My first significant experiences in horticulture were working for Dr. Reece Berryhill on the grounds of his large estate in Chapel Hill, propagating cuttings from his shrubs in a wash tub behind my child-hood house, and being inspired with my grandparent’s well-maintained property in Willard, NC. I have cherished memories of traveling from Wilmington to Willard in the back seat of my grandfather’s large four-door Buick. Upon arrival we would enjoy a picnic lunch in the cabin, followed with a stroll through majestic pines under-planted with beautiful southern indica azaleas and fishing in a 5-acre pond.
From the beginning, I wanted to maintain this property in memory of my fraternal grandparents. It was always my desire to have a display garden. Since the beginning of Johnson Nursery in 1981 we have grown and distributed millions of plants; however, most of our employees have never seen our plants beyond three years old. I remember my excitement with seeing a mature Viburnum “Mariesii” in full bloom for the first time while traveling to visit my maternal grandparents. How could this excitement be shared with Johnson Nursery employees, customers, and visitors?
Our climate in eastern North Carolina supports a huge diversity of trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals, groundcovers, and tropicals. There are many talented plant breeders diligently producing new plant introductions each year for world renowned brands. We believe there is great value in showcasing new introductions along with well-known plants resulting in acres of beautiful display gardens. Added to this excitement is the gift of a native hardwood forest and an additional 260 acres culminating in almost 300 acres of property allowing us to dream even bigger. Our dreams include transforming ditches into continuous flowing rivers, miles of walking trails, a wildlife food plot, nut and fruit orchards, an organic produce garden, a large hedge display in the form of a maze, and then some. If this does not excite you then how about a Garden Café, event center, amphitheater, and night-walks through well-lit native trees? Still not connecting with your inner child? How about a rubber duck race in the river of endless possibilities?
Keep listening. We are just getting started.
Thanks and God Bless,