Someone once asked me what I do for a living and my
response was "I sell smiles" (well if you enjoy flowers, anyway:). Our goal here
at Almost Eden is to provide a good selection of quality and beautiful, unusual,
or otherwise garden worthy plants at a reasonable price. We have developed
one of the best packaging systems in the business to ensure that your plants
arrive safely and will hopefully look as though they were just plucked from our
nursery. And so it is our hope that when our customers receive their
package or stroll through their garden that they too will smile.
John and Bonnie both grew up on farms where you ate
mostly only what you had sown and the fruit of your labor was as much a
necessity for survival as it was a reward. They have operated a retail
nursery and garden center from 1976 until it was retired in 2007 when they took
over the operation of Almost Eden from Jeff while he spent 3 years working with
noted botanist, Dr. Charles Allen, in Kisatchie National Forest and across Fort
John and Bonnie's original nursery, Bonny Plants, was started
as Bonnie sold plants in a garage sale where she quickly realized that her above
average ability to grow beautiful plants and the joy that they brought her and
those who purchased her plants, that it could become something more. And so in 1976 they began
Bonny Plants at a time when plants were fortunately in high demand. Jeff began
helping in the nursery at the age of 4, as soon as he was big enough to stick
Mom's cuttings and could show you a Begonia or Cactus easily enough. Soon
the nursery grew from one original greenhouse to 4 full sized greenhouses along
with several acres of cloth and irrigation systems. The original nursery
was built on their home place on the outskirts of DeRidder, Louisiana.
many, an 8 mile trip from DeRidder and other surrounding areas was considered a
good distance to travel to buy plants and so when the opportunity arose we
leased nursery and greenhouse space in DeRidder proper and setup shop there.
We quickly outgrew that and when another opportunity for expansion came we
purchased a lumberyard next-door and converted it into a full service garden
center with a licensed florist, 2 retail greenhouses, landscaping, home and
commercial irrigation, we had 2 production greenhouses
along with 1000's of square feet of table, tree and shrub nursery area, and on
site display gardens. During this time as the work load increased so did
the labor and knowledge required to manage it all and so three of their five
sons, Jesse, Jerry, & Jeff, eventually joined them in the nursery helping them
build it into one of the most sought after nurseries in Louisiana.
People came from long distances to
visit our nursery and many on a regular basis and often from as far away as
Houston, Texas and Shreveport, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Lake Charles, and
Lafayette, Louisiana. We thought this was admirable for a small town
family operated business of any size. By the time of the new millennium we
had built up a stock of over 2000 different species and cultivars that we could
offer to our customer base and by 2006 we lost count and simply estimated it to
be somewhere between 2500 and 3000. In the spring of 2002 Jeff planted a
seed and by the early fall it had become a reality and Almost Eden was born.
Almost Eden was originally developed to complement Bonny Plants by offering that
vast selection of plants that we had available there to the gardening community
across the U.S. Since Almost Eden's launch in August of 2002, its
unfortunate for our loyal customers and friends that Bonny Plants has since been
And so I suppose that what they say is true "Once you
have tasted the fruit of your labor few others are ever as sweet" and here
we all are still growing and nursing plants from seedling and cutting to
hopeful maturity in a garden somewhere, if not in ours.
We have made many friends and acquaintances along the way
and we would like to take a moment to thank them for their support through these
many seasons. For sharing in our enjoyment of the plant world and for
expanding our knowledge and those whom we touch by sharing their gardening
experiences and through the sharing and trading of plants and propagation
material. And to honor those that we have had the privilege of knowing
such as Donald Copenhaver, Corey Stanford, and Sherwood Aiken. All of these
were great plantsmen who were full of knowledge and enthusiasm for plants and
they will be sorely missed in the World of Horticulture and in the hearts of the
many that they have touched.
At Almost Eden
We Strive to Deliver Quality
Our crew at Almost Eden goes to great lengths to ensure
the species or cultivar that you order is healthy and is what you receive.
We mark the plants from the time that they come into our nursery and gardens and
eventually through propagation and this follows them through the entire
production cycle. We do occasionally purchase liner's and plant material
from known and proven outside plant sources to increase our stock or so that we
are able to offer plants that we see as exceptional garden additions or that we
feel have the potential to be exceptional. And admittedly we do often find
ourselves, like you, having to still learn about some of these new plants
through trial and error but we do try to keep those experiences to a minimum.
If at anytime you find that what you have received is not
what you had ordered please let us know so that we may be allowed an opportunity
to correct the situation.
