Gardens. Art lovers have been fascinated by them for years. From Hieronymus Bosche’s Garden of Earthly Delights through Andy Warhol’s Poppies, botanical depictions have been capturing the imaginations of not only viewers but the artists who created them.

And it is no wonder – nature’s palette provides a soothing retreat for those who take the time to drink it in. One could get lost in the contemplation of scenic pathways and gorgeous vistas while appreciating the inherent beauty of the natural state.

All this made me think, ‘If the visual appreciation of garden imagery generates such a powerful response, what magic would be unleashed if one actually cultivated his or her own greenery?’ A long-overdue discovery was about to be made – the melding of science, existence, exercise, stress relief, and fellowship culminates into an explosion of fragrance, color, and a lot of tomatoes when the seeds are sown and nurtured.

Just as the topical landscape blossomed, an awareness of something else came about – gardens spawn benevolence. Friends and family, knowing that they can help the emerging horticulturist, will donate plants and cuttings from their own flower beds. And don’t think about buying new tools; the neighbor down the street has a garage filled with spades, trowels, hoes and a hose that she’s willing to lend.

While this new avocation can be costly, the benefits far outweigh the negatives.

Turning in my spike heels for plain spikes (Dracaena Idvidisa for those who caught the fauna fever long ago), I found that the rewards of first blooms are more exciting than finding Manolo markdowns.

Instead of browsing the outlet malls, why not take a trip to Naperville’s The Growing Place where shoppers can purchase plants that will thrive year after year, long after the current fads and fashion trends have gone stale. The knowledgeable staff offers guidance, keeping budget in mind so that a plain yard can look like Van Gogh’s garden at Arles in no time.

The Growing Place

25W471 Plank Road, Naperville, IL 60563

Phone. 630-355-4000