Chuck and Mary Ellen Heidgen started Shady Hill Gardens in 1974 at our greenhouses in Batavia. Those greenhouses had been built sometime in the early 1900’s, as a cut flower growing facility, and in 1974, had been vacant for a number of years. As cut flower houses, all of the greenhouses had ground beds and there were no cement aisles and very few benches inside. We have continued to modify these greenhouses for our present uses.
Shady Hill Gardens has gained a national reputation as geranium specialists, after more than 30 years of breeding, propagating and growing geraniums of every color, shape, size and scent imaginable. Although geraniums are the largest crop that we grow, Shady Hill also produces a wide range of bedding plants, herbs, hanging baskets, vegetables, perennials and finished planters each spring. You can also find poinsettias at Christmas, as well as mums and other autumn offerings in the fall. As with the geraniums, we looking for different, unique and uncommon plants in all of the different crops that we grow.
Gardeners from all over the Chicagoland area have been coming to Shady Hill for years, to shop from an unequaled breadth of varieties and cultivars that we grow. They really enjoy wandering through the greenhouses to find something a little out of the ordinary to use in their garden or planters that they are creating for the year.
Two of Chuck’s three sons work at Shady Hill currently. Matt has been at Shady Hill for 20 years and oversees all of the growing and growers, while Joe has been here for 17 years and handles marketing and sales aspect of the business. In the spring of 1999, we opened our second location in Elburn. The greenhouses in Batavia are basically antiques and certainly have some charm, but because of their age, they also propose some challenges. Our greenhouse in Elburn is a state of the art Dutch greenhouse that has many efficiency features that make it enjoyable for our customers, as well as our staff. It will surely take some time, but we think that they will have their own character and charm and we already love that we are able to have so much more room outside to plant display gardens to inspire our customers.
After the spring of 2007, Matt and Joe Heidgen will take over the lead of Shady Hill Gardens and the entire operation will move to our greenhouse in Elburn. This will be a change in the location for the spring of 2008, but what won’t change is the management of the greenhouse and the quality and assortment of plants that we grow.
As we see it, we are first and foremost, plantsmen. Yes, we will stock some gardening accessories for our customers, but we always want the star of the show to be the plant varieties and cultivars that we choose and grow. We also pride ourselves on having a knowledgeable and attentive staff that will be able to point you in the right direction for success with whatever type of gardening fits your particular lifestyle. We hope you will stop out sometime soon and see what we are growing.