J Visits with his Friend Dirk Jonker at Jonker's Garden Center - in Holland Michigan!

Dirk Jonker and Jonker’s Garden!

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)

J Visits one of his favorite Garden Plant Spots- Jonkers Garden Center in Holland Michigan!

J Visits one of his favorite Garden Plant Spots- Jonker’s Garden Center in Holland Michigan!

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.

This arrangement is created Completely from Plants- that were purchased at Jonker's Garden!

This arrangement is created Completely from Plants- that were purchased at Jonker’s Garden!

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!

J always brings a flower crown on every visit- and this Flower Crown is created from Jonker's Garden Plants and Flowers!

J always brings a flower crown on every visit- and this Flower Crown is created from Jonker’s Garden Plants and Flowers!

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.

The Eyeball Plant or Tooth Ache Plant... aka - Spilanthes oleracea

The Eyeball Plant or Tooth Ache Plant… aka – Spilanthes oleracea

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!

Watch Dirk Jonker- and Visit Jonker’s Garden- on Life in Bloom- The Garden Contained- Episode 206 HERE~!