Friday, April 26, 2013

Every garden needs a little Elvis..

So, this plant you need not only for the amazing purple blooms and easy to grow habit, but for its name: Plectranthus 'Velvet Elvis'! This fast grower is another great addition to your shady areas - they will be in later on today, come on down and take one home!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Agastache Apache Sunset

Garden Nerd Alert: Arriving to our gardens tomorrow: Agastache "Apache Sunset"! Grows to about two feet high and wide, sending up lots and lots of deep orange spikes that bloom from rose purple buds all summer long. Aromatic and easy to grow, requires full sun and good drainage. Popular with hummingbirds, butterflies and bees, too! Good stuff all around - stop by tomorrow and take one home!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Shady spot?

Got a shady spot to fill? Check out Campanula trachelium "Bats in the Belfry", great color and blooms! 

We have lots of great campanulas and other shady friendly plants in stock right now!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day, garden nerds, granted, every day is Earth Day for us!

Go plant something beautiful!

Source: via Brande on Pinterest

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Dianthus Black Adder and Fullerton Green Scene!

 Check out Dianthus 'Black Adder', currently in stock! 
Lovely and easy to grow and a prolific bloomer, an all around great plant! We loooooove throwing dark blooms into our garden! We're putting together a display today for a 'goth garden', come check it out! :)
 We have them in 4" containers right now, for just $4!
And don't forget, today is the last day of the Fullerton Green Scene - a fun plant sale at the Fullerton Aboretum.
It's just a short drive from our shop  and a great excuse to make a day out of a visit to Orange! 
Enjoy your Sunday, gardeners!

Friday, April 19, 2013

In today!

We have some new goodies arriving from Annie's Annuals today, AND we got another order in earlier this week, so we are looking nice and full right now! Enjoy some fresh air and flowers this weekend, spend some time in your garden!

Cosmidium burridgeanum

Love love love the color of this easy to grow specimen! Smells like chocolate, too!

Eremalche parryi

This lovely mallow is native to central California and appears to do well in SoCal too, esp near the coast!

Felicia filifolia

Who doesn't want a garden full of lavender-blue daisies? Seriously? We love this South African native!

Fuchia procumbens "Creeping Fuchia"

Seriously!?!? LOOK AT THIS PLANT! YOU NEED IT RIGHT NOW!!!! And it's native to New Zealand, which only makes it cooler. Blooms June - Oct, only 3" tall and 3" across, great in container or as a ground cover or a small spot. OMG!!! We can tell you right now one is coming home with us for sure...

Isomeris "Bladderpod"

Totally weird and tough and cool! This large shrub - 3 to 6 feet tall and wide - is a magnet for hummingbirds, bees and butterflies, too!

All of these plants are in 4" containers, priced between $4 and $6 and will be ready to go home with you by late this afternoon!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Dicliptera suberecta “Uraguayan Firecracker Plant”

Some new Annie's Annuals & Perennials are arriving to our gardens tomorrow (and hopefully this wind will be LEAVING!), including the lovely Dicliptera suberecta “Uraguayan Firecracker Plant”, one of our favorites!

Drought tolerant and hardy, this awesome specimen is a great way to bring some bright color to your garden, especially in those 'tough spots'. The grey foliage brings in an interesting 'architectural' element, too. AND hummingbirds love! It will be ready to go home with you by tomorrow afternoon....we'll have them in 4" containers for just $5!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


In this week: Asclepias currassavica and Asclepias physocarpa (better known as 'family jewels..') - known as 'milkweed' these are AWESOME and EASY to grow plants that butterflies LOVE!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Plant of the day!

Happy Tuesday, gardeners!

Our plant of the day today: Euphorbia lambii. Super cool, it's a touch Dr. Suess but also edgy and architectural, and quite easy to grow! We love all things euphorbia at Johnnye Merle's, and this is one of our favorites! Put it in a spot where you need a bit of height - it can get up to six feet tall!

We've got 'em in 4" containers right now for just $4.50! Come in and take one home!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Dianthus 'Lady Granville'

Ah, Sunday! Nothing beats that late Sunday afternoon time - we got to spend some time in the garden this weekend, as well as on our bike, and now, it's all about the enjoying a late afternoon breeze in our just cleaned home!

We hope your weekend has been delightful as well. We think that Dianthus 'Lady Granville' is also delightful, and wanted to share her with you!

