The Growing Place began as Emma’s Perennials in 1936 and has been family owned and operated since that time. Emma and Fritz Glatzhofer opened Emma's Perennials selling field-grown perennials and earning a proud reputation for growing the finest perennials in the Chicago area. Plants were propagated and planted directly into the ground in 4- by 12-foot beds. When the plants were ready, Emma and Fritz would dig them up for customers to take home.
In 1973, Rich Massat—Emma and Fritz’s nephew—and his wife, Carol, undertook the challenge of restoring Emma's Perennials. After a few years of digging perennials from the ground, Rich and Carol found it a challenge to keep up with demand. They began growing plants in containers, making it possible to offer perennials, annuals, roses and edibles throughout the season and maintain high quality standards.
Emma’s Perennials was renamed The Growing Place in 1976, and Rich and Carol made it their mission to deliver uncompromising quality and selection of plants. The production beds were converted to display gardens called the Learning Gardens and filled with nearly 800 varieties of well-labeled plants. Each Learning Garden reflects common situations such as sunny borders, dense shade, wet tolerant areas, butterfly gardens and more.
Today, Rich and Carol still actively manage both Growing Place locations and are excited to be working towards transitioning day-to-day management to the third generation—their children, Michael and Becca.