Garden Centers to Visit in Greater Chicago

mary4b(4b WI)April 21, 2014

Heading to greater Chicagoland from Wisconsin for Tues and Weds. Need a list of nurseries, even small vendors/growers who are open to visits. I'm on the look out for dwarf conifers, a few deciduous trees like tri-color birch and forest pansy redbud. Shrub-wise, wanting Thunbergii Ogon Spirea, Blacklace Elderberry and Blue Shadow Fothergilla. As to hostas...omg, anything goes!

I would love to know your favorite place to go...I'm not afraid to drive an extra hour or two, even to Indiana if there's a worthwhile place. I love every kind of nursery...the messy ones, and the pricey ones with all the unique specimens...please lead the way!

I wish I would have thought to post this sooner, as I'm leaving Tues morning, so hopefully someone in the know can help me out today. I will check back Tues & Weds mornings, too, just in case someone finds this while I'm out and about. Plus, I visit the area more than 10x a year, so even later posts will be appreciated.

Like any obsessed hosta fan, I'm willing to go north-south-east-west, off the beaten path....

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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

i have never been there.. but richs foxwillow is supposed to be great ..

i doubt he has hosta ...

i think tom mitcheletti is in greater chi town ... i cant remember.. wait.. hosta patch??? he is a past pres of the AHS ... but who knows if anything is growing.. its not a greenhouse operation, as far as i know ...

have a safe trip


Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 12:00PM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

We are a mailorder nursery specializing in the growing and selling of Hostas, and do not have provisions for on site sales.

but a quick call might get you some leads.. if no one here can


    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 12:01PM
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mary4b(4b WI)

Rich's looks awesome for Conifers, great! Thank you Ken!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 1:06PM
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Definitely not the greater Chicagoland, but I have to plug two of my favorite places that are a little less than an hour south of Chicago... The town is called Grant Park (not the Grant Park of Chicago!)
The big one is called Woldhuis Farm (Sunrise Nursery) and then Wagner's Nursery is right down the street from them.
Woldhuis is definitely worth the trip and Wagner's is a little mom and pop shop that is definitely worth stopping at while your down there!

Here is a link that might be useful: Sunrise Nursery

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 2:59PM
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Babka NorCal 9b

North of the Windy City is The Chicago Botanic Gardens in Glencoe, IL. It is about a 90 mile trip from Milwaukee. I lived in the area when they were first building the gardens. I'm sure a phone call to one of their knowledgeable staff would send you where you'd like to go.


Here is a link that might be useful: Chicago Botanic Gardens

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 3:52PM
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tsugajunkie z5 SE WI

Rich's Foxwillow Pines does carry Hosta, but whether he has any yet is another story. I've been there in April before and he did have them, but regardless, just to tour the grounds and look at his conifers is worth the trip.


    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 3:53PM
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mary4b(4b WI)

Thanks everyone, I am putting Rich's on the must do and will check out the "south of Chicago" ones to see if I can manage this time, I'm so glad to know about them...hope to get a few more suggestions still! (shameless bump!)

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 9:52PM
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I would second Rich's. Most time he took guests on his little garden cart and guide you through the place. Not sure if it is too early for hostas. He typically has his annual hosta sales in early June as a charity event.

If you don't mind a big garden and nursery center (one of the best in Chicago area, in my mind), try Chalet in Wilmet, right off I-94. They have one of the biggest selections of perennials, shrubs, annuals, grass, etc. Have some conifers but I am not familiar with them so don't know if they have a good selection. They carry many varieties of hostas, typically in gallon(s) containers so very good size. Excellent service too. Again not sure if it is still too early of the season but they are very conveniently located if you are driving on I-94.


    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 10:44PM
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mary4b(4b WI)

Vivian, I have written that down "Chalet" in Wilmet. Thank you! (I do believe I will start a "little black book" of garden destinations in the Midwest.)

Everyone, I had the most marvelous morning at Rich's. They had only one other buying couple there, and so I had Susie to myself for a good couple of hours and simply lost track of time...considering all the possibilities, and learning what I like. I have never seen so many beautiful conifer selections in my life...much of the "shopping area" is like being in a park, and they will pretty much dig out anything from the area that you want. Holy Cow, so wonderful.

Their hostas looked to be very reasonably priced and if you are anywhere near there, Susie told me that they are having their annual hosta charity event on June 7...Mark Zilis will be there to sign his new book...(and maybe to give a chat, I can't remember if she said that or not.) For the charity event (Heifer Int'l), your hosta purchases are tax deductable. At this moment, only a few hostas were visibly showing pips in the pots. I was so bedazzled by the conifers and beeches, that I really didn't focus on hostas for this particular visit.

I came home with this sweetie pie...Pinus Sylvestris Nirbeth's Aurea. (Oh, and it says printed right on the tag that the "Nirbeth's" part is not a legitimate name. Too funny!)

Thank you Ken! I felt like a made a friend in Susie and will be going back there year after year....

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 11:40PM
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