Five Essential Garden Stores in Austin
The great outdoors
Located along two shaded hectares, this urban garden center has been a horticulture hub on bustling South Congress since 1994. Enjoy a moment of zen as you savor the sound of water trickling from the koi pond before browsing its vast selection of native and adapted plants , almost all organic. Be sure to check out the store’s range of Heirloom and Heirloom Seeds inside its shop, which also includes a Rare Plant Case with an ever-changing assortment of unique flora for your home.
Featured in episode 6 of weird eyethe last season, this one LGBTQ-owned greenhouse and nursery is a paradise for new gardeners. Opened in summer 2020, the friendly North Austin store is filled with helpful signs for aspiring green thumbs: from what and when to plant to detailed lists of pet-safe greenery and low-light tolerant plants . Check out the center’s DIY potting station and sign up for in-store classes like planting herbs and vegetables, native Texas landscaping, and mixology with plants this month.
Shoal Creek Nursery
Outdoor plants are at the center of our concerns Rosedale Clip, which displays beautiful geraniums and bougainvilleas, as well as shade-loving shrubs, cacti and trees. While you’re there, buy the Rock Crystals and Gardening Tools inside the Gift Shop. Are you looking for a photo session? Take the little ones for a photo of Bigfoot and the alien statuary, located next to the center’s rainwater collection tank, which is used to supply the nursery.
The natural gardener
It would take a whole day to properly explore the wonders of this treasure trove of eight acres of organic gardening. Owned since 1993 by John Dromgoole, a staple of Austin’s horticultural scene for decades, this world-class nursery in Oak Hill features a butterfly garden, orchard, herb garden, outdoor lounge with swings, several greenhouses and a labyrinthine path that passes in front of a goat pen. Style your own backyard with its quirky lawn decor, like vibrant peacock ornaments, gargoyles, and giant cat statues.
Barton Springs Nursery
Offering a wide selection of native flora like perennials, trees and Texas yuccas, this West Austin Nursery grows more than half of its plants on-site, so everything is accustomed to the region’s soil and climate from the get-go. The animals in this 36-year-old garden center bring it to life, from Fern the cat (see box) to Fig the turtle and the birdhouse full of rescued parakeets. When you’re looking for the perfect gift, browse its revamped gift shop, which offers a mix of homewares, pottery, and children’s clothing.
More than a feline
With duties that include catching mice and greeting customers, several cats play a vital role in Austin’s outdoor nurseries. The friendliest might be Shoal Creek Nursery Chicago, a 16-year-old gray and white boy who loves being petted by guests. When the black cat from Barton Springs Nursery, Fern, not patrolling the grounds, he can be found lying behind the crate in his teardrop bed. In the great outdoors, a red tabby cat named Queen (photo) rules the roost. After continuing to escape from her original home to hang out at the SoCo garden center, her owners finally let her live in her favorite green paradise.
Rooting interest: John Dromgoole of The Natural Gardener recommends three native plants that thrive in central Texas yards.
1/ Mexican feather grass
This grass gives a nice soft contrast in the xeric garden. It is a well-adapted native that goes deep into the landscape.
2/ Anacacho Orchid
A wild-looking deciduous tree that blooms in early spring. These fragrant white orchid type flowers are such a surprise.
3/ Bigtooth maple
It’s a showstopper in the fall! It is a very hardy native tree that gives us Texans a taste of the turning leaves.