Friday, November 25, 2011

Lovely weather! New plants! Sale!

Yep, it's true. 4 great reasons to come see us this weekend:

1. As part of Country Roads 'Day After Thanksgiving' celebration, we'll be having 20% off our plants all weekend long!

2. We got a BUNCH of new SUPER cool plants in a few days ago! They are lonely and lovely and looking for a home...

3. The weather is going to be AWESOME this weekend in SoCal.

4. We're real nice people.

Hope to see you soon!


Saturday, November 05, 2011

Wow - looking outside here in Seal Beach, it hard to imagine a more beautiful Saturday! Wind and rain have cleared the sky and today we are left with sunshine - a perfect day for gardening!

We just stocked our nursery - working in the rain, I might add! - so that our 'garden nerds' will have a good selection to work with. Check out some of our new additions...

Sweet Peas! Yes, we know, how can it possibly already be that time? Fact is, for southern California gardeners, November is the PERFECT time to plant your sweet peas. We have a really cool selection in too:

"Annie B Gilroy" is a 1907 heirloom, fragrant and vibrant cerise color.

"Cupani" was cultivated by a Sicilian monk, Father Cupani, in 1695. It's intensely scented and a really cool deep pruple-blue, violet color.

"Senator" is fragrant and heat tolerant, a very impressive pink and rose 'splattered' color.

At just $3.50 for a 4", out Sweet Peas are not only unusual and colorful, but a great buy. Plant now and have some early surprises in your spring garden!

You can read more about Sweet Peas at Renee's Seeds great website as well.

We have much more in our gardens for you this weekend as well - stop by and see us!


Friday, October 28, 2011

Garden photo of the day...

Morgan is obsessed with assisting in watering duties when she visits at the shop these days. Since she's still a good three feet short of watering the planter boxes, she makes sure the city trees get lots of love...

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Garden photo of the day...

It's staring to actually feel like fall in Southern California, and in our gardens!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Garden photo of the day...

T.anacetum parthenium aureum "Golden Feverfew"
. The blooms of this beauty are also impressive - click the link - but think the foliage is my favorite part of all, such a cool, dainty, surprising lime green color!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

More new fall plants!

Happy weekend garden nerds!

Nothing beats a lovely fall day for doing some planting. We just got some very cool new plants in from our friends at Annie's that we wanted to share with you all!

Actinidia deliciosa - KIWI! For reals! Such cool foilage and flowers; getting fruit can be tricky, but it's possible - we talked to a customer at our shop yesterday in fact that gets fruit! - but even without the fruit this plant is worth growing as a super cool unusual vine. They are in 4" sizes which makes them easy to plant and cheap too, just how we like 'em!

Dianthus caryophyllus, 'Chomley Farran' O.M.G. Click out the link and check out the bloom on this plant! It's totally worth the trip down to the nursery! We have them in 4" sizes for just $5.50.

Stipa, 'New Zealand Wind Grass'.
This one is a show stopper! The photo doesn't do it justice - the blades of the grass have incredible detail in them, really really cool. Grasses are such a great way to add some interest and spark some life in a landscape that might seem a little flat. Check it out! In a 4" container and only $4! We have some other great 'fall' grasses in right now too: Imperata Red Baron, one of our all time favorites, and Carex testacea, 'Orange New Zealand Hedge'.

Papaver 'Danebrog' and Papaver 'Naughty Nineties'. If you have never grown papaver, you really need to join in with the cool kids and give it a shot - they are really not to be missed! These two have some pretty incredible blooms; click the link for photos of what they'll look like once you get them into the ground and they grow up! We have them in 4" sizes.

We also have some cool black violas, lots of fall blooming sweet peas and California poppies, sedums galore, and much much more.

Our gardens are looking nice and full for this fall planting season, come in and see us on this beautiful weekend!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

New plants looking for homes! Come see us this weekend!

