Old post, but I thought I'd shout out! I actually live north of Chicago now, but I grew up in St. L (which means I rue the loss of holly *trees* and southern magnolias). I still go down there frequently, especially to see the spring Rhodie smorgasbord at Shaw's Garden. I always end up with a trunk full of plants, and last year I found two nurseries with great R.- Garden Heights in Richmond Heights (where I found R. daphnoides) and Bowood Farms, first place I saw Joseph and Michael Hills.
Do you have any recommendations for my trip this spring? : )
Here is the web site for the midwest rhododendron sociaty . There a lot of rhodo growers around Chicago as for as nursery you can not go wrong at bayers in Imperial Mo . A few Minuets from interstate 55 and 270( south on 55)