Imagine a living classroom with hundreds of perennial varieties laid out from A-Z. It’s all here at Perennial Island, located at Midwest Groundcovers in St. Charles, a wholesale nursery that is 45 minutes west of Chicago. Last week, Nature’s Perspective colleagues joined other landscaping industry professionals for the ribbon cutting ceremony of this garden, which was two years in the making.

Accessed by crossing a bridge over a large swale, this long “island” is planted in loose alphabetical order by botanical name from east to west, with ornamental grasses and sedges grouped at the far western end. Shade-loving types like Astilbe, Brunnera and Cimicifuga, and Fern and Hosta are grouped close together and tucked under trees.

ABC… Astilbe, Brunnera and Cimicifuga.

Allium ‘Peekaboo’ sits next to several Echinacea cultivars.

Sedges and grasses are found at the far west end.

Mulched paths meander through the garden, and benches are placed throughout the space for taking a rest.

While at Midwest Groundcovers, don’t miss the Piet Oudolf Garden, a stunning naturalistic perennial garden that inspired Millenium Park’s Lurie Garden. It’s only a short walk from Perennial Island, in front of the main office.

Both gardens are available for public viewing. Midwest Groundcovers is located at 6N800 IL-25, St Charles.