Meeting Jeanie Merritt

Meet Jeanie Merritt

Do you like to be told stories?  Well, we are lucky enough to have Jeanie Merritt, a natural storyteller on 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.

A galvanized bucket is shown off with purple Million Bells, (callibrichoa), and pink geraniums.

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's front porch

Jeanie's front porch

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!”

"Here's where I sit to breathe in "serenity" My back patio, where I can open the gate if I want to "include" the world, or shut it out for privacy, for some quiet reading or just "taking in the sunshine" "

“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.”

"I am so hooked on finding these pieces and putting them together!", Jeanie says

"I am so hooked on finding these pieces and putting them together!", Jeanie says.

“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.“

A treasured birdhouse designed by my late husband..... complete with RUSTY tin roofs

A treasured birdhouse designed by my late husband..... complete with RUSTY tin roofs

Bought these at a flea market for 25 cents... Didn't have a grandchild to fit them, but I knew in my mind what they were going to be before I even got home....

Bought these at a flea market for 25 cents... Didn't have a grandchild to fit them, but I knew in my mind what they were going to be before I even got home....

an old 12 pane wooden window I bought at a flea market.

"I had pictures of my grandchildren and my children, from when they were young, made into black and white prints, then I scraped down and cleaned an old 12 pane wooden window I bought at a flea market....Now hanging in my bedroom….."

"In the early spring I plant this mailbox with mixed blend of leaf lettuce..now that the hot weather has made the lettuce subside..I transplanted sedum to the mailbox..."

"In the early spring I plant this mailbox with mixed blend of leaf lettuce..now that the hot weather has made the lettuce subside..I transplanted sedum to the mailbox..."

Inside Looking out..

Inside Looking out..

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..”

Jeanie's flower arrangement in an old purse

Jeanie's flower arrangement in an old purse

"My latest attempt at a garden totem...The rooster on top is 1/2 of an old salt and pepper set I found.".

"My latest attempt at a garden totem...The rooster on top is 1/2 of an old salt and pepper set I found.".

Fairy gardens are created during "Mamaw Camp."

Fairy gardens are created during "Mamaw Camp."

Jeanie's gardening planning in progress.

Jeanie's gardening planning in progress.

A 'couple of swells'

A 'couple of swells'

“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

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14 Comments

14 thoughts on “Meeting Jeanie Merritt

  1. Jeanie, I really love your creations. I especially love the totems, the purse, and those family photo windows—everything is so infused with your style. You’ll meet a garden guy, just make a wish in one of your miniature fairy gardens some day, and watch it come true. I’d love to know more about the kind of restaurant you had (that’s so creative), and how to make totems. Also, I really love the epsom salts idea. Simple things like that really inspire me.

  2. Nell Howard Stelzer

    Jeanie, I love your creations,too. I used your window idea this winter in my dining room.I have bought an 8 pound bucket of epsom salts for this spring. Your gardens and vignettes are beautiful and so inviting and I hope you do meet Mr.Right Gardener. You really inspire me !

  3. Jeanne Sammmons

    Ahhh, Jeanie! A true gardener after my own heart! Love all these pics that Sue posted! My fave project is the window photography …your gr’kids …very cool! And I love that special chair on your patio where you can let the world in or keep it out! Very special! Always enjoy your photos & comments!

  4. Nancy K. Meyer

    Jeanie, great to hear your story (stories) of your gardens. I used to have Camp Grandma with the grands, too. They each picked out a hosta and rock for themselves. I too love the window box photo. The little blue shoes, too. So glad to get to know you better.

  5. glenda

    Jeanie, I love your stories and enjoy your pictures. Thxs for sharing

  6. Diane Marshall

    Jeanie, Thank you for sharing your stories with us. You are an inspiration to all flee market gardeners. Looking forward to seeing more of your projects & finds. Have a Happy Easter & a great Spring.

  7. Marie Niemann

    Love your story Jeanie, it’s like we took a garden/home tour together. I could just imagine sitting out on your wonderful patio having a cup of morning coffee together. Thanks for sharing and inspiring all of us at FMG. Can’t wait to see what you have planned this spring! I’m planting Million Bells thanks to you! They look so happy and cheerful, and my favorite color in the garden.

  8. Nancy K. Meyer

    Million Bells for me for the first time, too –this year– thanks to you, Jeanie !!!! <3

  9. Jimmye Porter

    Jeannie. I have really enjoyed seeing all your creations on FMG – thank you for sharing ‘yourself’ in the profile – I hope I can continue to see your wonderful ideas in the future. Happy FMG!!!

  10. Christine Peacock

    Well done. As someone who is also trying to get a blog off the ground for a client, I can appreciate the work that went into this, and of course I too love Flea Market Gardening. Happy Easter.

  11. George Weaver

    Looks like you have embelished the new neighborhood nicley . A little tip on meeting Mr Right Loose the fuzzy slipers might be surprised who is watching you . LOL

  12. Jeanie, I just love your creativity! Question about the epsom salts: What plants do you put it on? I have a book by Jerry Baker with a “tonic” for roses which calls for epsom salts. Have used it every spring and it does wonders for my roses, but I didn’t know other plants like it as well. Lynn

  13. Kirk Willis

    How did I miss this? Jeanie is an inspiration to us all…inside and out (and in the kitchen too!) She has such a way with picking the right colorful plants (and keeping them healthy) to go with her beautiful garden creations. I am always getting ideas from Jeanie!

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