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!

It's bare root tree time again! Bare root trees are a great way to buy and plant your trees. According to a study at Cornell University bare root trees have 200% more roots than their balled-and-burlapped cousins because of the way they are harvested. They are also lightweight and much easier to handle. And the best reason of all – bare root trees typically perform better. Because they don’t have dirt on their roots they settle into the soil with less transition problems. If you are thinking about adding a tree to your garden, take a look at our bare root tree selections for spring 2015.

Read our blog on how to plant bare root trees.

Call 630-355-4000 to reserve your tree before March 28. Once we're open stop by our Tree & S...

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It’s cold and snowy and we want to see some green! Sometimes the only way to survive our brutal winters is to laugh with fellow gardeners. Talk a peak, we’ve compiled our top ten signs that you may be suffering from gardener’s spring fever.

10. You have not only watched but recorded every garden show on PBS and HGTV.

9. You rush to check your growing table every day to see if your seeds have sprouted.

8. Stacks of garden magazines and catalogs are obstacles that you must navigate safely to move through your home.

7. You have reached the maximum pins allowed for garden ideas on Pinterest.

6. You brought a bag of potting mix inside just to get a hint of that fresh spring soil smell.

5. You don’t hesitate to brave th...

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You’ve decorated your home for the holiday with live greens and a gorgeous tree, but their usefulness doesn’t need to end with the holidays. The Growing Place offers these simple and practical ideas for re-purposing your evergreen trees, holiday wreaths and boughs.


Trees for the Birds
After the holidays, place your cut tree in the garden as a shelter for birds. Choose a back corner or out of the way place and birds will welcome the additional shelter from winter weather and predators. Or, stake it upright, add a bird feeder in or under the tree and a heated bird bath nearby and you’ve created a backyard bird sanctuary. Come spring the tree can be cut up and added to the compost pile.

Protecting Plants

  • Place branches over shallow rooted plants such as mums, coral bells, strawberries and spring bulbs to insulate their roots through freezing and thawing.
  • Christmas wreaths, stripped of their decorations, are just the perfect size to place around sensitive perennials for added insulation.
  • Acid loving and shallow rooted plants such as rhododendron and holly appreciate a layer of evergreens as the needles add a slight acid boost. When removing boughs in the spring, give them a shake to let the needles fall and mix in with your mulch.
  • Mulch ‘Endless Summer’ and other varieties of Hydrangea macrophylla with evergreen boughs. They will add another layer of protection for next year’s sensitive buds.
  • Now that we’ve had a couple of hard freezes to set dormancy, tender roses such as hybrid tea, grandiflora and floribunda benefit from a layer of compost, then leaves or straw and a final layer of evergreen boughs.

Outdoor Decoratin...

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Winter in Chicagoland is tough for birds. Three things are essential for survival of our feathered friends: food, water and shelter. Feeding birds in the winter is both humane and rewarding. In winter the natural vegetative food supply is either depleted or covered by snow, and insects are dormant. Unfrozen drinking water is scarce and shelter is limited to evergreens or manmade bird houses. Here’s what you can do to supply the essentials birds need to survive the rugged winter and at the same time provide you with backyard entertainment throughout the snowy months ahead.


Supplying Food & Shelter

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For over 3000 years, we have been hanging wreaths in our entry-ways and on the doors of our homes. Originally, garlands and wreaths were hung as a sign of victory and celebration after the athletic games, which eventually became The Olympics. Interestingly, wedding veils also stem from the same custom of celebration: they illustrate the woman’s status and pride. These types of traditions evolved into our hanging of wreaths for holidays — especially Christmas. Both wreaths and swags can lend welcoming seasonal flair to our front door. Wreaths are usually based on pre-made evergreen fir branches twisted and wired to a frame. Door swags are bundles of greens that hang downward.

Creating a WreathAs we talked about in the Porch Po...

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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

We are closed for the winter but if you would like to talk to us or purchase a gift card we are usually in the office
Mon – Fri from 10:00am – 4:00pm.
Please call before stopping in.

Growing for the future with right plants in right places.

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