Regularly, I profile one of the very involved and talented members of Flea Market Gardening. These folks are inspirational, talented gardeners and bargain shoppers! You may already recognize their names and photos and the next time you do you can say hello!
Meet Jeanie Merritt
Do you like to be told stories? Well, we are lucky enough to have Jeanie Merritt, a natural storyteller writing now and then for our Flea Market Gardening page! When you see her photos in our albums or on the Wall, get ready for an imaginative tale to go along with the picture.
Jeanie lives and gardens in central Ohio, garden zone 5b. Her children are grown, but live fairly close and she loves hosting “Mamaw Camp” for her six grandchildren, gardening, crafting, cooking and going to movies with them. From the age of 22, she ran a restaurant called The Country Table and retired in 2010.
Jeanie says, “Some big changes came into my life a few years ago after my children were grown and I went through a divorce. I went from gardening about 2 acres in the countryside, with a large assortment of beautiful perennials and annuals, to a much smaller and limited space in town. The first year in my new home I had only five tulips, one clematis vine and ten geraniums!”
Jeanie has been very resourceful when it comes to wangling gardening space, ‘borrowing space from a non-gardening neighbor and ultimately choosing an end condo where she’d have more space to spread out! She says, “I chose a condo on the end so I have not only the front garden space, but also all down the side and the back, plus an outside patio that is fenced in with a beautiful wooden privacy fence.”
“When I first made the move I transplanted many of my perennials to my cousins country home to “grow and wait for me” until I decided exactly where it was I was going to call home. I was quite depressed from the downsizing, so I decided right then and there to make the best of whatever space I had, and make it spectacular! And that is what I have done. Simply put, gardening makes me happy.”
“I am one of those women who regularly like to change things around in the house that goes for the garden as well. I like to “change-up” my gardens, including the perennials in each season. Each time friends visit my garden I want them to find or see something that wasn’t there the year before!”
“I tend to plant flowers and place garden “props” that compliment each other in color. For example, on a white chair on my patio I placed a purple and white polka dotted pillow that goes charmingly beside a robust purple ‘Elsa Spath’ clematis. Or, in a bed of pink tulips, with some variegated pink and white scattered among them, I set up a pink garden totem, right in the middle.”
“Galvanized buckets are scattered throughout my flowers and a few rusty “things” seem to wander in once in awhile as well. A yellow pair of children’s clogs leans against a rock near a yellow blooming sedum and a coreopsis.”
“Flea Market Gardening has been my tutorial for new ideas and also has given me the thrill of accomplishing new projects and posting them for my friends to see. I’m always excited seeing their gardens and projects as well! The site has also prompted me to search for that “one more thing” that will just look perfect in my gardens and, hence, has put me on a first name basis with my local thrift store and flea markets.“
Jeanie says, “When I owned my little diner, I carried the love of old things, antiques, and flowers there with me as well… There were beat-up old window boxes (photo above) on the 2 BIG front windows when I bought the place, but no one ever did much with them…SO…. I planted bright red geraniums and ivy. BOY, did that get everyone’s attention in the village! Customers enjoyed the flowers outside…AND inside while eating. Just a pretty little picture I thought you might like to see..”
“I found these two fellas not far from where I live,” Jeanie tells us. “I actually bought them right out of the woman’s garden…I drove by, fell in love, drove back offered her $$$$$ and she said yes….I painted the back of a shed where pigs used to roam and fenced in a small area for a herb garden..( see the rhubarb??) BOY did things grow well there!!! Well I took them out there and stood them up so they looked like they were just “shooting the breeze.” These two sure turned heads when folks drove by, and I had so much fun with them!!!”
“Every morning, clad in my pjs and my fuzzy pink slippers, hair messed and no make-up on, I pour myself a fresh brewed cup of coffee and head outside to “inspect” my gardens.. I like doing this early, before others are awakening and the birds are gathering for their breakfast at the feeders. I find it a very special and serene time for me. Many friends and neighbors have asked what I use to make my flowers so lush and full of life. I can only tell you this.”
“I do not use chemicals to fertilize any of my plants and attest that good ol’ cow manure and Epsom salts, along with compost and earth worms have made my gardens flourish.
Some day I hope I meet another Mr. Right, Jeanie says, and if I do, here’s hoping he can handle a shovel!” Jeanie laughs.
We love all your stories, Jeanie, and will look forward to more in the future at Flea Market Gardening! ~~ Sue