We are into Week 3 of Support Your Independent Nursery Month here in Austin! I am SO pleased to lift up one of my all-time favorites (it’s in my top 2), The Great Outdoors. Before I get going, I want to alert you to the fact that our Austin-area garden bloggers are having a great nursery giveaway this month–and mine is a $50 gift certificate from The Great Outdoors! Check out this post for more details on how to win a prize from one of your favorite Austin nurseries!
This nursery has been with me since I started my landscape design company almost 10 years ago, so I have a really soft spot for it in my heart. But they earn that place, too–this is one of my primary go-to nurseries for a number of outdoor elements, so without further ado, I present my Top 10 Reasons To Love The Great Outdoors:
10. Location: This nursery is literally right around the corner from one of my favorite clients, so the convenience is a huge draw for me! Located in awesome South Austin on trendy S. Congress, it’s never far away from most of my client projects. Score!
9. The Ambience: The Great Outdoors really is a funky place–they wouldn’t fit in to S. Congress very well if they weren’t funky. Everything about this place screams “Keep Austin Weird!”
8. The Pottery: This nursery is my go-to pottery place. My favorites are the Tall Canna pots in a variety of colors for $120. I’ve bought countless numbers of these over the years–and if you click on the video on my homepage, those tall matte black pots in my client’s backyard patio are Tall Cannas. TGO is a large enough nursery to be able to order large shipments of pottery, which gets them a better deal, which is passed on to us!
7. The Coffee Shop: Now, to be fair, Jeanie’s Java does not belong to TGO, but they operate together. There’s nothing better than stopping by Jeanie’s for a cup of coffee or a healthy morning smoothie before I go plant shopping! But my favorite thing is their chicken salad-stuffed avocado for lunch. It’s making me hungry just thinking about it.
6. The Greenhouse: This is one of the only places in town to buy quality tender tropicals and houseplants, and Milton (the greenhouse manager) is SUCH an asset! He knows his plants and has talked me into trying some things that I never would have considered before. Choose from the typical ivies and pothos to the unusual hindu rope and pitcher plants.
5. The Gift Shop: I’ve picked up some really cool things here–hanging glass orbs, wall planters and small statuary–that I can’t find anywhere else.
4. The Plants: Okay, here are my favorites to buy here: tillandsias (I can’t find them anywhere else), bamboo (ask Merrideth if you have questions), cacti & succulents (huge selection) and seasonal color. The plants are numerous, healthy and well-stocked. It’s unusual for me to stop in to TGO and not find what I am looking for.
3. Garden Accents: I’ve already mentioned the pottery, but there’s also a large selection of wind chimes, garden art, Zen accents like Buddhas and pagodas, compost tumblers and water features.
2. The Soil Products: Because they sell a high number of cacti and succulents, TGO has delicious mixes specially made for plants that need well-drained conditions. They have many bagged amendments, too, as well as “Uncle Mer’s Compost Tea.” The staff will readily make suggestions on the right soil or amendment for particular plants, so I always know I’m putting plants into the best soil for them.
1. The Staff: I admit it–I’m picky when it comes to nursery staff. I don’t hand over my trust and loyalty easily, and TGO’s staff has earned every bit of respect and awe that I have for it. Merrideth, Jill, Milton, Chris, Kelly, Thomas–these people are knowledgable, personable, responsive and just really cool peeps. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a question when I’m at a client’s, and I call TGO and one of the staff is ready with an answer. They’ve even called me later with an update, or when I come in the next time, they’ll ask, “How did that bamboo turn out? Did you get rid of the grubs? How did your client like the topiaries?” Love this staff!
The Great Outdoors:
2730 S. Congress Ave.
Austin, TX 78704
9am – 6pm Mon-Sat
10am – 6pm Sundays