This variety dates back to 1840, which we think is so so cool - heirloom plants are the best! Dianthus like well drained soil and sun and are generally very easy to grow; great in pots and the edge of beds, too! We have this Dianthus in stock right now, along with several other fun varieties like 'Spooky' and 'Thea Mary'.

Go dig in the dirt!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

new new new!

Spring is here for sure - you can tell by the looks of our garden right now! We are PACKED full of SO MANY cool new plants for you to take home! We just received another shipment of Annie's yesterday, check out some of what we have in stock:

Romanzoffia californica “California Mist Maiden”

This NorCal native is pretty rare - and very cool! Likes shade and can take dry conditions. Has a super cute dainty bloom, and great year round foliage!

Verbena bonariensis ‘Lollipop’

Verbena are just great plants! Easy to grow, cheerful, and colorful - a great addition to any garden. Blooms from spring through fall, drought tolerant, attracts bees and butterflies, and makes for a great cut flower. Need we say more?

Phacelia minor

We are super into phacelia's these days. Known as "Wild Canterbury', these plants are just delightful - easy to grow, fun, and they reseed!

Keckiella cordifolia “Heartleaf Penstemon”

This is one of our all time favorites! Hummingbirds love it, and it's just such a cool, unusual plant! We think of it as a 'sorta vine' - it trails up, but takes on more of a 'loose shrub' form. But man oh man, those blooms are amazing!!!

Penstemon pseudospectabilis  “Desert Beardtongue”

As a general rule of thumb, we love all things Penstemon at Johnnye Merle's, and this plant is no exception! Check out that awesome color! The plant is like that feral cat you keep trying to pet - leave it alone, and it's gonna do just fine! Handles heat and drought like a champ!

Helianthus laetiflorus “Showy Sunflower”

So, we're not trying to tell you how to live your life or anything, but we know for a fact that EVERY garden needs some sunflowers in it at one point or another! And this sunflower makes a great one: BIG, BRIGHT, and SUNNY! We've got some growing in the garden that come back year after year, making us happy!

Diascia integerrima “Hardy Twinspur”

It looks like pink candy exploding in your garden! Who doesn't want that???? Super fun, easy to grow. BUY THIS PLANT NOW!!!!

Collinsia species 'Purple' “Chinese Purple Houses” 

We think this little plant is about the coolest thing ever. It doesn't look like much in a 4"pot, we gotta admit, but once you put it into the ground, LOOK AT WHAT IT DOES!!! LITTLE PURPLE HOUSES! (Like that John Mellencamp song, only not pink.) Amazing! It's a California native that bees and butterflies also love.

And you know what? WE HAVE WAY MORE THAN JUST THIS! Seriously, our nursery is kinda overflowing right now! Stop in, take home some treasures (and check out our sale section too!) and make your garden happy! 

All of these plants are in 4" containers and priced between $3 and $5. Cheap, easy fun! Happy weekend!

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Physotegia "Crystal White"

Ohhh...we are in LOVE with this new plant!

Physotegia "Crystal White" is super cool - little 'crowns' of white blooms adorn this adorable cottage garden plant. This perennial should do well in just about any sunny spot with adequate water; grows to about 2.5 feet in height, and spreads in a lovely way.

Stop by our garden and take one home with you - we are open 10-5 every day!

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Dianthus "Thea Mary"

Happy Sunday gardeners! It's been a lovely lovely weekend, and we hope you've spent some time with your plants!

Today's featured plant is Dianthus plumarius 'Thea Mary', a lovely, delightful variety grown by Annie's Annuals & Perennials! This is a perennial dianthus with an adorable pink bloom to it; grows to about a foot and a half in full sun or part shade, with regular watering. If you cut them back after their spring bloom, they'll put on a second show the same year in the late summer and fall! A great plant for the edges of your beds or pots...

We have this and loooooots of other plants in stock right now; we had new plants come in on both Wednesday and Friday last week, stop by today and check them all out!

Friday, April 05, 2013


Among the bazillion or so plants we brought in from Annie's Annuals and Perennials this week (that is, we do believe, an accurate number...), there were several fun varieties of Hollyhocks that we wanted to share with you all!

