A Wild and Wonderful Oasis
Walter Stephens founded the Natural Garden in 1953 after rescuing a variety of native species from development and cultivating woodland natives for his own garden.
Stephens sold The Natural Garden® to Craig Sensor, who hired on his first employee of the Natural Garden Roy Diblik, Northwind Perennial Farm owner and prominent plantsman, horticulturist, and planting design expert.
Bob Horlock –avid native plant proponent and namesake of the Horlock Hill, a restored prairie in St. Charles – ultimately became The Natural Garden’s® primary seed supplier by collecting from surrounding natural areas. The Natural Garden Natives® collection of plants developed into more than 280 native plant species.
The Natural Garden had reached over one million dollars in sales and had become one of the largest perennial retail and wholesale nurseries in Illinois. The Natural Garden® was the first nursery in the area to containerize natives and was considered the expert in growing native prairie plants.
Midwest Groundcovers acquired The Natural Garden, which facilitated a valuable expansion of their native plant lines.
Midwest Groundcovers continues native plant production, but not sales, at The Natural Garden® nursery site, now known as Midwest Natural Garden. Now sold through Midwest Groundcovers, keeping the Natural Garden Natives® production location separate from our other native plant lines keeps the local eco-type specification of these native plants separate. These natives include a wide assortment of species from which well-balanced plant communities can be established. Indigenous to Illinois, they occur naturally in the Midwest and are ideal for growing throughout the region.