Gardens are always evolving and growing. And it’s no different at The Growing Place. This fall we took a critical look at the Learning Gardens in Naperville and started to dig in. Its been great fun! In this week’s blog we’ll talk about what we’re doing and how you can incorporate what we do into your gardens.

Most of the plants in our Learning Gardens in Naperville have been labeled with names and whether they are perennial or annual. We maintain these gardens to educate and inspire as well as provide a soothing place for you to enjoy.

Amending Soil

We realized that our garden soils had not had any organic material added to them for many years. So we decided to add our composted garden compost, leaf mulch, garden...

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Amaryllis are perfect for the winter (or, dare we say, the holidays) when we are craving bright, colorful flowers. Be sure to have your Amaryllis potted up by the end of October to get those bright colored flowers by Christmas time. You can pre-order your amaryllis bulbs now and they will be ready for pick up in the next week or so. Just e-mail: with your name, phone number, which varieties and quantity and we will contact you for payment information. Pre-orders are available on a first come, first serve basis while supplies last.

A No Mess Way to Grow Amaryllis

These red amaryllis bulbs are coated in wax so you don't have to put them in water or soil. They even have a small metal stand to help them stay u...

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Bulbs can seem a bit intimidating but they are actually a simple, minimal fuss option for great early and mid-spring color. This week we have a few surefire tips to help you have success. First and foremost, pick out your bulbs now, while you have the best selection and then plant them in October once temperatures have cooled off.

Bulb Planting Tips

  1. Bulbs do best in a sunny to part shade location with well-drained soil. When you are planting, add in Espoma® Bulb-tone and mix in some compost or our TGP Choice Garden Mix. Dig the hole about 2 inches deeper than the actual depth needed. This will give them some nice soft soil under the bulb also. For example, daffodils like to be about 6 inches below the surface so dig down about 8 inches to mix in the amendments and then plant.

  2. Bulbs like to be planted pointy side up. A general rule of thumb is to plant the bulb about 3 times deeper than the height of the bulb and about 3 inches apart. If you are not sure which side is up, don’t fear. Just plant them on their side and Mother Nature will sort itself out. Your bulbs will still find their way to the surface next spring. The only exception to the 3 times deeper rule is tulips. Plant these 10 inches below the surface to help give them a longer life.

  3. If your garden tends to be on the damp side, try planting these naturalizing bulbs: Galanthus, Puschkinia and Camassia.

  4. Water your bulbs once right after planting and then forget about them.

  5. After the blooms fade in the spring, clip the flower heads to channel energy back into the bulb and not seed production. Letting the foliage die back naturally also helps to recharge the bulb for next year.

temp-post-imageAvoiding Critters
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Last Saturday we talked to two customers about a problem area and had a 'light bulb' moment--we need a blog series to address some common landscape problems many people face in their yards. Enter Landscape Solutions. This series will tackle some tricky situations you might be facing in your yard. First up, the 'deadzone'.

As we say here, at The Growing Place, it’s all about right plant in the right place. The customers came in and described the area off their front porch. It's about 5 feet wide by 11 feet long, bordered by the garage on the west side and a sidewalk on the east. Joannie Rocchi, Retail Perennial Manager replied, “We are dealing with the ‘deadzone’.” There is nothing natural about the ‘de...

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As the summer growing season slows, your containers may need a bit of sprucing up for the fall. There are so many wonderful plants to add color, texture and new life for fall. Of course, mums are at the top of our list but there are so many other great plants that love these cooler temperatures.

Add Texture
Cabbage and kale give your containers color and texture. This year we have cabbages and kale in small, large, and extra extra large! Pigeon White and Pigeon Purple Cabbage are great for smaller containers. Osaka White and Osaka Red Cabbage and Chidori Red Kale will give your containers an interesting focal point. Extra extra large Ruby Perfection and Peacock Cabbages and Red Bor Kale are so big they can fill your container and will al...

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We're all familiar with vinca and ivy but there are so many great options for color and texture beyond the traditional groundcovers. Let’s explore!

The Benefits of Groundcovers

Think of a groundcover as a living carpet. They provide protection from erosion, help retain moisture and improve the aesthetic appearance by covering bare earth. Sweeping banks of groundcovers not only solve problems, they unify your landscape.

Try planting a groundcover this season with your fall bulbs. The bulbs will come up and bloom in the spring and then as their leaves die back the groundcover will grow over it. These plants create a living mulch that will spread to cover the area. Once the plants are established, just think how much less traditional ...

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The oak tree family is made up of hundreds of species. As a landscaping tree they make great shade trees, have great fall color and form the framework of your yard. This hardwood species has been a staple tree in our society for centuries. The majestic White Oak (latin name: Quercus alba) is the state tree of Illinois and was named America's National Tree in 2004. Oak trees can live well over 200 years and provide hundreds of benefits including lumber, food and shelter for wildlife. Oaks are hosts to birds, bees and over 500 species of butterflies and moths.

Most oaks have a growing range that extends north to zone 5, which makes them ideal for planting in our Midwestern yards. They are large trees so when planting them, make sure they w...

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Now is the perfect time to plant some of the best of the best perennials!

Letting you in on a key to success here, as these plants require a good couple months to acclimate and establish themselves to survive our winters successfully.

Caryopteris is a beautiful mounding sub-shrub, nicely scented, with silvery green foliage and true blue flowers that add needed color into the late summer. ‘Dark Knight’, has deep blue flowers, ‘Snow Fairy’ has a beautiful white edging on the foliage and ‘Worcester Gold’ shows off the masses of blue flowers in contrast to its bright gold foliage.

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Summer 2015 has produced some of the most prolific blooms, especially on our hydrangeas! The full round blooms of the Annabelle Hydrangea are the size of softballs. The pinkish color and striking blooms shooting from the great foliage of the Quick Fire Hydrangea, have people stopping as they passed it in our gardens. Speaking of great foliage, Oakleaf Hydrangeas, are lush this year and will be just fantastic this fall, ablaze with a burgundy red color. The brilliant green glossy foliage on the Climbing Hydrangea is only surpassed by the fragrant flower clusters it produced.

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Last week several of us travelled to the East Coast for the annual Perennial Plant Association (PPA) Symposium. We were so inspired while touring some of the most beautiful private and public gardens, growers and garden centers. Other staff toured the beautiful gardens at Ball Seed during their annual Field Day. Opportunities to attend workshops, learn from horticultural leaders, see new plant varieties, and network with other professionals inspire us! We saw so many wonderful things we just had to share.


How amazing is the patio cover of Linden trees! A Linden was planted in each corner of this patio and then they were trimmed and groomed to be a perfect canopy over the outdoor dining room at Millbourne Estate.

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Aurora Location

2000 Montgomery Road,

Aurora, IL 60504

Phone. 630-820-8088

Naperville Location

25w471 Plank Road,

Naperville, IL 60563

Phone. 630-355-4000

Fall Hours


Monday 9:00am-6:00pm


Tuesday 9:00am-6:00pm


Wednesday 9:00am-6:00pm


Thursday 9:00am-6:00pm


Friday 9:00am-6:00pm


Saturday 9:00am-5:00pm


Sunday 11:00am-5:00pm


  Growing for the future with right plants in right places.