Horticulture -

“the art and science of growing flowers, fruits, vegetables, trees and shrubs resulting in the development of the minds and emotions of individuals, the enrichment and health of communities, and the integration of the ‘garden’ in the breadth of modern civilization.” (Diane Relf, Prof of Horticulture at Virginia Polytechnic University)


In case you have missed any of our great articles on the many native plants we grow, we have pulled them all together for you in one place!

Native Plants

Have Many Uses In a Designed Landscape Provenance of plants for urban sites is a growing concern. Choosing plants that originate from the relative climate in which they will be planted is like buying insurance for a successful landscape.
(click here for complete article)

Kentucky Coffeetree - Native

Gymnocladus dioicus -
Kentucky Coffeetree

Urban tolerant and native to the midwest, Kentucky Coffeetree is a
beautiful addition to any landscape.
Learn more about this valuable tree here.
USDA's PLANTS Database
OSU Plant Dictionary
Native Trees For Roadside Use in Illinois


Native Plants
Edible Landscaping
StreetSmart Trees for Extreme Landscapes

Catalog Description:
Gymnocladus dioicus - Kentucky Coffeetree

Butternut - Native

Juglans cinera - Butternut
A native edible-fruit bearing tree well suited for sunny, well-drained sites.
Learn More Here

Native Plants
Edible Landscapes
Fall Planting

Catalog Description:

Juglans cinera - Butternut

American Hornbeam - Native

Carpinus caroliniana -
American Hornbeam
An interesting winter silhouette, wildlife friendly and tolerant, this native tree is a must-have for any landscape.
Learn more here.

Native Plants
StreetSmart Trees for Extreme Landscapes
Urban Wildlife

Catalog Description:

Carpinus caroliniana - American Hornbeam

Common Hackberry - Native

Celtis occidentalis -
Common Hackberry
Native to the midwest and tolerant of various landscape situations, the Hackberry is a hardy urban tree.
Learn more here.

Native Plants
Edible Landscaping
StreetSmart Trees for Extreme Landscapes
Urban Wildlife

Catalog Description:

Celtis occidentalis - Common Hackberry

River Birch - A Noteworthy Native

Birch and their Alder relatives, are lightweight trees from the forest fringes, adapted to poor soils and extremes of drought or wet. Birch are the hardiest of broadleaf trees, with species growing all the way up to the tundra. The 60 or so species of Birch vary mostly by bark color, but Betula nigra, known as Red birch, Water birch, or Black birch, but most commonly as River Birch, is one of most adaptable to sites, diseases, and heat...

The Next Generation of Oaks

Although very few of the natural savannas are left, the oak remains a formidable, if underutilized tree in our natural areas and urban landscapes. Oaks are valuable for their strength, beauty, and adapatability to many sites and conditions. There is an oak for almost any landscape situation, including even the most difficult urban sites... (click here for complete article)

History of Our Native Oaks
GO Trees- Container Tree system
A Word of Caution on Fertilizing Woody Plants
Landscaping Not Just For the Birds

Catalog Descriptions
White Oak Group
Bur Oak -
Quercus macrocarpa
Chinkapin Oak - Quercus muehlenbergii
Swamp White Oak - Quercus bicolor
White Oak - Quercus alba

Red / Black Oak Group
Shumard Oak - Quercus shumardii
Shingle Oak - Quercus imbricaria
Red Oak - Quercus rubra
Black Oak - Quercus velutina
Scarlet Oak - Quercus coccinea
Hills / Northern Pin Oak - Quercus ellipsoidalis
Pin Oak - Quercus palustris

Return Of The Oaks

With Fall season comes beautiful fall colors, and scary Halloween stories like...View Blog
...the Return of the...Oaks?
Actually, the Return of the Oaks is not scary at all!
McHenry County without them is!
In an exciting article by Rose Rankin, recently published in the Northwest Quarterly, Return of the Oaks eloquently describes the efforts being made to save the “majestic but disappearing trees”.
McHenry County Nursery, Glacier Oaks Nursery, The Land Conservancy of McHenry County, McHenry County Conservation District are just a few of the organizations committed to making sure these old forests and historic trees - their conservation and regeneration - make a comeback.

Click here to read about the Chicago Gateway Green TREEcago project.

You can find Northwest Quarterly at Barnes & Noble, Borders, Book World or Click here for subscription information

Click here for more information on the Oaks grown at Besson's McHenry County Nursery

Hawthorns - The Wild Ones

Hawthorns are a group of small trees that grow in the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. In the Midwest, they are grown commercially for ornamental trees, street trees, and natural areas. There are many species, but most are dense, somewhat wild looking small trees.

Serviceberry A Sweet Sign of Spring

This spring, take a walk through the still sleeping early spring woods. In the midst of the grays and browns, you may come upon a delicate whisper that spring is here. The Amelanchier are blooming with soft clouds of white flowers....
click here for complete article)

Catalog Descriptions
Amelanchier alnifolia
Amelanchier alnifolia 'Regent'
Amelanchier canadensis
Amelanchier x grandiflora Autumn Blaze
Amelanchier x grandiflora Cole's Select
Amelanchier x grandiflora Princess Diana
Amelanchier laevis

An Arborvitae-A-Day...

The common name Arborvitae comes from the latin word meaning 'tree of life' and dates from the 16th century when Native Americans and early settlers used the Vitamin C rich foliage to treat scurvy...
(click here for complete article)

Catalog Descriptions:
Emerald Arborvitae - Thuja occidentalis Emerald
Holmstrup Arborvitae - Thuja occidentalis Holmstrup
Little Gem Arborvitae - Thuja occidentalis Little Gem
Dark Green Arborvitae - Thuja occidentalis Nigra
Pyramidal Compact Arborvitae - Thuja occidentalis Pyramidalis Compact
Pyramidal Arborvitae - Thuja occidentalis Pyramidal
Techny Arborvitae - Thuja occidentalis Techny
Tiny Tim Arborvitae - Thuja occidentalis Tiny Tim
Globe Arborvitae - Thuja occidentalis Woodwardii