Hollyhocks are actually the plant genus Alcea, part of the mallow family Malvacae; Lavatera is too, which is why they do look somewhat similar. Hollyhocks, however, don't take on the shrub like appearance that Lavatera does, instead growing large, wide 'bases' of single petal leaves, and stocks that can get upwards of ten feet tall. They are native to Asia, with a few species said to be native to Egypt and Europe. They are generally quite drought resistant, and do well in sunny spots with less than great soil. When happy, they get BIG and reseed, so give 'em space, but man oh man, are they a fun addition to your garden!

Alcea rosea 'Nigra' "Black Hollyhock"

Now, we must admit we are a sucker for ANY dark blooming plant; it is our deep rooted fantasy to one day create a 'goth garden' for a client, so we are biased, but still, this plant is AMAZING! Grows easy, reseeds and tough as...well, cement. We had planted one in our mom's parkway, an area that rarely got any water, had horrible soil, and was a favorite dumping ground for cement remnants of our younger brother's stone making projects. These suckers FLOURISHED!  They were over 6 feet high, reseeding like mad, and looked so amazing that people would literally stop their cars to look! How's that for an endorsement?

Hollyhock Alcea 'Halo Cerise'

These Halo varieties are new to us, but we love them, they remind us of Hibiscus and Hawaiian vacations! Slightly smaller than the other alceas,  these hollyhocks produce masses of 5", magenta-fading-to-deep-purple blooms; start blooming in the first heat of summer & keep the show going until it gets cold. Attracts hummingbirds, bees and butterflies too! Plant in the back of your beds for an amazing 'anchor' or 'show stopper' plant! 

Hollyhock Alcea 'Halo Pink'

Similar to 'Cerise', but with a pink flower and yellow center. So cute!

Hollyhock Alcea 'Halo White'

How cheerful is THIS plant????  5” blossoms that are fresh-white and centered with a splash of lemon yellow, this is the ultimate cheerful summer plant!

Alcea rugosa “Yellow Fig-Leaved Hollyhock”

We just love this dainty variety, and it's also quite hardy and rust resistant as well, a definite bonus feature! Long blooming and bushy enough to never need staking, they also will return each spring for a good 4-5 years, meaning they aren't your typical biennial Hollyhock. Like most Hollyhocks, it too will attract hummingbirds, bees and butterflies!

All of our Hollyhocks are in 4" containers and priced at just $4.50. Stop by and take a few home today; don't forget, our gardens are PACKED right now with awesome plants - see us soon!

And a note on rust, from grower Annie's Annuals on Hollyhocks and rust: "A little note:
Hollyhocks are notoriously rusty creatures, and even those types that are less prone to rust still get a few spots in the garden, particularly if you overhead water or live somewhere with fog! The particular species of rust that effects hollyhocks, Puccinia malvacearum, effects only members of the Mallow family, and will not spread to other plants. To control rust, simply remove the rusty leaves, and refrain from overhead watering. You should also plant your hollyhocks in as much sun as you can provide. Our plants have to be overhead watered in their 4" pots, and though we take many preventative measures to control rust, it is very hard to eradicate it completely -after all, the spores are everywhere (they're in your garden right now!), airborne, and particularly drawn to hollyhocks. We may send out plants that have a few spots of rust now and again, but on the whole, the plants are healthy, and we try not to send out any material that is heavily infested. Rust very seldom kills the plant, and if the plants are in good soil in good sun, and watered correctly, rust is primarily a cosmetic problem. Even the species hollyhocks that are less rust prone than the Alcea rosea hybrids sometimes get a little bit of rust! It's true! There's just no way to have everything in the garden be completely sterile, you know? If you unilaterally object to the occasional rust spot, it could be that hollyhocks are not for you!"

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Let's talk about marigolds...

Folks, lets talk about marigolds this morning. Not the boring stuff you find at your local home improvement store though, we are talking some serious marigolds. We are talking about Marigold ‘Day of the Dead Orange’. Oh yeah.

 Know what you need on this sleepy Thursday morning? You need Marigold ‘Day of the Dead Orange', also known as “Cempazuchitl”, grown by Annie's Annuals & Perennials. You need them because 1. they are AWESOME and 2. they are actually quite hard to find and 3. because we have them in stock right now, along with loooots of other fun, cool plants!

Seriously, give marigolds a chance! These are soooo fun in any garden - look at the size of those blooms! 4" containers and just $4, or maybe even just $3.50, we can't remember. But they are cheap, and they will make you happy, and we all want to be happy!

Have fun! Get planting! It's spring, you should smell like dirt by the end of the day!

