About Almost Eden

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.

 

Our Experience

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 Polk.  

    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. 

    By 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 retired.

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.

 

Our Plants

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 Maples.

Our Guarantee

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 fair price.

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.

 

Our Plant Information

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.

 

Our Images

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 contact us.

 

The Latest 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 just click here.

1-23-2012 - 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 Fall Open House on September 21st & 22nd, 2013 from 9AM-5PM. For more on upcoming events see our events page. 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 topic please 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