About Adam Woodruff

Adam Woodruff has practiced garden design since 1995. He trained as a Botanist at Eastern Illinois University. Woodruff attributes his unique design aesthetic, naturalism with a twist, to early college exposures to a diverse range of plants and environments (collecting trips in local prairies, field excursions to bogs in Canada and treks through forests of the Northeast). He also maintained the campus greenhouse, where he fell in love with tropicals. In recent years, influences on his designs include travels abroad to Europe, Asia and the Yucatan peninsula as well as observation of the work of great plantsmen such as Piet Oudolf and Roy Diblik. Woodruff’s designs often combine grasses, prairie natives and perennials with lush tropical foliage and seasonal blooms. This harmonious blending of plant material that is not conventionally grouped together is the ‘twist’ that makes his style unique.

Author Archive | Adam Woodruff

GGW Plant Pick of The Month- Echinacea


Echinacea purpurea 'Rubinglow' at the Lurie Garden in Chicago, IL

This winter I finalized a 10,000 square foot design for clients who reside in a rural setting in central Illinois. Their recently renovated Prairie Style home has lovely views of nearby timber and a vast meadow. The site and home lend themselves to a more naturalistic garden.

Coneflowers (Echinacea spp.) are in abundance in the design. As I’ve been submitting plant orders for the upcoming installation, they seemed an appropriate choice for May’s GGW Plant Pick of The Month. Continue Reading →

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The Gardens at Ball

[Note from Adam: Susan Mahr, Outreach Specialist and Master Gardener with the University of Wisconsin-Madison wrote a piece on The Gardens at Ball, filled with wonderful photos and detailed information. Certain content in this post has been paraphrased.]


For the past several years, one of the highlights of my summer has been visiting the grounds of Ball Horticultural Company in West Chicago, Illinois. Many of the annual plants I use in my designs originate from Ball as seeds, seedling plugs and rooted cuttings. They are the largest horticultural seed company in the U.S. Continue Reading →

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GGW Plant Pick of The Month- Zinnia

Zinnia elegans 'Uproar Rose'

Zinnia elegans 'Uproar Rose'

Twenty-five years ago, as an adolescent, I developed an unexpected friendship with an elderly woman who lived down the street. Mabel Hart Crooks had an elaborate yard, filled with beautiful blooming plants. She was in her mid 90′s and needed some help with maintenance- mowing, weeding, pruning and occasionally planting. I was 13 and wanted the money! I credit her with sparking my interest in plants and gardening.

I recall my first experience sowing annuals from seed was under Mrs. Crooks’ supervision. They were zinnias, April’s GGW Plant Pick of the Month. Continue Reading →

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GGW Plant Pick of The Month: Perovskia atriplicifolia

Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) is one of my favorite plants. It is a staple in my design work.

Perovskia, Echinacea- Chicago Botanic Garden Continue Reading →

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What should I expect when hiring a garden designer?

Today I’m going to detail my design process in hopes of giving those readers who may be interested in hiring a professional garden designer some insight into the process. This information may be helpful to other designers as well. Keep in mind, this is just how my business operates. I have refined this business model over several years to accommodate my small operation. Your experience will likely vary.

Residential - before

Residential - before

Continue Reading →

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