The crazy October heat broke and now the weather is LOVELY - perfect for gardening! Our friends at Annie's Annuals just sent us a bunch of wonderful new plants - I'll post more about that later today, but in the meantime, check out some of the photos below. Lots and lots of great, unusual, colorful additions for your fall garden! We'll be open from 10-5 all weekend, come in and see us!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Fall is in the air...

Fall is here! Lots of new plants starting to come in...

Friday, October 07, 2011

Garden photo of the day...

Our helper Trinity was especially excited about this Salvia since it matched her fancy dress today...

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

New stuff!

We got some new plants in last weekend - when the rain clears out, stop by and check 'em out, lots of goodies on this one!

We are working away on our fall gardens too - keep your eye out for a fall celebration and sale in a few weeks...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Garden photo of the day...

Taken in Monterey, California last month.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Garden photo of the day...

Echeveria Afterglow - photo taken earlier this spring. I never get tired of this plant - love the color on it!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Garden photo of the day...

Aeoniums are one of my favorites. They are known to be fairly heat and drought tolerant, but they seem to grow like crazy along the coast, as seen here on my front porch near the beach...Not sure on the exact variety of this one, I think Kiwi; most of the plants I have planted here are 'accidental cuttings' (meaning, plant 'arms and legs' that broke off!) from the nursery that I just plunk in. I love the color of this one though...

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Garden photo of the day...

Sunflowers growing from the asphalt!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Some late summer planting...

So we’ve been kinda bad about blogging this year - it’s been crazy busy for us! But we promise to get better about posting!

To kick off our return to the blog, we wanted to share some of the new plants we got in this week - perfect for fixin’ up our place ahead of Labor Day weekend! Check out the photos below of some great late summer options...

Echeveria Topsy Turvy

Echeveria ‘Topsy Turvy’ has one of the coolest color combos ever, plus a really unique foliage shape! Low water, can take full sun to slight shade and you can get lots of plants from cuttings on this one!


Calibrachoa Coral Berry Punch with some Imperata Red Baron in the background...both pretty drought tolerant and great for color!

Sedumn Autumn Fire

Sedum Autumn Fire looking nice! Low water, drought tolerant, great in any landscape!


We have some crazy bright, cheery Dahilas in right now! Every yard should have some!


Gaura Siskiyou Pink - drought tolerant, low water, hardy, great addition to any garden for some unusual, cool color! Native.


Sedums! We love 'em in all there great shapes and colors. EASY to grow and low water!

 Saliva Chamaedryoides and Calibrachoa Million Bell Yellow

Saliva Chamaedryoides and Calibrachoa Million Bell Yellow. And our old Ford pick up truck! We love this color combo!

Scleranthus biflorus "Australian Astroturf"

Scleranthus biflorus "Australian Astroturf". SERIOUSLY cool. No, seriously! A moss for sun and low water, for reals! More info here. Buy it. Put it in a pot on your porch. It's soooo cute!

Metrosideros Springfire

Metrosideros Springfire. We love these - the color is amaaaazing. This one is in a five gallon patio tree size. Austrailian natives, they are TOUGH and can generally take heat pretty well, are known too for being good in coastal areas.

Carex, Phormium and Echeveria Afterglow

That cool looking purple plant? Echeveria After Glow one of our all time favorites! It's surrounded by Phormium and Carex grasses.


Coreopsis Sweet Dreams is a pink twist on the yellow garden classic.

Front display - re-using old pallets!

We are getting creative with old pallets...

So come in and see us! We gotta lot of cool plants in right now! You can also check out more photos here!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

New plants for rainy days...

Hi there! Quick post; I'll edit with more descriptions later, but wanted to post some photos of our newest arrivals before I head out to the gardens for the day. The rain is starting to clear, spring is here, making it THE time to start planting!

Stop by and check out all our cool new plants!









Saturday, March 19, 2011

Happy Spring - new plants in for this weekend!

Happy early spring!

