Hello, again!

Last weekend, Angie and I headed to St. Louis for a visit with Kristen and the girls. We had not been able to celebrate Christmas with them because of quarantine, schedules and weather. It had been a year since we’d seen them. That was way too long.

St. Louis is a fun town with local breweries, restaurants, and even unique grocery stores. If you're ever in the vicinity, one must-stop in The Grove is in the Melroy’s building, Crimson Serpents Outpost. The owner, Serge, makes it an experience. It's my go-to for selvedge denim and handmade leather goods.

The red brick shotgun houses in St. Louis also intrigue me. They may have derived their name from the room format, as it was sometimes said that a bullet shot from the front door would pass through the house without hitting anything and exit through the back door. Angie asked me if I was seriously considering buying one and moving to St. Louis. I think I’d just like to go inside one to look around.

As a plant person, I’m always on the lookout for unusual plants. St. Louis didn't disappoint. It was like the day I caught that Grabber Orange Mustang in the corner of my eye. I knew I’d seen something unique. Well, as we were passing the campus of St. Louis Community College, the yellow winter foliage of a conifer caught my eye. After further investigation, what I found was Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Aurea Nana' / Sawara false cypress. My best guess is that the ‘Aurea Nana’ ("yellow dwarf" in Latin) is probably 60-80 years old. The conifer collection on the campus is fascinating; it's a spot plant lovers will cherish for decades to come. I was happy to see the college has an associates program in Horticulture where students are able to learn what is needed to be employed in our industry in a cost effective, timely manner.

If you were connected to us on social media last week, you were privy to the buzz on our what I’ll call our Collector's Plant Assortment. Needing space for our pansy crop, we moved our crop of "collector's items" that we’d been growing since last fall out for sale. Jeremy had ordered the unique collection of cuttings from Asia. Specialty Hoya and other species were bringing people into the stores left and right just from social media. It was just like when I saw that yellow conifer last week, and it reinforced how lucky I am to be in an industry that connects me with people who are passionate about what we enjoy doing.

While we may be sold out of many of these amazing collector's plants, we still have a great collection, such as our var iegated Monstera and more. Stop by and see what will catch your eye in our greenhouses.

Your friend in the garden,

Marty Johnson
Owner - Johnson's Garden Centers