• 2015: Year of the Coleus
    Coleus has a long history of use in our gardens as a foliage plant and has gone through various phases of popularity over the past couple of centuries. The relative ease of establishment after planting combined with a wide range of selections has made coleus indispensable in the garden and popular in the container as well.
  • 2015: Year of the Gaillardia
    Some of our best garden flowers started in the New World, went to Europe for culture, then returned to great acclaim. Gaillardia is one of these. Its daisy flowers usually come in shades of red or orange with fringed rays that look like their tips have been dipped in yellow paint. Plants bloom heavily from summer through fall, don’t mind the heat, and prosper with less water than most other high-performance flowers.
  • 2015: Year of the Sweet Pepper
    Sweet peppers bring a rainbow of colors and a plethora of shapes to the table. It is easy to value them for looks and flavor alone, but the sweet pepper is a nutritional powerhouse as well. Peppers have high nutrient levels at any stage but are the most beneficial when eaten fully ripe.
2015: Year of the Coleus - Abbey Road


2015: Year of the Gaillardia - Gaillardia aristata


2015: Year of the Sweet Pepper - Admiral Yellow



Our Fundraiser gets Attention from Major Media Outlets!

National Garden Bureau recently launched a campaign to help the Julie + Michael Tracy Family Foundation complete a 1.5 acre therapeutic garden, one that will uniquely assist young adults with autism learn important life and career skills. The story has already reached millions through major media news outlets:

  • Fox News Chicago visited the farm during fall harvest then reported with this story.
  • ABC News did this wonderful piece on our fundraiser and the benefits of the garden.
  • Click here to see Growing for Futures featured on WGN TV news.
  • Chicago Tribune published this feature in its Life & Style section. 
  • This story appeared on WTTW's Chicago Tonight and gave a thorough look into farm workers.
  • Click here to listen to Mike Nowak discuss the garden on his weekly radio show.

The Growing Solutions Farm is located in Chicago, Illinois and is the first beneficiary in this annual fundraising effort by the National Garden Bureau.



Click here to help us fund the garden's expansion with a donation via PayPal.


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Therapeutic and Healing Gardens

We hear time and again how gardeners use their garden spaces to unwind from their day, get away from it all, relieve stress, etc. So it’s no surprise to us who already enjoy gardening that working either indoors or outdoors with plants is good for the body and soul. In fact, we just read this blog post by Jane Gates touting all the health benefits of home gardening. These days, there is more and more research showing how gardens and garden tasks can play an extremely important role in healthcare, treating ailments and afflictions, teaching or re-teaching physical activities and even providing occupational training for the future. This is known as Horticultural Therapy.

According to a more precise definition by the Chicago Botanic Garden, Horticultural Therapy is the professionally directed use of plant, garden and nature activities to achieve measurable physical and mental health outcomes. Gardens built to achieve those outcomes are often called therapeutic or health care gardens and are designed by horticulture/landscape professionals in conjunction with health care professionals.  
There are numerous terminologies attached to this area of garden design and function so we will define a few of the different types of gardens that are similar to therapeutic gardens:
Healing gardens – A garden that supports generalized healing by helping patients who have had physical, mental, emotional or spiritual harm become healthful, well and whole.
Rehabilitation garden – A garden used as therapy to restore a patient’s mobility.
Enabling gardens – A garden used to teach and inspire accessible gardening by example.
Meditation/Contemplation garden – A garden space that encourages reflection for spiritual and mental healing.
The basic premise is the same, and that’s to use a garden (ornamental or edible; inside or outside; small or large) as a tool for physical and mental healing. Some garden tasks are perfect for someone with limited mobility and will possibly allow them to continue to live on their own and grow their own food. A beautiful garden setting with the right amount of sun exposure can aid healing in patients young and old. Simply having a garden on site of a hospital, rehab center or retirement home (to name a few) encourages getting outside and soaking up the sun. A teaching garden within a school will teach life and survival skills for children of all ages, abilities and economic backgrounds.
In some recent research on the topic, we’ve found multiple sources of useful information.
The American Society of Landscape Architects is an organization for professional landscape architects, the ones who design therapeutic gardens, and has this article on defining a Therapeutic Garden.
The Chicago Botanic Garden not only has an Enabling Garden on their grounds (read about it here) but also offers a Horticultural Therapy Certificate Program.
The Therapeutic Landscapes Network is an online community of people and companies interested in using horticulture as therapy.
For professionals, there is the American Horticulture Therapy Association that assists their members advance the practice of horticulture as therapy.
All gardeners should understand the many ways gardening is beneficial and encourage the establishment of therapeutic gardens in their own communities. National Garden Bureau is passionate about inspiring more people to garden and horticulture therapy just gives us one more great reason to promote gardening. The more we know, the more we can help!

  • Eggplant 'Early Midnight Hybrid'

    This eggplant excels in every way. The plump, dark-skinned, radiant fruits arrive up to a week before other large fruited varieities. 'Early Midnight' is 6-inches in diameter and nearly seedless, yielding creamy sweet fruits with gourmet-worthy flavor.

  • Pansy  'Plentifall White'

    Plentifall Pansies spread and trail vigorously to fill and cover cool-season hanging baskets. It’s the perfect choice as a “spiller” in mixed containers or as groundcover. Plentifall has medium-size blooms in crisp colors of Lavender Blue, Purple Wing, White, and a Mix. It holds up well in rain and chilly weather. Watch it trail over large containers or garden borders. Bred for excellent overwintering qualities as well.

  • Bean 'Mascotte' 2014 AAS Award Winner

    'Mascotte' bean bears slim, stringless beans on compact plants, so it’s perfect for window boxes, patio containers, and small space gardens. Its disease resistance makes for reliable growing, and its upright plant offers easy harvest over a long window of time. As an AAS Winner, 'Mascotte' has demonstrated strong garden performance in all regions of the United States. Mascotte’s crisp texture, good bean flavor, and true filet size make the pods perfect for fresh snacking, sautéing, or steaming.

  • Agastache 'Astello Indigo'

    Agastache hybrida ‘Astello Indigo’ is highly versatile and can be grown for perennial and annual borders, containers and patio pots, alone or in mixed combinations. This variety creates a beautiful sight when planted ‘en masse’ in borders or landscape plantings. Ideal for Northern European-type climates – performed well in trials in warmer climates but is at its best in more temperate conditions.

    ‘Astello Indigo’ can be grown in various pot sizes for spring and early summer plantings. It will bloom from a spring sowing in the first year in 9cm up to 22cm pots. Robust plants with disease free culture. Landscapers can fill larger areas with a sea of uniform, deep Indigo-Blue colour. The trendy colour and attractive fragrance will enchant gardeners who have endless usage opportunities with this variety, in patio, terrace or balcony containers or garden beds, long-flowering, disease-resistant and hardy. Flower spikes can also be dried for attractive, fragrant pot pourri. Attracts bees and butterflies into the garden.

    Agastache hybrida ‘Astello Indigo’ is a Fleuroselect Gold Medal Winner.

  • Foxglove 'Mountains Mixed'

    Gorgeous mixture of unique upward facing flowers. Sturdy stems with masses of blooms look up to the sky, making it easy for you and the bees to peep inside.

    • Hardy Biennial Zones 4-8
    • Excellent for borders or cottage-style gardens.
    • Sow indoors 8-10 weeks before last frost
    • Will grow in any garden soil in full sun or part shade
    • Flowers summer
    • Height: 36-56in (90-140cm)
    • Caution: All parts are poisonous.

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