As we pulled into the driveway, the first thing we saw was this wonderful old barn. Possibility Place is so much more than a nursery.
Wisteria was blooming on the lovely arbor entrance.
I had to get a closer look at the weather vane on top of the arbor.
We did some preliminary exploring as we waited for our tour. We had to laugh when we came across this garden ornament.
Peeking through the woods, this friendly scene caught my eye.
Just as the clouds opened, we were greeted by Connor Shaw, the nursery's owner and our tour guide. Due to the rain, Connor decided to start our tour in one of the greenhouses. We learned a lot about the rewards, methods, and challenges of growing and selling native trees, shrubs, and perennials.
Connor Shaw (with raindrop on the camera lens)
Here, he's showing us one of his very special plug trays. Possibility Place uses a very different, (and expensive) container system for growing these plants. The holes in the sides and bottoms of the containers encourage roots to branch, instead of growing around the sides and bottoms.
Earlier this spring I was impressed with how well the plants I purchased from a couple of native plant sales had already established and grown in my garden. The organizations hosting the sales had gotten their plants from Possibility Place. Learning about Connor's superior growing methods, I understood why the native plants I purchased were doing so well.
one lovely view after another.
Just about the time Connor was wrapping up his presentation inside the greenhouse, the rain stopped. We were able to go back outside to check out more of the beautiful grounds, with Connor as our expert guide.
one of several beautiful gardens on the nursery's grounds.
Our discussion continued, with Connor talking about the native trees, shrubs, grasses, sedges, rushes, and forbs he grows on the grounds, his philosophies, and his extensive knowledge and experience.
white baptisia - isn't it gorgeous?
Packing is planting more closely than conventional wisdom might dictate, shading the soil better and leaving little light or space for weed growth. I was very happy to hear someone with his experience talking about this kind of spacing. (I tend to plant more closely than plant labels suggest.)
swamp rose - wonderfully fragrant.
native honeysuckle - much more interesting and beautiful than the imported, invasive honeysuckle.
yet another lovely view. A few annuals add color.
I jumped at the opportunity to attend this field trip. It was only last year that I first heard of Possibility Place, as I was looking for a local supplier of native plants. I did already have some natives in the garden, and wanted to add more. Last year I became aware of a couple of local, annual native plant sales. I wasn't able to check them out due to conflicts in my work schedule, but learned that the plants were locally-grown at Possibility Place, this hidden south-suburban gem.
Primarily a wholesale grower, Possibility Place also sells to the general public. Choose plants through the catalog, call to place your order, and make an appointment to pick up your plants - it's that easy! Your plants will be set aside and ready for payment and pickup. They don't ship, but for us locals that's ok, because you'll really want to get a peak at this gorgeous, inspiring place.
Thank you so much Connor, for sharing your passion for native plants, for being so generous with your time and knowledge, and for letting us pick your brain! It was a pleasure and privilege meeting you, and a great learning experience. I think it's safe to say we all left with lots of information, ideas and inspiration, and an increased appreciation for native plants and the challenges and rewards you experience growing them for us.