we are ready to dig in!


Think about your property. Would you like to start a vegetable garden? Will you be putting in a new garden area or making a raised bed? Is this the year to plant some perennials around your patio so you can enjoy them year after year? Have you decided to plant some new container gardens? Are you thinking about adding new trees to your property? First you need to consider your location, your plat of survey is great in determining the direction your property faces and will come in handy should you have to have a landscaping plan approved by your HOA or city/village.

Once you find your plat of survey, make a copy (or two) so you have a place to make plans for your yard. On the copy, you can note size and position of your deck, patio, trees, etc. To place a tree accurately, measure from 2 points at right angles, where they intersect is the location the tree should be planted. Also on the copy of the plat you can place your ‘wish list’ of what you would like to incorporate into your yard. We recommend using a pencil so you can easily edit your work!

Light Conditions
In analyzing your area, specifically consider how many hours of light will the area get each day. Typically the north sides of houses are shadier while south and west sides will get the full heat of the sun. Eastern exposures usually get morning sun. Trees or other large structures in your yard can also affect sun or shade conditions. Keep in mind existing trees will shade your yard when in full foliage this summer; even though now they look like stick charcoal drawings in the snow.

You should also consider the moisture conditions. Does the area stay wet or is it dry unless watered? Do you have a water source close by? These factors will affect the type plants you select for the location.

Other Considerations
Additionally, when you do your landscaping planning consider your time and how often you will be able to work in the garden. Is your site the blank slate of new construction? Will you need to re-work an established area in your yard? A good tool to help you figure out your site conditions is our In-store Landscape Coaching Questionnaire. With some prep work you’ll be able to get valuable advice when you are ready to act. Schedule an In-store Landscape Coaching session with one of our landscape designers. These coaching sessions are perfect for a small, simple area that you want to install yourself. E-mail to schedule your appointment.

Don’t forget your tools. They may need a little dusting off and sharpening for the 2015 season. We will have tool sharpening services on March 28 and April 4 from 11:00am – 4:00pm at the Aurora location!

Choosing the Right Plant
So many of the natives, shade and sun-loving plants all have bloom times or a variety of foliage to give any garden nature’s beauty throughout the year. There are many resources available to help you find plants, shrubs and trees that will grow in your garden. Our favorite source is our Plant Guide. It’s available in print and online. It’s filled with information about the plants we carry to help you choose the right plant for the right place. This year we’ve included a handy questionnaire on page 188 of the print version to help you start planning. Stop on in to pick up your copy.

Good thing we have a several weeks to get organized so we can spring into the garden at first chance!

Aurora Location

2000 Montgomery Road,

Aurora, IL 60504

Phone. 630-820-8088

Get Directions

Naperville Location

25w471 Plank Road,

Naperville, IL 60563

Phone. 630-355-4000

Get Directions

Spring Hours 


Monday 9:00am-7:00pm


Tuesday 9:00am-7:00pm


Wednesday 9:00am-7:00pm


Thursday 9:00am-7:00pm


Friday 9:00am-7:00pm


Saturday 9:00am-5:00pm


Sunday 11:00am-5:00pm


  Growing for the future with right plants in right places.