Human Flower Project

Orrington, MAINE USA

flag flower bed

parker basket thumb
Princeton, MAINE USA

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

The Secret of the Secret Recipe

Gardener-alchemists brew plant elixirs, and local enthusiasts have blooms to show for it.


Joy-Juiced ‘Pat Austin’ rose in Nancy Morris’s garden

at Pinecrest, Louisville, Kentucky.
Photo: Julie Ardery

It seems every locality has its garden wizard. And of course every wizard needs a magic potion. In Austin, Texas, our magus is John Dromgoole and his potion—one of them—is John Dromgoole’s Compost Tea. He sells it by the gallon in plastic jugs and once you’ve bought it you need to think like Cinderella: act fast, before the magic fades. Gardeners who’ve sprayed it on the leaves of flowering plants swear by it.

I recently returned to Louisville, Kentucky, my hometown, where every gardener with bragging rights wound up with a confession: their not-so-secret secret is Monty’s Joy Juice.

Nancy Morris showed me around her gorgeous gardens at Pinecrest, featuring lotus (not your typical Kentucky fare), a veritable zoo of hosta varieties, a fairy garden (check your wand at the gate), and two big blooming rose gardens. Monty’s a frequent visitor to Morris’s garden, and she says she pours the Joy Juice to her plants for four weeks straight, then watches the wonders unfold.

Montrose “Monty” Justice started concocting his formula in the late 1980s, to improve his blue-ribbon roses. He began with Dromgoole’s milk jug method of distribution but by 1997, after raves from local customers, began marketing the stuff nationwide. Monty’s Joy Juice is available now in more than 40 states.

One customer in Memphis tried Monty’s juice on his vegetable garden and wound up with a 14 pound cabbage. Nancy Morris’s roses, while perhaps not 14 pounds of petal, are heavyweights too.

The cashier at St. Matthews Feed & Seed, where Monty’s Joy Juice has two shelves to itself, told me that somebody’s written a biography of Monty; there’s a booksigning planned for later this month. She noted that there was a similar secret flower elixir that made the rounds in her hometown of Charleston, SC, too. Anybody out there know its name?

What’s the secret bloom formula in your area, and who invented it?

Posted by Julie on 10/05 at 02:08 PM
Gardening & LandscapePermalink
Page 9 of 9 pages ‹ First  < 7 8 9