The Nettle Creek Nursery legacy begin in 1975 when Carolyn and Stefan Sztapka purchased seven acres and a house in Morris, that had zero property value according to Grundy County records. This would be Steve Sztapka’s biggest venture to date and the first one not in the Chicago area. The couple started growing and selling vegetables. With the help of the four children and neighbors, vegetables were sold at work and in front of the house for $1.00 a bag. This lasted around three years.
Over time, they started growing and selling woody plants. The vegetable sales were eventually phased out. During the same timeframe, Steve Jr. started cutting lawns for $5.00 per week and Steve Sr. started doing clean-up jobs, trimming of plants and snow removal. All of this led to Steve Sr. retiring from International Harvester Tractors in 1982 and in 1994 he purchased 60 acres south of Morris to grow more plants. In 1983, Steve Jr. left the nursery to attend Joliet Junior College for horticultural and worked for three landscape companies, one nursery and one sod farm in the Suburbs before returning to the nursery in 1994.
In 1996, stone sources became available and the nursery expanded to market a wide variety of stone including our own ‘Nettle Creek Weathered Fossil’ stone. In 2002, Steve Jr. saw a need to be more specialized, so Nettle Creek Gardens was incorporated. In 2004, Nettle Creek Nursery was sold to Steve Jr., as Stefan and Carolyn decided it was time to retire and moved to Kentucky where they bought a farm. In 2005, Steve Jr. started Nettle Creek Stone.
In 2006, Busia's Gardens was launched in Morganfield, Kentucky where Steve’s parents moved out for retirement. Busia is polish for Grandmother. Stefan is always reminded of his heritage and has found it hard to retire in Kentucky. Two other family members also work in the landscape business. A younger brother is a Project Manager for a park and playground installation company. One sister started Gingko, Ltd., as landscape design firm in Burr Ridge and the youngest sister is a schoolteacher.
-Nettle Creek Nursery Inc.