Mikey McCall loves plants—so much so that she fulfilled her dream of opening a dedicated plant store, which she aptly named Ferny's Retro Plant Shop. But for her, plants are more than just a way to add a decorative touch to your home: they're an essential part of self-care.
"I think we’re made to love and nurture our family, friends, and strangers," McCall told her sister, Joanna Gaines, in the summer issue of Magnolia Journal. "But, sometimes we forget to tend to ourselves, so plants are one way I do that."
In Magnolia Journal, McCall and Gaines chatted about McCall's journey to opening her plant store, located at Gaines' sprawling Silos in Waco, Texas. The sisters went on to discuss all things plants, McCall's plant store, and some of their best plant tips, including one that might be surprising: using chopsticks to handle cacti.
As we know, cacti can be tricky to plant or repot without pricking your fingers. While some people may use kitchen tongs or gloves for handling cacti, McCall recommends using chopsticks. This can help with moving cactus plants from one pot to another, and can also be used to push soil into crevices around the cactus without hurting yourself.
While McCall had an interest in plants since 2014, her journey to opening the store didn't exactly start off smoothly—in fact, she was notorious for killing plants.
"I kept killing plants, but eventually, a friend gave me a zebra plant and I kept it alive," McCall said. "One plant turned into five, then 20. It became this quiet, restful hobby, and it was so therapeutic for me."
McCall always dreamed of opening some kind of store, but after her interest in plants made its way to the forefront of her life, she decided to incorporate that into the business, along with her love of vintage finds. The plant shop was postponed while she had kids, but after reprioritizing in 2021, she wrote down what she really wanted to accomplish—and decided it was time to open her store.
The first iteration of the store was a pop-up that May, and with that being a success, McCall then opened her brick-and-mortar store at the Silos in 2022 with Gaines' help. Now, Ferny's is fully operational, with plenty of plants, pots, apparel, and more available to shop both online and in-store.
If you manage to make it to Waco to shop in person, McCall hopes you find inspiration at Ferny's.
"I hope people leave feeling inspired, peaceful, and refreshed—and just encouraged that they can do this," she said, noting that not everyone needs to have a green thumb to feel welcome at Ferny's.
"For me, Ferny's is a lot more than plants—it's really about relationships. When people walk in, I want them to feel seen and known, and if a plant helps them feel that way, that's really special," McCall said.
The summer issue of Magnolia Journal is available now online and on newsstands nationwide.