“Plant what you love.” That’s wisdom gleaned from Nancy Keenan, the green-thumbed matriarch of a family of avid gardeners. While spending a morning talking about gardening with Keenan and her daughters—Betsy Moran, Nora Tonn, and Trish Kinsella—we also learned to plant in odd numbers (“It’s better not to be so balanced,” says Keenan) and to pick a color palette (they all subscribe to a combo of pink, blue, white, and yellow). “We all love color,” says Keenan, an interior designer who, along with a love for cosmos, hydrangeas, and roses, has passed on to her daughters a penchant for design. We asked the stylish quartet about their favorite garden shops and their thoughts on some smart new products for livening up the backyard.

Nora Tonn, Trish Kinsella, Nancy Keenan, and Betsy Moran
(From left) Nora Tonn, Trish Kinsella, Nancy Keenan, and Betsy Moran

1) Polka dot rain boots by Merona, $24.99, at Target. Ceramic stool, $375, at I.D., 3337 N. Halsted St.; 773-755-4343, idchicago.com.

2) Yellow rain boots by Hunter & Jimmy Choo, $395, at Jimmy Choo, 63 E. Oak St.; 312-255-1170, jimmychoo.com.
“These are great garden party shoes,” says Trish Kinsella.

3) Gardening gloves by Celia Birtwell, $16.99, at Sprout Home, 745 N. Damen Ave.; 312-226-5950, sprouthome.com.
A cute gift for Mother’s Day.

4) Garden clogs, $9.99, at Target.

5) Half-apron in Amalfi Riveria from The Macbeth Collection by Margaret Josephs, $23; 201-662-8501 for stores.

6) Hose by Alice Supply Co., $40, at Seltzer Studios; 773-687-9658, seltzerstudios.com.

7) Kneeling pad by Re-new, $5.99, at Target. Spade by Alice Supply Co., $20, at Susan Fredman’s At Home In The City, 350 W. Erie St.; 312-587-8150, susanfredman.com.

8) Bucket by Alice Supply Co., $34, at Elizabeth Grace, 2438 N. Clark St.; 773-477-9830, elizabethgrace.com. Jade plant, from $9, at Jayson Home & Garden


Photography: Courtesy of vendors


Flower seed packs

Seed single pack, $1.69, at Target, 800-440-0680, target.com



Aged stone pineapple
“We are big on pineapples—they mean hospitality,” says Nancy Keenan.

Aged stone pineapple, $88, at Jayson Home & Garden, 1885 N. Clybourn Ave.; 773-248-8180, jaysonhomeandgarden.com



“Our kids would like these,” says Trish Kinsella.

Pinwheels, $22 (large), $14 (small), at Chiasso, 2112 N. Clybourn Ave.; 773-244-4100, chiasso.com


Photography: Courtesy of vendors


Watering can

Watering can by Celia Birtwell, $49, at Sprout Home



Recycled glass lantern

Recycled glass lantern, $9, at West Elm, 1000 W. North Ave.; 312-867-1770, westelm.com



Carerra fountain

Carerra fountain, $1,462, at Scentimental Gardens, 428 W. State St., Geneva; 630-232-1303, scentimentalgardens.com



Balocco planters

Balocco planters, $248 (22-inch), $148 (16-inch), at Chiasso


Photography: Courtesy of vendors


Lutyens bench
“I have this bench painted white in my garden,” says Nancy Keenan.

Lutyens Bench, $1,785, at Restoration Hardware, 938 W. North Ave.; 312-475-9116, restorationhardware.com



Aged Allende urns
“Good for container and patio gardens,” says Betsy Moran.

Aged Allende urns, $115 (large), $85 (medium), $55 (small), at Jayson Home & Garden



Cray Pretty Useful Tools set

Cray Pretty Useful Tools, $35 for a set, at Sprout Home



Chalkboard herb marker

Chalkboard herb marker, $3.95, at Crate and Barrel, 646 N. Michigan Ave.; 312-787-5900, crateandbarrel.com


Photography: Courtesy of vendors


Don’t Have a Yard?

A few ideas for city dwellers

Peanut birdfeeder

Peanut birdfeeder, $98, at Design Within Reach, 10 E. Ohio St.; 312-280-4677, dwr.com



Tabletop terrarium

Tabletop terrarium, $228 (large), at Anthropologie, 1120 N. State St.; 312-255-1848, anthropologie.com



"Off the Wall" mini plant pot

“Off the Wall” mini plant pot by Thelermont Hupton, $28, by order at A+R; 800-913-0071, aplusrstore.com


WHERE THEY SHOP: (Plants) The Growing Place in Naperville and Aurora, The Hidden Gardens in Willowbrook, Vern Goers Greenhouse in Hinsdale, and Hinsdale Nursery in Plano. (Ornaments) Scentimental Gardens in Geneva, Fuller’s Home & Hardware in Hinsdale, Vintage Charm in LaGrange, The Courtyard in Hinsdale, and flea markets. 


Photography: Courtesy of vendors