A little rain won't dampen our excitement about spring being near! In fact, today, Saturday, would be a GREAT day to plant; plants benefit from rain water, and nothing could be better for newly planted additions to your garden than some good rain water to welcome them home!

Winter gardens

Check out our list below for some of the very cool new plants we just got in!

Brassica oleracea - "Walking Stick Kale". Seriously, how cool does that look!

Geranium maderense "White". Giant geranium! Super cool! We have one planted in our garden that has taken OFF - we can't wait to see it bloom!

Heliphila longifolia.
You've got to see this in person to really get it - awesome blue blooms that are intense! In a good way! :)

Nigella hispanica 'African Bride'. We are LOVING the unusual bloom on this thing!

We also got a HUGE selection of poppies in - big Papaver style ones, California natives in unusual colors, the every popular 'Greek Poppy' - stop in and check 'em out! It's a great time of year to plant poppies, and even though many are technically an annual, they reseed easily, which means if you plant them once and take good care of them, you'll be rewarded year and after year when they pop to life in your yard each spring.

We also still have a big selection of sweet peas available - this will probably be our last batch, so pick them up while you can!

As always, these new plants tend to fly outta here pretty fast, so stop in before the rains and take some new treasures home with you!

PS: check out our garden beds too! Darcy and I have been working hard and getting the garden planted and ready for spring!


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Gardens as connections to our past

The article I write for the bi-monthly Orange Plaza Review was just published; if you don't get a chance to check out the had copy, you can read it below!

Gardens as Connections to Our Past

Gardens provide us with countless offerings: flowers, fruits and vegetables, beauty, a place to escape, a healthy environment. But some of what we gain from the things we grow are much more subtle. A few months ago, I wrote about how gardens provide us with inspiration that goes far beyond the soil and sun and seeds; this season, as the ground awakens and spring brings new life, I am thinking about how gardens provide us with a link to our past.

The inspiration for this article is two fold: the gardens I’ve created for myself, for family, for customers and with students have all been on my mind, as well as the importance how those places reflect our heritage, our ancestors, and the like. Then, quite recently, at Country Roads, where our garden shop is located, we lost a long time friend and customer in a very tragic, sudden way. Our reaction, after the initial shock and sadness, was to come up with some sort of way we could remember her in our store. “Doing something in the garden” seemed like the only natural choice.

I like that gardens can be place of remembrance, in happy, health ways. Early spring of each year, I always plant bachelor buttons, the blue, cheery cornflower (Centaurea cyanus) that my grandmother, and namesake of our nursery, Johnnye Merle, had growing in her garden. I remember her telling me about how she’d always have to remind the gardeners that came to cut the lawn underneath her giant Magnolia tree to leave the little patch of dirt where their seeds lay hidden alone; she loved that you could “mistreat ‘em, ignore ‘em, even forget to water ‘em”, but year after year, those seeds would germinate, come to life with a shower of bright blue color. So I too now plant them, and even though she has since past away, I feel connected to her from these seeds that stay the same, that give me the same plant she herself had grown some fifty years before and enjoyed. And in turn, I hope to share that story, that legacy, with the next generations of our family. On her birthday this year, I made a small donation to the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center in her memory, doing a small part to keep the legacy of wildflowers of my grandmother’s Texas youth alive. I could think of no better way to remember her than with living flowers for generations to come!

When I am in the garden, in many ways, I am also reflecting the many lessons and tips picked up from so many people over the years, appreciating all that I have been taught as I care for my plants. When I plant heirloom plants and seeds, I am also connecting to the past; there is a huge ‘movement’ of gardeners that cultivate and save heirloom plants for this very reason. It is quite remarkable to think that you are growing the same plant that someone grew hundreds of years ago, eating a vegetable that has not been modified or changed since that time! These plants, handed down from generation to generation, are a direct link to our past, and are also important to our environment: they are usually naturally resistant to many pests and problems and weather extremes, provide a diversity that is critical to maintaining genetic diversity, and are generally always organic, grown without chemical fertilizers or pesticides. In the after school program I run (, we often create gardens with our students with this idea in mind, growing plants that relate to individual student’s unique heritage and ancestry, providing them with a ‘living history’ of where they come from, and what people have done for generations to live, while also teaching important lessons about the environment, botany, and science.

