Saturday, January 31, 2015

New plant Saturday is here!

New plants have arrived! Our nursery is looking particularly full with all sorts of new arrivals from Annie's Annuals & Perennials and Native Sons Wholesale Nursery!

Annie’s fans: have you received your catalog yet? We have all your favorites in stock, with about (50!) new variety of plants arriving yesterday! We also have some really cool new plants from Native Son’s, another one of our favorite growers: lots of sedums, cool and unusual and DROUGHT TOLERANT California natives, and much more! We'll have a blog post up soon with more details of all that is now in stock...

We hope you can stop in and see us this weekend! Thanks for the ongoing support - we love our garden geek community!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Happy weekend!

Let our gardens brighten up your weekend! 
Lots of wonderful plants are waiting to go home with you!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

New plants!

Hi garden geeks!

Below is a sampling of some of the new plants we just got in stock from Annie's Annuals! You can also email us with any questions or special requests!

Dianthus ‘Bliss’
“Perpetual Carnation”

This old fashioned dianthus is just adorable! We love it! We also have "Cheshire Cat", "Mad Hatter", and the "Queen of Hearts" dianthus in stock as well! All are in 4" containers.

Aeonium simsii
 This is a new aeonium for us, and we love it for its daintiness! It's small - maybe three inches across each 'bud', and grows low - almost a funky cool groundcover. The yellow flowers it produces in late spring are suppose to be quite amazing!
Delphinium elatum

Delphinium are among our most favorite of plants! This 'Sweethearts' variety does not disappoint - maybe we just have Valentine's Day on the brain already, but we loooove the sweet pink blooms! We have a few other varieties of delphinium in stock as well: "Bellamosum", "Dusky Maidens" and "Clivedon Beauty" are all available in 4" containers, ready to be planted now for some spring blooms!

Rhipsalis burchellii
"Mistletoe Cactus"

This meets our qualifications for "funky cool and weird"! We've never had this plant before, so it's new to us as well. Here is what Annie's website says: "This RARE & highly unusual plant is actually a thornless, tree-dwelling cactus! Best planted in a hanging basket or large container, it forms an elegant cascade of delicate branches than can reach down to 5’! Lovely creamy white flowers emerge along the stems, eventually making way for darling pink fruits. A wonderful choice for a shady patch of the garden or for keeping as a houseplant." We are pretty excited to try it out!

Lathyrus odoratus
‘Route 66'
Sweet Pea time is here! Oh, how we looooooove sweet peas! We'll find an excuse to plant this just about anywhere! "Route 66" is a new one for us this year - this fast growing variety has some pretty amazing two-toned color going on! In addition to "Route 66" we also have "Almost Black" "Annie B. Gilroy", "Blue Vein", "Cupani", and "Fire and Ice" in stock. These tend to sell out quick - and we will likely have more in next week (1/17/15), so email us if you are looking to come in after this weekend so we can make sure they are still in stock.

Aloe wickensii
Even if succulents aren't your thing, if you have a bit of space, this super cool aloe is worth it! The photo makes it look bigger than it is; the grower states it gets to the 2-3 foot range. The color is what makes it amazing; the plant itself kinda reminds us of...well, of a reptile! It has greens, and dark patches, and light patches - it's really cool! And the bi-color blooms, which will surprise you next winter, make this a really unusual specimen of aloe! We have it in 4" sized containers right now.

What else?
Also just arrived: two varieties of yarrow (achillea "Moonwalker" and "Rosey Red", both great drought tolerant, fun plants!), centaurea (bachelor buttons, our Grandma's favorite!) in blue and red, buddlea in white and blue, succulents, helleborus 'Gold Bullion' (which we LOVE!),  nicotiana in white and lime green, papaver poppies, salvia, verbascum and many more! This was a pretty big order, so lots of new goodies are to be seen!

Don't forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more day to day updates!

Monday, January 05, 2015

Garden Geek Updates for the Week of January 5th

Happy happy new year, our fellow plant nerds! 

Garden Geek Updates for the week of January 5th 2015:

We have a biiiig order of Annie's Annuals arriving this week, likely in on either Thursday or Friday. Lots of fun goodies - big selection of sweet peas and poppies (including some new varieties!) for your winter gardens, some new succulents, and much more! If you have any special requests, be sure to email us with those by Tuesday (1/6/15) evening.

We should also be getting some more of the always popular ornamental kale and spiral grass later this week as well! And possibly some new and funky herbs and winter veggies - we'll know for sure in a day or so and will update accordingly.

