Why the Armchair Gardener?

My Dad was a gardener, and he infected all five of us kids with the gardening bug to some extent. As long as he could pull a weed, each summer there were always fresh tomatoes—always Marglobe and Rutgers, along with whatever variety was in fashion—and green peppers. And there were always winter onions, which shared a patch of ground with tomatoes in the back garden, and grapes and fruit trees in our back yard.

With the vegetable garden and the fruit trees as his realm, I turned to flowers to exercise my own green thumb. Some day lilies, a couple rhododendrons (who knew they were so fussy, they grew like mad in our yard) and a couple tiger lilies were already established. Dad let me carve out a perennial border along one of the garages and plant a honeysuckle I got from a school friend. A tiny square of soil between the vegetable patch and the patio became a rose garden. And I planned and planned and planned gardens that would never be on the large lot our house sat on. And when I moved to my own house, not far from my parents, I spent as much or more time in the gardens than I did fixing up the house (and sure I did a lot of fixing up of that old house!).

This is a long way to get to the fact that gardening is in my blood, thanks to Dad. In 2015, my husband Joe and I bought a great 19th-century two-flat on a double lot in north Chicago. The gardens were established by the previous owner, who favored prairie wildflowers of the upper mid-west. The catalog on this site was begun with the plants already established here and those I will add as time goes on. This site will eventually also provide an opportunity for me to share what I know as well as learn from other gardeners who will be able to share their stories here.

I hope you enjoy this site as much as I have enjoyed building it, and if you do enjoy it, become a contributor and make it better!


Nick Dorochoff, The Armchair Gardener