We go to great lengths to ensure that your plants are
healthy, pest free, and are well rooted specimens that will be ready for
planting out into the garden soon after you receive them. The majority of
plants that we ship are often large enough to bloom, if they do not arrive with
buds or blooms as they often do, within the first growing season. Please
realize that there can be great variation in plant species and some may take
several years to become mature, such as our cutting rooted Dwarf Japanese
Please remove your plants from their boxes immediately
upon arrival. Our plants are WELL secured in their boxes in order to
prevent them from shifting and being crushed by the weight of the container,
soil, and root system. A sharp pair of scissors may be needed to remove
them from their packages. Your plants will have been in transit for
between two and four days and will likely need a thorough watering in a shaded
location. With appropriate day and night time temperatures this should be out of
doors. Water them only if the soil is dry and they should quickly perk
back up. If you find that there is any problem with your plants please notify us
immediately. It is important to us that you receive a fair product for a
We do ship our plants year round and have only had very
few issues with temperatures affecting the plants. But please realize that
some plants, like some of the more sensitive tropicals, will not tolerate
temperatures below freezing for any length of time, although others like
Japanese Maples can withstand temperatures well-below freezing (assuming they
are dormant and established) for long periods of time with seemingly no
ill-effects. So we only ask that you help us to ensure that your plants
will arrive in good condition by taking these things into consideration when
placing your order. We do try to take note of the addresses that we are
shipping to and the likely weather conditions at your location and the various
stops your plants may take along their journey to your doorstep. Like all
nurserymen and gardeners the weather is an important factor in our daily tasks
but as we all know it is still fairly unpredictable at times and we will do our
best to ensure your plants arrive safely but if temperatures are below 45F in
your area at the time of receipt we cannot guarantee that they will not have
experienced undue conditions once they have left our hands. If your plants
experience symptoms of distress that you are unable to correct with proper
watering and growing conditions please contact us within ten business days of
receipt of your order and we will do our best to see that get you a replacement
or the equivalent thereof as soon as is reasonably possible.
One of the greatest things about gardening is that their
always something to learn about even the oldest of our plant friends and new
ones are continuously appearing. We do our best to provide accurate and
proven information about the plants that we offer here at Almost Eden. We
do realize that we are not all knowing and we would be happy to have your input
to broaden our own knowledge and so that we may pass it on to other gardeners.
The plant information that you find on our site has been developed from:
- our years of experience in the nursery
and garden combined with input from our many gardening friends.
- research of new and old plant species
via books and online resources, in particular the information that the USDA
Extension Services offer is an invaluable resource for gardener's anywhere
in the U.S.
Find your local extension office here.
Please realize that we do go to great
lengths to provide accurate and reliable information about our plants, products,
and services. If at anytime you feel that you have received inaccurate
information please feel free to contact as it is our goal that our customers are
armed with the appropriate and necessary information to be successful with our
plants in their homes and gardens.
We are more than happy to share our
plant images for use in educating others about plants and often lend them
for use in magazines, articles, and there has even been a book or two along
the way. All of our images, along with the content of this website are
the property of Almost Eden and are protected under copyright. If you are
interested in using our pictures for commercial purposes please feel free to
on Our Website Upgrades
Please excuse our progress as we prune away the old to make way for the new. We
are continually making upgrades to our website in order to
provide a more enjoyable and informative website experience as well as to keep
up with the ever-changing world of technology and security. Thank you for
coming to our online store and we hope that you have and will continue to enjoy
a relaxing walk through our online nursery in much the way that we do.
1-24-2012 - We've upgraded our email
to a confirmed opt-in system. We are going to work to send out an informative
monthly newsletter and we will also use this system to provide notices of
upcoming sales. This should eliminate spam and will help to ensure that folks
who opt in are getting our newsletters. To sign up to be on the mailing list
Upcoming Events has been added to the left navigation bar. Check it out to
see what's going on around here, like Open House 2012!
7-13-2011 - We have
added multiple images to the product pages. Click on 'More
info' to see different views of many of the plants that we offer although
multiple images may not yet be available on all products. We've upgraded our 'Advanced
Search' page which can be found just below the categories on the left side
of our web pages. This page will allow for multiple search parameters to be
entered such as zone, flower color, or soil pH. The
Advanced Search page is still a work in progress and your comments and
suggestions are appreciated.
Coming to visit?
We are happy to accept prearranged tours
with your group or organization so please feel free to contact us for scheduling
and availability. Or if you like, Jeff will be happy to come speak to you about
some of our plants. Here at Almost Eden, we spend so much of our time
growing the beautiful and unusual plants that we ship that this leaves us with
very little free time to assist individuals, we hope that you can understand and
will continue to shop with us online. Be sure to mark your calendar for our 2013
Open House on April 6th & 7th, 2013 from 9AM-5PM. We hope to see you there!
Need a speaker
for your local organization or club?
Jeff has given a wide array of talks on
plants to several local organizations including: Lake Charles Master Gardeners,
Beauregard Master Gardeners, Leesville Garden Club, Lake Charles Garden Club,
Iowa Garden Club, Orange Garden Club, 4-H Clubs, and at several of the Lake
Charles Garden Fests. Some of his strongest subjects are: Tropical Plants,
Butterfly Gardening, Hummingbird Gardening, Native Perennials, Plants for
Louisiana Gardens, Camellias, and Roses or if there is some other plant related
contact us and he will be happy to discuss it with you.
Thank You & Good Growing,
John, Bonnie, & Jeff McMillian
& The Crew at Almost Eden