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Sneak peak...

So we have a GINORMOUS order from Annie's Annuals arriving today! We thought we'd give you a sneak peak at some of what we are expecting in this afternoon...

Lobelia excelsa "Devil's Tobacco"

A native to Chile that somehow does well in both inland heat AND coastal fog??? Good deal and amazing blooms!

Eccremocarpus scaber 'Tresco Gold'

Oh, how we adore this little vine! So easy to grow, so cheerful, so colorful! We ordered in some as a special order for a customer (something we are always happy to do, just email us!) but have plenty to spare!


Dichelostemma ida-maia x multiflorum  'Pink Diamond'  

This little California native is new to us, but looks super cool! We can't wait to try it out!

Cobaea "Cup and Saucers Vine"

Another delightful little vine! We've got this one growing in the garden - hardy and it grows fast without being crazy invasive like a Morning Glory would. We love it!

Viscaria oculata 'Pink' "Pink German Catchfly"

This plant just makes us so damn happy! LOOK AT IT! HOW COULD YOU NOT BE HAPPY WITH THAT IN YOUR YARD????? 

Okay, so that is just a hint at what we've got coming; we have almost 60 different kinds of plants arrive from Annie's Annuals and Perennials today! All plants are in 4" containers and priced between $3 and $6. Come by and see us!

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Young gardeners!

This is Eli. We've known him since...well, since before he was born! He's a 4th grader now and loooooves to garden; so much so in fact that he asked his mom to take him to the nursery yesterday on his first day of spring break!


We sent him home with some unusual lettuce, parsley, sedums and a few other cool plants he picked out, 'cause we can't resist a cute boy who loves gardening! His mom sent us this photo of him getting to work as soon as he got home!

Monday, April 01, 2013

Women in the Garden

Below is an article we wrote for the most recent edition of the Orange Plaza Review. Enjoy!

     Happy spring, gardeners! Without a doubt, this is one of our most favorite times of the year; our nursery is full, bulbs are coming to life, our nasturtiums have returned, and the bees are buzzing!

     March is Women’s History month, and we’ve been thinking about the legacy of women gardeners as we work in our soil these days. Our own garden was very much so inspired by a woman - our grandma, Johnnye Merle - and one of the things we love about gardening is the rich, often unknown history it carries with it. Gardens provide a unique way to leave a legacy, to tell a story and create traditions. Women have long played a role in this cycle, and a few in particular come to mind. 

     Rosemary Verey was the legend of legendary English gardeners. Born in 1918, she was both a prolific designer and writer, publishing numerous books on English and country style gardening. Her most well known garden was possible her own home, Barnsley House, which hosted up to 30,000 visitors a year in the 1970s and 1980s, and is noted for its mix of British formalism and wildflower-esque gardens.  Verey was also a big advocate for making vegetable gardening fashionable again. We think she would certainly approve of the movement towards ‘front yard veggie gardens’ we are seeing today, and no doubt we all owe her a nod in setting that trend in place!

     Another influential British gardener was Gertrude Jekyll, who was born in 1843 and designed over 400 gardens, and wrote thousands of articles about gardening over the course of her life - a real inspiration! Her garden style was painterly - mixing color and textures in unique and very well thought out ways, and she used plants of all types, not limiting her self to one ‘style’ or approach. On that same artistic note,  Tasha Tudor was as well known American author, illustrator, and gardener. Her approach to gardening was very much so with a whimsical artistic flair and mindset, and she was all about ‘antique’ flower selections, growing towering six foot high foxgloves and such!  In fact, Tasha Tudor’s Gardens is one of our most favorite gardening books.

     We’ve only recently discovered Ruth Bancroft, and what an inspiration she is! Born in 1908 in Berkeley, she married into the Bancroft family, who in the 1880’s farmed in Ygnacio Valley. The land, like many family farms, was gradually sold off as real estate values increased, and the last of the original farm land was given to Ruth by her husband. Well in her 60’s by this point in time, Ruth set about to plant a 3 acre garden, primarily using succulents, a plant family she had become fascinated with. She gradually filled up the entire space, and today, the garden remains and is open to visitors in Walnut Creek, California.

     Women like these have left their mark in the soil, and we hope you are as inspired by them as well are! Our own nursery is filled with plants to help you make your own mark - pay us a visit and get started soon.

Happy spring!