For more than 20 years, Charlie Thigpen and I worked together at Southern Living, churning out fabulous story after fabulous story. But Charlie’s first love (after Cindy, his wife — aren’t you glad I added that, Charlie?) wasn’t writing. It was working with plants and creating beautiful and innovative gardens. So last fall, Charlie took the plunge. He jumped from the roof of our building. Just kidding. Actually, he opened up a great new garden center at Pepper Place in downtown Birmingham. Gardener’s Gallery.
The Grump can’t say enough good things about Charlie. He’s one of the hardest-working, most conscientious people I know. If he says he going to do something by a certain time, you can bet your first born on it. He’s also incredibly creative. While at Southern Living, he took care of our before-and-after redo’s of people’s gardens and left each of them with a unique personal touch that separated them from cookie-cutter gardens using 3 different plants you see too many landscape architects do. One time he used an old sousaphone to make a fountain. He’s a master of utilizing “found objects” — broken pots, tools, bottles, power line insulators, copper tubing, wire, old boots — to make each garden he designs unique.
If I needed a garden project done at my house, Charlie’s the first person I’d call. He knows plants better than anybody else and he has a gift for incorporating all sorts of plants — trees, shrubs, flowers, vegetables, herbs — into a coherent, interesting garden that just looks right.
The Grump toured Gardener’s Gallery this week. Here are some shots to show you a bit what it’s like.
Lots of annuals, perennials, herbs, garden ornaments, and cool pots in an urban setting.
Despite the hat, she’s one hot mama.
I like garden centers that still sell flowers in cell-packs, rather than planting one stinking begonia in a two-gallon pot and charging you $12.99.
Pansies and golden hinoki false cypress make a colorful combination. Planter’s like this are one of Charlie’s specialties.
Hey, I always wondered what happened to my bike!!!
Here’s the inside of the store. Great selection of indoor plants, gardens supplies, bird feeders, and garden ornaments.
Charlie loves plants so much, they’re coming out of his drawers.
So if you’re in Birmingham and need plants, a great looking container, or design help, check out the Gardeners Gallery at 2805 2nd Avenue South (205-328-1000). It’ll be great fun this weekend, because the Farmer’s Market at Pepper Place will be open too. Say hello to Charlie — here’s always there. You might run into Cindy too — she always checks to make sure his clothes match.