Our Roots

Our Beginning as Emma’s Perennials

Emma and Fritz Glatzhofer opened Emma’s Perennials in 1936 and we have been family-owned and operated ever since.

Emma and Fritz began by selling field-grown perennials. Plants were propagated and planted directly into the ground in 4- by 12-foot beds. When plants were ready, Emma and Fritz would dig them up for customers to take home. Over the years, they earned a reputation for growing the finest perennials in the Chicago area. 

Fun Fact – Some of the plants from the original gardens are still in our Learning Gardens in Naperville and Aurora today!

Becoming The Growing Place

In 1973, Rich Massat—Emma and Fritz’s nephew—and his wife, Carol, undertook the challenge of restoring Emma’s Perennials. For the first few years, they continued to propagate and dig up perennials from the ground but eventually began growing plants in containers to keep up with demand. This allowed them to expand their selection and offer perennials, annuals, roses, and edibles throughout the season and maintain high-quality standards.

In 1976, Rich and Carol renamed Emma’s Perennials to The Growing Place nursery & flower farm. Most of the production beds were converted to display gardens that have evolved to be filled with nearly 800 well-labeled plant varieties. We like to call them our Learning Gardens because each garden reflects typical garden situations that homeowners will encounter in their own yards.

Growing The Growing Place

Since the first days of Rich and Carol’s gardening adventure, they’ve made it their mission to deliver uncompromising quality and selection as well as garden inspiration and information.

In the late 1980s, they decided more space was needed to grow plants. Originally planned as a production-only facility, by the early 1990s The Growing Place in Aurora was open for business. Now, Aurora has grown into its own with over an acre of Learning Gardens, the same plant selections, and of course, our growing facilities.  

Fun Fact – In 2000, Carol purchased a 19th-century farmhouse for $300. Originally located on the Hageman farm where Ogden and 75th street meet, it now resides on our property. Inside you’ll find our Gift Shop filled with accents for your home and garden.

The Next Generation

Today, Rich and Carol’s children, Michael and Becca are managing the day-to-day operations in Naperville & Aurora. Both spent many days growing up at The Growing Place and are excited to be the future of the company.


Plant Search

Find the Right Plant for the Right Place



Our online plant search is here to help you plan your garden or landscape. Search our selections for pictures and detailed descriptions about most of the plants we carry.