I met Dirk Jonker from Jonker’s Garden many years ago when we were judges for “Keep America Beautiful” Contest- where we were judging Front Yards- in Holland Michigan. Holland Michigan had been selected as one of the Featured Cities for the Contest… we had a great time- and share fun stories. We are both from Multi-generational Family Flower Businesses- and there was lots to discuss- as we enjoyed a ride around town- and then coffee at LemonJello’s in Holland. (One of my Favorite Coffee Houses)
Jonker’s Garden was founded in 1948 by Dirks Grandfather- and he’s a 3rd Generation- Local Independent Garden Center. That’s super important- because local garden centers have so much more to offer- than big box stores. It’s a simple fact- that big box stores- make HUGE Garden Center purchases- from growers and then place all the different plants they “progam” into every store across the USA. That’s the Problem. There are so many different climates – and zones in the USA… so you could be buying a plant that is not meant- or worse WILL NOT SUCCEED in your garden, zone or climate.
Enter the Independent Garden Center- Dirk and his staff- (many of whom- have been with Jonker’s for 30-35+ years)… know what will succeed and do well… that is how they attract- and keep their customers- for decades. Planting and Selling Plants and Flowers- that do well- and thrive in the local climate and zone. I know that anything I pick up at Jonker’s is going to do well- in Michigan- and I will have success… Thus- the LOVE I have for Local Independent Garden Centers.
They have an incredible selection- of the unique and unusual as well. I talk about and show- the Fish Net Stocking Coleus- that is Bright Chartreuse with Black Veining… Incredible! Or the Toothache or Eyeball Plant- so named- because the blooms look like EYEBALLS- but also – if you would choose to chew a bloom- it will make your mouth go numb… it also has dark (nearly black) foliage… I love it!
I also love to seek out both Annual and Perennial Plants- that are good for cutting – and my concept of “ARRANGE-PLANT” – meaning that the plants and flowers that I put into the garden – should be available for cutting for making into arrangements… I have very few (maybe NONE) that can’t be cut for arranging… I just love to make flower arrangements from the Garden.
One of the most charming parts of Jonker’s Garden is the picturesque location. When you pull into the parking lot- you see the old vintage Delivery Truck- (that is a perfect photo op!)- and you walk over the bridges – that cross the wonderful little pond- and wet lands- that leads you to the greenhouses- and benches of “SHADE” Plants that reside under the Giant Pines… it really is – one of the most beautiful garden centers I’ve visited in my travels… and I’m lucky it’s just 40 minutes from my back yard.
I can fill up a couple of Jeeps- each time I go… there’s just so many different plants and flowers to choose from. Thanks for allowing me to share my Favorite Garden Center- and my friend Dirk Jonker- in this Life in Bloom Episode… and the next time you’re in Holland Michigan- make sure to stop by and say “Hello”… Pick up a few plants too… you can thank me later!