Monday Tours

The 2019 Perennial Plant Association National Symposium in conjunction with All-America Selections and National Garden Bureau has two great tour options on Monday, July 29!  After the conclusion of both tours, join us back at the hotel for an Evening Social from 6-7pm.

Connect: GardenComm @ PPA-AAS-NGB Symposium will meet at 7pm in the Chicago Fire Oven restaurant. GardenComm Members and those interested in learning more about GardenComm are welcome.


North Shore Design Tour*- SOLD OUT

photo of Becker Garden, credit: Nina Koziol

Monday, July 29

8:15 AM - 5:00 PM

$149 Member Rate / $229 Non-Member


Limited to only 50 Attendees! The North Shore Design Tour will visit the private gardens of Mettawa Manor, Bergmann Private Garden, Camp Rosemary, Becker Private Garden, and Lenhardt Private Garden.

Mettawa Manor

The property is home to filmmaker/tv journalist Bill Kurtis and Donna LaPietra. It features an expansive double perennial border, water features, restored prairie, cutting garden, golden garden, potager and many containers. They’ve spent 25 years refurbishing and creating new gardens around the 1927 manor house. The centerpiece is a walled English-style garden with 40-foot perennial borders on either side of a sunken lawn that leads to a spring walk and rose room centered on a vintage fountain.

Bergmann Private Garden

A landscape architect, Bergmann has created stunning residential gardens for more than 25 years. His award-winning work is profiled in several books including Rosemary Verey’s The American Man’s Garden, Mary Riley Smith’s The Front Garden, Susan McClure’s Midwest Garden Design, and Page Dickey’s book Inside Out: Relating Garden to House. We will tour his private garden.

Camp Rosemary

One of the country's great estate gardens, Camp Rosemary offers plenty of inspiration, from its green allee of linden trees, the phenomenal planted pots, the expansive carpet of creeping bentgrass, mixed perennial borders, clematis-covered brick walls and much more. The expansive Lake Forest estate, designed by Rose Standish Nichols in the 1920s and later enhanced by other prominent landscape designers, includes an array of captivating garden rooms, a lush wooded ravine garden, and an exquisite pool house. Head gardener, Marya Padour, leads visitors through this intensely and imaginatively cultivated oasis, discussing historic garden elements, features gardener Posy Krehbiel added over the years, and the expert horticultural techniques used to make this garden breathtaking. The ivy-covered brick home was designed in 1904 by Benjamin H. Marshall, an influential Chicago architect who designed the Drake Hotel. The house was built for John T. Pirie, president of Carson, Pirie Scott & Co. The façade of the house reflects the Prairie School of architecture, with its low, wide windows and portico. This is one of the nation's most spectacular private gardens and the tour includes a light lunch in the pool house prepared by their Chef - you won’t want to miss it!

Becker Private Garden

Janice is an avid plant collector and long-time volunteer at the Chicago Botanic Garden’s trial gardens. Her suburban garden, packed with perennials and interesting plant combinations, was featured in Fine Gardening in 2017. Janice’s garden offers a contrast to some of the more expansive estate gardens on the tour and shows what many avid gardeners, growers and horticulturists might do in their own gardens.

Lenhardt Private Garden

Ben is Chairman Emeritus of The Garden Conservancy. He has long been an avid gardener in both Charleston, SC, and Winnetka, Illinois, participating in Garden Conservancy Open Days in both locations. His interest in garden preservation combines his keen interests in gardening and architecture, including historical preservation in Charleston. His Winnetka garden features a rolling landscape and a ravine with numerous sun- and shade-loving perennials.

West Design & Retail Tour*

photo of The Growing Place, credit: Kyle Lambert

Monday, July 29

7:30 AM - 5:15 PM

$149 Member Rate / $229 Non-Member

The West Design & Retail Tour will visit the Henry Private Garden, The Growing Place, Rush Copley, Midwest Groundcovers, the Nau Private Garden, and the Allen Private Garden.

Henry Private Garden 

Linda and Ron Henry started their garden 26 years ago with a clean palette - no landscaping, not even a single tree existed. Inspired by their love of plants (ALL plants, trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals) but never with a set plan, it has grown and evolved. What was a very sunny yard, now has areas of cool shade; each part of the garden is color specific; it is loaded with texture and blooms through out the seasons. The boarders run the length of the 1/2 acre property, with curved paths, peninsulas and islands. Three ponds, a vegetable garden and a little play house (that Ron built ) with a play yard/garden add character and interest. Attendees will surely feel the presence of happy memories during the tour - this garden has hosted The Garden Conservancy, Open Days, other charitable walks, a few classes here and there and both of their son's weddings. Enjoy this private garden tour now as this will be the last year of The Henry garden! Linda and Ron are retired and moving to a Southern climate where a new adventure - and surely a new garden - awaits. 


