Visit the Kane County Master Gardener’s Idea Garden this summer

Discover inspiring ways to grow native vegetables, fruits, flowers, herbs and plants at the Kane County Master Gardener Idea Garden in St. Charles. Trained volunteers at the University of Illinois Extension will host three summer open houses to share growing ideas and expertise.

Visitors are invited to visit the garden from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Saturdays June 18 and July 16 and Tuesday August 9.

Master gardeners will also be available for questions and discussions.

“The Idea Garden is back this year, and once again it features innovative gardening methods and fun designs that are easy to replicate at home,” said Sarah Fellerer, Kane County Master Gardener Program Coordinator. “Some new features include a Hugelkulter style bed, a host plant garden of black swallowtail butterflies, native plant patches for sun and shade conditions, small pumpkins and fruit patches with goji berries, sea ​​berries, rhubarb and raspberries.”

There are also a variety of themed gardens, such as fairy, tea, Victorian, English cottage and even one designed to feed guinea pigs.

“This year we also have unique projects involving tomatoes, including a patch planted with seeds that have been in space, and another with a heirloom variety with a rich history and Chicagoland ties,” added Fellerer.

The “Space” seeds spent five years in orbit around Earth before returning home with the shuttle Columbia in 1989. In 1990, schools across the country grew the special seeds as part of a grand science experiment , and recently Kane County Master Gardeners found a leftover kit. from that experience and started planting tomato seedlings that are now growing in the idea garden.

The second unique tomato patch features the Inciardi Dough Tomato, which has also taken a historic journey.

“It was brought from Sicily to America by the Inciardi family, who sewed the seed into their clothes so they wouldn’t be confiscated at Ellis Island,” Fellerer said. “Henry Inciardi settled in Chicago, worked for General Electric, and survived the tragic disaster in Eastland. His family continued to cultivate the seeds for decades until they nearly died out.”


However, the variety was brought back by a handful of local gardeners who continued to grow and save the seeds. Today it is grown almost exclusively in the Chicago area.

The Idea Garden is located at 3480 Lincoln Hwy. (Route 38), at the intersection with Peck Road, in St Charles. Visitors enter via the Route 38 driveway. Follow the evolution of the idea garden on

If a reasonable accommodation is required to participate, contact or call (630) 584-6166. Advance requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time to meet your access needs.

Help desk open

Do you have questions about your garden, lawn or trees?

The University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners also host a Seasonal Helpline at (630) 584-6166, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, or by email at uiemg-

For more information, visit

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