Meet Joyce Barnette: Gardener, Community Volunteer, and Dear Friend

Jesse JenkinsBirds, Butterflies, and Bees, community, Flowers, Garden Design, Life in The Garden10 Comments

What a gift running into Joyce Barnette this past Saturday while visiting Gill’s. Joyce has been a weekly visitor of Gill’s since we opened our doors 46 years ago. She and her husband Jim have lived in the Country Club Estates neighborhood since the early 70’s, raising three boys and now blessed with daughter-in-laws and seven grandchildren. Joyce reminds me often how much Jim loves flowers and how much she loves to garden. They make a great team!

Joyce grew up in Mississippi. She credits her mother for her love of gardening.  Most days, unless she’s adventuring the world with her sister or other family, she’s out in the garden repotting, planting, trimming, or weeding. Their front yard includes oaks, junipers, hollies, roses, and beautiful ferns on either side of her front door. Instead of pulling the hose up to water, she keeps bottles of water just inside her front door for the ferns. They have a terra cotta stone texture front walk and driveway with a beautiful side yard garden anchored with hill country limestone boulders her sons collected over the years for her. Private seating with pergola, container planting, hanging baskets, and art create a very peaceful outdoor garden space to read and relax! Her back yard has two more seating areas, surrounded by palms, Japanese yew (one of her favorite woody ornamentals), vitex, pittosporums, groundcovers, and flowers. A gardener’s paradise!

Joyce loves putting together hanging baskets, which display beautifully from low lying branches of trees and garden hooks. She doesn’t mind experimenting with plants. She’ll try a plant in one spot and if it isn’t happy, she’ll move it, and hope for better results. She has an extensive succulent garden and she even has a “plant hospital” along the far side of the driveway for plants she’s nursing back to health.

It is always fun to hear what project Joyce is shopping for when at Gill’s. She’s either planting annuals at Jim’s office, landscaping at their church, purchasing gifts to donate to the South Texas Botanical Gardens & Nature Center for a fundraiser, or working in her own garden. Joyce, along with her good friend Mary Hill, have been volunteering their time and resources, keeping the grounds of St. Lukes Methodist Church beautifully landscaped for over 30 years. Joyce has donated many items over the years for the annual Botanical Garden’s Moonlight in the Garden fundraiser, and she and Jim have been sponsoring the 20+ foot fresh Christmas tree that greets families during the holidays at the Botanical Gardens.

The morning I visited with Joyce a hummingbird darted into the garden to gather nectar and then flew right up to us, stopping mid-air as if it knew we were marveling about the beauty and bounty of her garden. I’m so happy to have gotten to know Joyce and am thankful for her kindness and support she generously gives our community! 

– Sally Gill

10 Comments on “Meet Joyce Barnette: Gardener, Community Volunteer, and Dear Friend”

  1. Joyce is a very special lady along with her support of the gardens and her church she is an amazing advocate for the New Life Rescue Mission which helps girls who have been trafficked . She is a real blessing to so many.

  2. Joyce is a treasure to have in our community. The members of St. Luke’s are ever so grateful for Joyce’s contributions to the upkeep of our grounds and her ongoing support of the children and families in need. Thank you, Joyce and Jim, for the generosity you have given to our church and our community.

  3. Thank you Sally & Joyce for sharing the love of gardening with the wider community…the pictures are beautiful! And Joyce’s volunteer works are an extension of that beauty.

    1. Thanks so much Mary Anne. Joyce is a very special lady and I was so happy to be able to share her story!

  4. Jim and Joyce’s love and kindness radiates! Her dedication to nurturing plants is matched only by her efforts to help and care for others. Thanks be to God.

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