We totally embraced this spirit of 2012 (a joke, get it?!?!) and finally started an Instagram account! Yay! Follow us there for daily photos of botanical goodness.

We are starting up our first new design project for 2015! A client in Los Angeles just got her turf removal rebate approved, and we are helping her design her new lawn free (ditch the lawn!), native plant, low water, awesome looking landscape! If you are interested in having us help you do the same, email us!

In the spirit of the new year, we put together some fun 'garden resolutions' to inspire your dirt digging this year. Check out our post for more info!

Speaking of new years resolutions, we are going to try to make sure we post a weekly update each and every Monday! If you are interested in staying on top of our latest breaking news, you can sign up to get these posts emailed to you (check out the form on the right side bar!) or follow us on Facebook.

Wishing you a happy and productive first week of our new year!

-Brande and the Johnnye Merle's team

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Garden Resolutions

Garden Resolution Time!
by Brande Jackson
 As we move into kicking off a brand new year, it only seems appropriate to think about ‘resolutions’. Going to the gym and stopping a bad habit often top the list for many, but for those of you that identify as ‘garden geeks’, thinking in terms of ‘botanical promises’ can also be helpful.
With that in mind, we present to your our suggested “Garden Resolutions for 2015”:
1. Compost more
Compositing is the best! Maybe not as exciting as Beyonce or ice cream, but it’s sooooo easy to do, and the benefits are numerous: you reduce waste going to a landfill, you feel less guilty about food that inevitably gets tossed, and you get the best free, (mostly) organic fertilizer you can ask for! There are all sorts of ways to compost, and a quick search online (we recommend using Pinterest!) will yield numerous possibilities. It need not be expensive, either: a compost pile can be as simple as that, a pile in a corner of your garden, or it can be a bit more involved with pre-fabricated containers that speed up the work that nature does.
2. Be adventurous
It’s easy to fall into a ‘garden rut’: sticking with the same tried and true plants can be fine, especially if you know what works for your garden, but at the same time, be bold! Go beyond your normal range. Try out plants that offer contrasting foliage and color. Try growing plants you can eat. Try out plants that just sound weird and funky and cool and fun to grow!
3. Plant your new babies ASAP
Many a plant has left our nursery only to meet its demise tucked away in the yard of a well-meaning garden geek that just never got around to planting it! The plants you buy at the nursery do in fact have a shelf life, they aren’t meant to live in that little container forever. Try to make it a habit to get them into the ground, or in a pot, or even into a bigger container within a week or two after purchasing.
4. Get your tools together
This is a resolution we at Johnnye Merle’s are going to try to follow this year. Our tools are a bit of a mess: some broken, some dull, some taken over by our four year old nephew... Keeping tools in good shape isn’t just about organization, either: dull blades on clippers and sheaths can actually damage plants with rough cuts, if not cleaned properly tools can carry disease from plant to plant, and bad tools make gardening a whole lot less fun. Search online for some ideas on how to best store your tools to keep them in tip-top shape.
5. Go native!
Look, we all have those plants we love and will baby and grow no matter what, and that is fine…so long as that only represents a small percentage of your yard. Despite the wet conditions this winter, the bottom line is that we live a bit of a “life of illusion” in Southern California when it comes to water use and the plants that we choose for our gardens.  Going native isn’t just about saving water: native plants provide an important habitat for wildlife, including the bees and other pollinators that are critical to the health of your garden, and the larger ecosystem. We have a huge selection of native plants in our nursery, and are happy to show you ways to go native AND look good!
6. Ditch the lawn!
On that same note, maybe this is the year that you give up your lawn - it’s much easier than you probably think! Many cities are now offering rebates, meaning, getting rid of your lawn and replacing it with drought tolerant plants could be just about free for you (depending on where you live) AND save you money on water in the long run as well. We have a simple, straightforward design package to help homeowners “ditch the lawn”, you can learn more at:
7. Spend more time in your garden
Yes, this sounds very touchy-feely, but studies have proven that gardening is a great antidote to stress! According to an article in USA Today last year, there is even a field emerging called “horticulture therapy”, which is aimed at using gardening to help people cope with anxiety and depression, and even recover from surgery. Don’t think of your gardening time as merely a hobby, you are beautifying the landscape, helping out our ecosystem, AND helping your brain!

Hopefully this list inspires you to get outside and dig in the dirt!
Brande Jackson is the owner of Johnnye Merle’s Gardens, located in Country Roads in Old Town Orange at 204 W. Chapman.  She can be reached at  She is also a teacher, and offers classes on art, creativity and gardening.