I often wonder if many of our customers know the story behind our gardens; Johnnye Merle’s Gardens and Nursery, which is located at Country Roads. My mom was from Texas, and her name was Johnnye Merle Durham. She was proud of her Texas roots, and loved the Texas bluebonnets so very much. She also loved to garden. When I was a child she use to tell me stories of her love for the Texas bluebonnets. And when I had kids of my own she would repeatedly tell them the story. My mom use to always tell the kids this; “you take those bluebonnet seeds and throw ‘em the hard Texas soil, stomp on ‘em, and pretty soon those seeds would become beautiful bluebonnet flowers”. I’ve always loved to garden, and my kids were always surrounded with flowers. And to be honest, it is a rare occasion you don’t stop by my house and there are fresh cut flowers sitting in some antique container!
Brande took her high school GED test in, I believe, at the end of 10th grade, and went to junior college and finished it pretty quickly. Later she was accepted to USC, and there was a small window of time before she began. I think it was then that she really began taking gardening more seriously. When Country Roads first opened, Norm and Jeannie Yoder began the garden. Many of you may remember “Friday House Gardens”. As with many things in life, the time they had to devote to the garden became shorter and shorter. That is about the time Brande began dreaming of “Johnnye Merle Gardens and Nursery”. She wanted to name it after her Grandma. And thankfully my mom was still alive to see pictures and know about the garden. Her health wasn’t the best, so she was never actually able to visit, but did proudly wear her “Johnny Merle Gardens” t-shirt as did my dad!
Johnnye Merle’s strives to carry different types of plants that you may not find at some of our other local nurseries. Not only do we carry Annie Annual’s, but we have a big selection of the drought tolerant plants and succulents with many other unusual plants as well. And the displays at Johnnye Merle’s, as many of you know, are very different than any other nursery around! We believe in recycling so you will see many props that some may have tossed aside while here in the gardens, we re-use these things! There are days when I’m working and I just need a break from the public. It is nice to be able to step outside for some fresh air, and also be reminded of my mom. I guess this is what makes not only Johnny Merle’s so special, but Country Roads as well. If you would like to see a tribute I did to my mom, with pictures and slideshow, you can visit my blog at www.mycountryroads.blogspot.com Take a few minutes, go to the May 9th, 2010 blog post, and you will soon find out while that little garden built out back on asphalt means so very much to myself and my family! Happy Summer Gardening!!