6.13.2018

{dirt 60631} My Plant Sources

{dirt 60631} chronicles Yvonne's garden journey in a Zone 5, Chicago city lot.


A recent garden visitor asked me where I get my plants.  I guess my answer was a shock as she preceded to state that I needed a bumper sticker ... "This Car Stops for Plants".  In retrospect, she may be right.

I have been known to drive as far as Kansas City to purchase Arborvitae Spring Grove, Thuja plicata 'Grovepli', that I couldn't find anywhere else close.  And while this may seem silly to most, you need to know that I already had some in the garden, and lost a few due to stormy weather and substituting another variety in its place just wasn't going to do.  So, on the Internet I went, and then in the car I drove to Kansas City for two Spring Grove Arborvitae and a visit to Dad's.  I have also been known to follow road signs that advertises a local plant sale; after all, you never know what plant nerd out there is potting up some of their prized possessions that have outgrown their space and is putting them up for sale.  And, I will stop if I see a landscaper tearing out someones garden so I can see whats worth rescuing from the landfill.  So yes, this car does stop for plants!

above.  The entrance to the back garden with a pair Malus 'Prairiefire' in full glory.


Since she was amazed at the sources I use for plants, I thought I would share the info for you other plant nerds out there ...

Al's Auto Body and Arboretum.  Yes, Al's Auto Body and Arboretum, Walworth, Wisconsin.  He specializes in hostas and has a unique selection of some older varieties that you don't often see ... twist of lime, golden scepter, lemontini, lemon lime, and 100's more.  He hosts 'Hosta Fest' once a year around Memorial Day.  Its worth the trip to see the three acre hosta farm under large pine trees behind the auto body shop.

The Flower Factory, Stoughton, Wisconsin, is about a 2 hour drive from Chicago and is my source for unique ferns, Japanese iris, Siberian iris and more.  Their catalog is extensive so make sure you go with an empty car.

John Scheepers, Bantam, Connecticut, is mail order and my go to source for snowdrop, daffodil, tulip, and allium bulbs.  My iconic Burgundy Lace tulips come from here.

Hornbaker Gardens, Princeton, Illinois.  I originally heard about this place from a fellow gardener I meet at one of the Garden Conservancy's Open Days.  When I went in July, I was stunned!  Hostas, hostas, hostas, and day lilies, day lilies, day lilies.  Go in July when the day lily fields are in bloom.  You will be blown away.

K & W Greenery, Janesville, Wisconsin.  This a great source for specialty conifers.  This is where I found the contorted Douglas Fir in the back garden and the Tiger Fern in the Fern Theater.

Koepke's, Oregon, Wisconsin, is my go to source for zonal geraniums, scented geraniums, and specialty geraniums.  This is the only place I can find Patriot Lavender Blue.

Meinke Garden Center, Niles, Illinois, is my go to source for David Austin roses and Fuchsias.  They also have the cheapest mushroom compost around.

Milaeger's Garden Center, Racine, Wisconsin, is a source for specialty conifers, unusual annuals, and more.  For those of you that keep asking, this is where I get the large Australian Tree Fern for the Fern Theater.

Northwind, Burlington, Wisconsin, is inspiration.  It has an interesting display garden to walk thru and sells perennials you don't often see.  I was even able to score an antique garden urn here.

Plant Delights, Raleigh, North Carolina, is a mail order nursery.  The Arisaema ringens in the shade garden are from here.  Their catalog is extensive and a plant nerds dream; and, the cover is a hoot!  Every year the cover has a different spoof on the previous years intriguing stories.  They also have a few open houses a year where you can visit and purchase plants.  Next year's open house is on my bucket list!


above.  The Fern Theater starting it's summer show.

If you have a source I don't know about, please, please, drop me a comment.  I'm always on the hunt.  Happy planting!



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