 The Growing Place

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.

Started from bare ground in 1989, the Aurora location has grown into a garden oasis for all who visit. The trees are maturing and the gardens are thriving. Our gift shop is located in a historical landmark — a farmhouse, circa 1860, we moved to the property in 2000. Kids and adults can let their imaginations run free while exploring our display gardens, especially the hidden garden over the bridge!

Our 18-acre Aurora location is also home to our production facilities where we grow most of our perennials, annuals, herbs, vegetable plants and mums for both locations — making our plants very locally grown!

Rush Copley

Rush Copley Courtyard Garden at the Rush Copley Medical Center, is a distinctive landscaped environment for patients and visitors to experience and enjoy. Designed by Roy Diblik in 2009, the 20,000 foot garden features trees, shrubs, and perennials that provide beauty in all seasons. Stroll through walkways to enjoy the rich texture of hydrangeas, yews and rhododendrons nestled among hostas, astilbes, and ferns. The sunny side of the garden boasts Knockout roses, catmint, perennial geraniums, and coneflowers.  A fountain provides a relaxing focal point in the garden. In addition to the courtyard garden, Rush Copley hosts several green roofs. Installed in 2012, these green roofs help manage storm water, improve air quality, and provide additional insulation to reduce heating and cooling costs.  Although functional, green roofs provide pleasing vignettes for patients to enjoy. Alliums and sedums weave together creating a tapestry for patients to view from inside the hospital.

Midwest Groundcovers

Started by Peter & Irma Orum in 1969, Midwest Groundcovers is a wholesale nursery serving Chicagoland and the greater Midwest. In 1974 Midwest moved just up the road from its original five- acre site in St. Charles to its current location. This 90+ acre property includes its main office, distribution center, U-PICK yard and a portion of its production facilities.

When the current office building was built in 1994, development of the gardens around it began in order to highlight the plants. As the years went on, maintenance of some of the gardens began to wane, especially after the Great Recession in the late 2000’s. In 2016, an effort to re-develop some of the gardens began in preparation of the 50th anniversary in 2019. Today the gardens include the Piet Oudolf “New Wave” garden; Conifer Island, the Mixed Border Garden and the Boxwood Alternative Garden, designed by Austin Eischeid; the Perennial & Ornamental Grass Display Garden and Hocus Pocus Groundcovers Garden - Midwest’s own branded line of groundcovers - designed by Karla Patterson Lynch; the Hydrangea Display Garden, Spiraea Display Garden, Rose Garden, and Perennial Trial Garden. The display gardens' goal is to provide an educational outdoor classroom, where customers and staff can observe, analyze and share feedback on mature plants and review new plants grown in trial gardens for evaluation. Visitors are welcome to walk the gardens at any time during business hours.

Wholesale and retail customers alike are also able to shop our U-PICK yard, stocked with over 300 varieties of our most popular plants, as well as special seasonal items and U-PICK exclusives.

  • 90+ acre site located in St. Charles, IL
  • Includes main office, distribution center, U-PICK yard and production facilities
  • Main building entrance features the Piet Oudolf “New Wave” garden
  • The Perennial & Ornamental Grass Display Garden , completed in 2017, features over 100 genus’ and all 450+ varieties of perennials and grasses featured in our trade list
  • Hydrangea, Spiraea and Rose display gardens allow you to compare the color, form and bloom time of all the varieties we carry.
  • Perennial trial garden features over 90 varieties of perennials and groundcovers we are currently evaluating 

Nau Private Garden

Jim Nau is a writer, gardener, industry historian and certified plant geek. He has worked for the Ball Horticultural Company for 38 years where he was in charge of their 11 acre display gardens. His own garden is located in Chicago's far western suburb of St. Charles on what was once a working farm turned into a subdivision. Old growth trees grace the neighborhood and include maples, oaks, honey locust, etc. plus some that have been planted since the house was built in 1977 including Pagoda dogwood, magnolia, redbuds and others. The herbaceous planting include vegetables, perennials, annuals as well as numerous containers.

Allen Private Garden   

This garden is the result of the combined talents of the Allen’s. Both are employed in the green industry. Keith has his own company constructing unique garden structures. Mary specializes in perennial gardens and annual displays for a wide variety of clients. The structural elements of a pond, a gazebo, and a pergola are supported by an enticing combination of perennials and woody plant material. Mary’s special talent is trash picking for objects d’art to display in her garden. She also has a rare specimen of Acapanthus ‘Blue Yonder’, which has survived in her garden since 2013. 

* Tours must have minimum numbers pre-registered or they are subject to cancellation.

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