Bug Juice simplifies gardening

Published 6:08 pm Wednesday, May 27, 2009

While driving down Highway 41 near Mt Laurel, I noted the Bug Juice Gardens sign, clearly a plant shop.

Knowing there must be a story behind its quirky name, I pulled up to the business to enquire. Employee Karen Hawkins – busy unloading potting soil – slowed work long enough to point me in the direction of the shop owners, Jimmy and Danna Rockett. I wandered through trails lined with perennials, noting Shasta daisy, verbena and shade-loving plants: Caladium, impatiens and ferns.

The Rocketts have been in the landscaping and lawn maintenance business since 1991. This shop opened in 2004. Maybe you’ve seen Jimmy Rockett on Fox 6 television? He can be viewed teaching a new subject at 6:50 a.m. every Wednesday, and at 7:50 a.m. the last Saturday of each month.

It turns out the shop’s name was inspired by a bottle of wine from Italy, which the owners happened to be sipping at the moment of inspiration. The wine’s name? Bug Juice. Jimmy Rockett produced a bottle to show me.

Now Bug Juice Gardens isn’t your typical garden shop, and a far cry from plant sections of large chain stores. Bug Juice plants are organic, meaning the soil they’re raised in is healthy, and it “trains” plants to maintain health, not go into shock when you plant them. Plants are raised locally, so they’re acclimated. The Rocketts grow most of their plants.

Turns out this gardening store has a Wine & Gift Shoppe too, the latter most appropriate due to its name inspiration. Wines include those from Shelby County Morgan Creek Winery and other local producers. Continuing the theme of supporting local products, gifts include glazed hand-thrown pottery – decorator items and plates – by Greystone artists Joanne Wiskerman and Jodi Stoltzner.

The Rocketts have a theme at Bug Juice Gardens: “Where Flowers Will Brighten Your Day.” Mine surely was brighter, while lingering in the shade of a big old tree, wandering pathways and stopping by a water feature to listen to gentle flow over rocks and birds twittering.

Jimmy Rockett didn’t say, but their down–home personal service would surely be a creed followed.

“We want to make gardening fun,” he said. “We’re not just about selling products. We’re taking a stand.”

The Rocketts are simplifying, demystifying gardening.

See RockettsBugJuiceGardens.com for more information about the shop and wine tasting events.