Nine years ago, Sue Hunter decided to turn her passion into a profession when she opened Sue’s Backyard on the corner of Carnegie and Depot in downtown Brownwood.
Now her seasonal plant nursery and gift shop is about to enter the final week of its 2017 operation. Sue’s Backyard will close for the year on July 15, having been open since late March. Hunter said the idea for Sue’s Backyard came after she worked 33 years in the health care industry and her company was sold.
“All that winter I laid on the couch bored,” she said. “I got up and said, ‘I’m going to do something else.’ I talked to my son and we got the idea for opening the plant nursery, because that’s always been my passion — gardening.”
Hunter, a former member of the Brownwood Beautification Commission, began gardening seriously when she acquired her home. Her son added flower beds to the spartan yard with discarded rock from a nearby house, and later installed a courtyard. Hunter went to work on the new spaces.
“I just love being outside,” she said. “I love pretty things, and when I went to the new house that’s when I really started gardening.”
After the winter of boredom, Hunter’s son helped her renovate an old Depot St. house and arrange its yard for showcasing plants. Despite its name, Sue’s Backyard is not actually in Sue’s backyard. “Everybody wants to know if I live here,” she said. “I got the name of the business because everybody at work and people I knew … would always say, ‘Have you seen Sue’s backyard? Oh, it’s just beautiful!’”
Sue’s Backyard now sells a wide selection of perennials, annuals, hanging baskets, Knock Out Roses and more. Everything in the gift shop is 50 percent off for the final week of operation.
Hunter said her passion for plants will keep her going for as long as she can. “Each year I say it may be my last one,” she said. “But then I get the fever when it comes close to spring. I’ll be here as long as my health allows me.”
Sue’s Backyard is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.