We will be remembering our friend Faith, who we lost this month, in our gardens at Country Roads this spring. Creating something that is living, vibrant, full of color and that contributes to the environment around it is the best way we can think of to pay tribute to someone who embodied all of those things. Gardens provide us with a unique opportunity to remember, to connect to our past in a meaningful way; every time we get our hands dirty and work with the soil below our feet, we are contributing to our future while also remembering where we came from.


Quick garden tips:

*Heirloom seeds will be in this March at Johnnye Merles! March is a GREAT time to start your seeds.

*For those of you who aren’t into waiting and starting seeds on your own, we’ll also have heirloom veggie plants available, along with all sorts of great annuals and perennials for early spring planting.

*We’ll be celebrating spring this March with a garden party! Visit our website for more information.

*Spring is also a great time to start revamping your garden; if you need some help with design, take advantage of our garden design services!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Scented geraniums, herbs, and leafy greens!

Super quick update before I head out to the garden today!

We got some new herbs, scented geraniums, salvias and veggies in - come check ‘em out and get planting this weekend!


Scented Geraniums are easy to grow and smell wonderful! Edible - used for flavoring, in teas, etc.
Wonderful plants for flower gardens or pots!

Full sun, low water. If they get too unruly, cut them waaaay back and they’ll grow back nice and full!

Check out all of the fun ‘flavors’ that we have in stock.


Green smoothies - blending green leaf veggies & herbs like spinach, kale, parsley, chard, collard greens, lettuce, arugula, dandelion, etc. - is a GREAT way to live healthier and get nutrition that is often missed.

Growing your own ‘smoothie’ is even better! Check out our selection of super easy to grow leafy greens to get yourself started. All they need is some sun and water and you are set - they can even be grown in pots!


Salvias, or sages, are a HUGE plant family.
They are known for having an amazing selection of bloom colors, and being very easy to grow!

Most take full sun, and average to low water. When they get to big or unruly, just cut them back and they’ll look better than ever.
A great addition to any garden!

We also have a great selection of thyme, mint, oregano and basil in!

Come see us soon!


Saturday, March 05, 2011

A perfect weekend for planting!

The weather is suppose to get up into the mid 70's today in Southern California, clear & sunny and everything fresh from recent rains. All of that adds up to a PERFECT weekend to spend some time in your garden!

AND, to add to your bounty of happiness, we JUST got some new plants in from Annie's Annuals late yesterday! They'll be out and displayed and ready to go home with you by this afternoon. You can also visit with Darcy and I then - we'll be working away and planting, while also dispensing advice, as needed, about gardening, compost, beer and love.

Stop in and see us!

Winter gardens

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Time to start planting!

Spring might still be a month away, but as southern California starts to warm up - and we get needed rain like we have this past week - it's getting to be that time to start planting! And it is most definitely time to get your cool season plants into the ground: sweet peas, nasturtiums, early veggies and the like. We have all of them and more in stock right now!

And, as an added bonus, as part of Old Town Orange's Antique Affair Weekend, all plants are 10% Feb 19 - 21st! So you REALLY have to come in and see us!

Front display

Last week we also got some more plants from Annies Annuals, one of our favorite growers, in the shop. You'll find some great variety out there right now; in addition to the plants mentioned above, there are some succulents, California poppies and some really unusual annuals and perennials waiting to go home with you! Plus, some of plants we have started from seed this year, including some unusual sweet pea varieties, are just about ready to go as well.

California poppies


Canary Nasturtiums

New plants!


Our old truck

New plants

New plants


The rain is due to clear out later on today - making this weekend a PERFECT time to plant. Come in and see us!