My Secret Garden

Many of you know that right behind Country Roads, right out those back doors, is a little garden area called, "Johnnye Merle Gardens & Nursery". Brande named it in honor of her Gramma and my Mom. What some of you may not realize is that garden means SO much to me. It is a great place to escape from a day when you feel you can't just answer anymore questions or your head will explode! Seriously, those days sadly are not that rare! Sometimes I have made a quick beeline out those back doors after getting into an arguments with one of my kids at the counter. After all, the family that works and plays together, also argues together as well! So there are days I need an escape, a place where no one can find me. A place I go to "walkie-talkie" free as in, "oops, I forgot my walkie"! And I just walk around, look at the flowers, and try to get my mind off whatever we were arguing about so I won't return to the counter even more pissed off! Usually, my time spent in the garden cures the need to explode! I think too much. I've always known that. My mind tends to wander, just like our morning glory has wandered all over our garden area. There are days it is hard for me to stay on task. My mind wants to travel to other places. I'll be out in the garden watching the bees. Then I wonder, "if bees are so smart, considering year after year the queen bee returns to the same spot to make a beehive and all the other bees follow her, then WHY don't the bees communicate well enough to warn each other never to drink from a pool! Why, because they drown! I can't tell you how many I rescue with my net at home. Johnnye Merle's is a good place to think about just random "stuff" without being disturbed! Sometimes I like to think about my Mom and how she taught my kids about gardening. She so loved plants and her Texas bluebonnets! I think at times when I'm out there about the days my Dad and his Alzheimer's and my Mom and her dementia made me want to set up camp in the garden away from all the madness back then. But I also quickly remember about how my Dad paid Home Depot to install a garden window over their kitchen sink of their home. Why? Because he knew my Mom could no longer physically work in her flowerbeds and wanted her to be able to garden in some way, shape or form. I think a lot about the love they shared that I never understood nor had in my own marriage. On some days I just love to walk around in the garden, taking in all the beauty that she holds. We have wild parrots here in Old Towne. I often wonder why they are so loud? Are they each trying to talk over each other and that is the reason they make so much noise? And which parrot gets to decide when and where they go? Is it random, or have the parrots made the decision who should be their leader? Yes, I wonder about that has I watch them all beautifully fly away each day! Johnnye Merle's has also shouldered many of my tears over the year as well. Things happen during work hours that you become aware of, and there are those days that you really just need to find some solitude quickly. I've shed many a tear over my own sorrows along with those of others as well. But most of the time when I visit the garden and nursery that was named after my mom, it is for the memories I hold dear to my heart. I think about Norm and Jeannie's daughter, Dee-Dee, that passed away a few years ago. Norm and Jeannie had set up a little area where Dee-Dee could sell herbs. And oh how Dee-Dee loved the feeling of having just a purpose for the day. You could see it in her eyes. She was our first original little gardener and never will I forget her coming up to our customers with her herbs in hand saying, "smell this"! It makes me smile as I write this. I remember one Memorial Day standing in the garden with one of my customers. Her mom had died the year before. Both mom, daughter and her son always shopped together at Country Roads. The garden was a special place to them. Zach was still in a stroller when they first started coming in, and now he is a senior in high school. That Memorial day we stood together, shoulder to shoulder, as vintage jets flew overhead, near the cemetery where her mom is buried. The jets flew in the, "missing man formation". We stood side by side, starring together at the sky, not speaking as it was a time no words were necessary. It's those memories that make this garden that much more special to me! There is a rosebush planted out in our gardens that is in the memory of Isabel. She was one of our dealers that passed away too young. I remember the night well that some of us gathered after hours to honor her memory at the store. Country Roads and our Johnnye Merle Gardens is just THAT kind of place, you know? Most of the time though, when I'm out in our gardens, I just walk around with a smile in my heart and feel good!! I guess I know, without ever thinking twice about it, that when I'm back there in "my secret garden", my Mom is watching over me and those I love! It's just that kind of place!


Unknown said...

You said it for me. It's good to read or hear that I'm not the only one that has all these thoughts.
I worry about my girls and wish so much my Mom was still hear so I could tell her I understand now.
Thanks for this!
Enjoy your day

Garden Antqs Vintage said...

Sue, what a wonderful place to escape to. Just for a moment the cares and problems and worries of this life can just take a back seat to you taking in the beauty that surrounds you. I think we all need a secret garden to lay our burdens on or just to have a place to dream.

trash talk said...

What better place to tuck memories (even bittersweet ones) in than a garden? It's wonderful that you're capturing those memories on your blog so that one day your g'kids will have them too.

Kate said...

What a beautiful post to share and for me to understand the heart of the gardens and what it holds. Gracie loves it out there and how she smiles and plays while she is dreaming. Thank you for allowing it to be a place of peace and happiness for us. I remember the day Bryce offered me the space and how I asked him for a few minutes thats exactly where I went and stood there looked at the beauty surrounding me and listened to my heart.

Have a wonderful day!!!

chateau de fleurs said...

I love going out back in your garden at Country Roads. I got my camera Sue,Thanks! XO Christie

Vintage Market Place said...

Aww Sue,
You have so much going on, I am glad that since you are at work so much that you can escape to enjoy such a wonderful place.
It is so beautiful there and I don't even garden but you just can't help but appreciate the beauty of it all.
I now knowing some of the history it will feel different the next time I stand back there.
Take care

Diane Drake said...

I also love walking through your garden for a quick escape whenever I visit Country Roads. Thank you for sharing your memories. Diane

Beth said...

That is a beautiful garden!

Malisa said...

Girl, this post was absolutely beautiful and so heart felt! I was walking in the garden with you and feelings the pain and joy that you experienced there! Thank you so much for sharing these warm memories with us!

I love your Dad for buying your beautiful Mother a window box. True love!


The Boston Lady said...

Thanks for sharing such personal and heartfelt thoughts. Your parents were obviously very special people who have left the seeds of their goodness behind in their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I hope to visit your garden this summer.

Barntiques said...

How interesting that so many of us are so alike but different. I love that other peoples minds wander and rush to this or that. This post makes me feel happy!

Callie Magee Antiques said...

What an amazing open post!!
I can certainly understand needing to get away after a confrontation with some of the public we meet in our stores. Some days you don't know why you are trying so hard to make a business work. A place like your secret garden would be so wonderful to have to walk into at almost any time to recover yourself.
I do not even have a back door to my store so the garden is out of the question for me, but I do have a few plants and 2 rusty old metal chairs out front where I can go and watch the traffic going past.
This is where I go to escape.
When you mentioned arguing with family members while at work, that fit me so many times when I am on the phone with mine and someone walks in and you have to shift back to Mrs. Wonderful Store owner.
Hard to do!!! Yes, I do know.
Thanks for sharing with us.

Robin Sanchez said...

I can not even imaging working with the retail public day in and day out....what a wonderful spot to have. I live in an apartment now and long for the day when I have a yard again to grow my flowers in.

I remember those birds from way back. I grew up in Orange in the 70s and remember watching the green birds on the telephone wire. I know there was a story about them....but I forget it.


Rose Gold said...

I completely agree on you. Gardens is the best place to refresh your mind take away all the worries and bad things. It is also a place that you can remember all the good and happy memories. My children always do their homeworks in the garden, especially when they need to review for a test! Garden can be your reading area too.

Crystal small said...

Walking in a garden that has a beauty such as like that is so energizing. It takes away all the negative energy in your body! Every time the sun rises I usually make yoga exercises in my garden and that makes me feel so relax. Everybody really needs a garden for them to have a place they can run away for all the problems and to store some good memories.