Resource Guide for the Model Railroad Garden

Local Organizations

Chicago Area Garden Railroad Society
Contact Person: Bob Hanselman
(847) 533-6219

LGB Model Railroad Club of Chicago
Contact Person: Jim Rusch
(630) 830-0378

Midwest Rails Modular Club
Contact Person: Bert Lattan
(847) 295-7959

Magazines And Websites

Garden Railways magazine
Kalmbach Publishing Company
(800) 243-4898

Steam in the Garden magazine
Steam in the Garden, Inc.
(607) 642-8119
Join for online chats, forums, articles, and more about garden-scale trains.
The home page for the National Model Railroad Association offers basic information, projects for beginners, and a list of publications related to model railroading.
This website is the hub of a campaign called “World’s Greatest Hobby,” launched to raise public awareness of the hobby of model railroading and to make it easy for newcomers to get started.

Retail Sources For Plants

Here are recommended sources for miniature plants. Call your local nursery or garden center to see if they carry the plants that interest you.

Arrowhead Alpines
P.O. Box 857
Fowlerville, MI 48836
(517) 223-3581

990 Tetherow Road
Williams, OR 97544-9599
(541) 846-7269
Plants from around the world.

Midwest Groundcovers
P.O. Box 748
6N800 Route 25
St. Charles, IL 60174
(847) 742-1790
Ground covers, perennials, shrubs, grasses and more.
Mail order is not available.

Mini Forests by Sky
P.O. Box 1156
Mulino, OR 97042
(503) 632-3555
Miniature plants for small-scale use.

Plant Delights
9241 Sauls Road
Raleigh, NC 27603
(919) 772-4794
Specializing in perennials.

Rich’s Foxwillow Pines
11618 McConnell Road Woodstock, IL 60098
(815) 338-7442
Garden conifers and rare trees.

Siskiyou Rare Plant Nursery
2115 Talent Ave
Talent, OR 97540
(541) 535-7103
Hard-to-find hardy perennials, shrubs and smaller conifers.

Resource Guide Books

Freezer, Cyril J. The Garden Railway Manual: A Step-by-Step Guide to Building and Operating an Outdoor Model Railway. Sparkford, Somerset, UK: Patrick Stephens, 1995.

Miller, Allen W. Getting Started in Garden Railroading. Iola, Wis.: Krause Publications, 2001.

Schleicher, Robert. The Large-Scale Model Railroading Handbook. 2nd ed. Iola, Wis.: Krause Publications, 2000.


Building a Basic Garden Railroad
This 19-minute, step-by-step guide produced by the Large Scale Model Railroad Association (©LSMRA, 2000) shows how you can set up your own garden railroad in a single weekend. Available through Kalm- bach Publishing. VHS only.
Call (800) 533-6644 for more information.

Hobby Stores

Chicagoland Hobby
6017 Northwest Highway Chicago, IL 60631
(773) 775-4848

Recommended Plants For Garden Railroads

Blue Star Creeper (Laurentia fluviatilis)
This low, creeping perennial has small green leaves and tiny blue star-shaped flowers in late spring. Here you’ll see it in the Pacific Northwest area.

Common Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens ‘Suffruticosa’)
This is a compact, slow-growing boxwood that can be kept as small as 6 inches if clipped regularly. You can see it next to Napa Valley.

(Buxus microphylla, assorted cultivars)
A variety of boxwood cultivars including ‘Kingsville Dwarf ’, ‘Green Velvet’, ‘Green Mountain’ and ‘Wintergreen’ can be trimmed into small trees.

Cranberry Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster apiculatus)
This shrub displays arching branches with lustrous, dark green, tiny leaves that create a wavy, mounding effect. Red cranberry- like fruits are dense and persistent into early winter. See it throughout the exhibit.

Cutleaf Birch (Betula pendula ‘Trost’s Dwarf’)
This is an unusual birch species in that it can grow in sunny conditions and its leaves resemble those of a threadleaf maple. A dwarf weeping variety, the cutleaf birch will grow 3 to 5 feet tall, forming a low mound of arching branches. It will develop its char- acteristic white birch bark as it matures.

Duckfoot English Ivy (Hedera helix ‘Duckfoot’)
This evergreen ground cover or vine is adaptable to all sun or shade conditions. The ‘Duckfoot’ variety has been selected for its small size and its uncanny resemblance to grapevines in miniature. It is showcased in the Napa Valley area.

Dwarf Rhododendron (Rhododendron spp.)
You can find several varieties of dwarf rhododendrons growing in the Pacific Northwest area of the exhibit. Look for Rhododendron impeditum with purplish-blue flowers and azalealike foliage, or ‘Patty Bee’, which blooms pale yellow with purple- bronze winter color.

Dwarf Alberta Spruce (Picea glauca ‘Conica’ )
Cone-shaped dwarf Alberta spruce trees can be seen by Old Faithful in the Yellowstone National Park area.

Golden Scotch Moss (Sagina subulata ‘Aurea’)
Scotch moss is a low, flat perennial that looks like a golden carpet. With tiny white flowers in summer, it makes a good hillside cover for the mountains throughout the Model Railroad Garden.

Hinoki False Cypress (Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Torulosa’)
Twisted, threadlike branches (resembling thin, green coral) suggest an ancient, windswept tree. ‘Torulosa’ is used in the Yellowstone Park and Yosemite Park areas.

Littleleaf Fuchsia (Fuchsia microphylla ‘Isis’)
Tiny 1/4-inch reddish-pink trumpets bloom from early summer until frost. Small, dark green leaves densely cover reddish branches and stems. Fuchsia can be trained as a small single-trunk tree or allowed to grow as a small dome-shaped shrub. See it in the farm and numerous other locations.

Stonecrop (Sedum spp.)
Related to succulents, these herbaceous perennials have thick, waxy leaves and require little water. They come in a variety of colors and sizes, many of which can be seen within the Model Railroad Garden. You can view several varieties of sedum in the desert area of Mesa Verde National Park.

Threadleaf Maple Varieties (Acer palmatum)
Look in the San Francisco area of the exhibit for lovely examples of these miniature maple trees. Vivid fall color is charac- teristic of many threadleaf maples such as ‘Seiryu’, which has bright green leaves that turn red and yellow in fall.