Austinites in the southwest part of the city have long had a gem with this nursery--we're a granolahead kind of crowd here, and The Natural Gardener's commitment to organics fits right in! But I don't want to get ahead of myself. I'm starting a theme with my nursery spotlights, and I want to stay with it--so here are my Top 10 Reasons to Love The Natural Gardener:
10. The Labyrinth: Yep, we've got a nursery that has a labyrinth. We're badass that way. The labyrinth was the reason I first visited The Natural Gardener (TNG) years ago. I wound up going the wrong way on the path, but that's a story for another time.
9. The Organics: If The Hunky Foreman has his choice of where to get soils and mixes, it's TNG. They have a small soil yard that features many of their Ladybug products--it's a little more expensive than some other places, but I always think you get what you pay for, don't you? You want awesome soils, composts and fertilizers, go to TNG.
8. The Tipi: What do I know about tipis? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I just love that there's a nursery that not only has a labyrinth, but also a tipi.
7. The Size: Sometimes I prefer a smaller nursery because I like the cozy, familiar feel of it. But, TNG's size has its plusses: When I'm looking for a specific plant and no one else has it, TNG will have it. Case in point: I was filling out a plant order earlier this summer, and I was looking all over for Verbena bonariensis, to no avail. A staffer at another nursery had never heard of it, and another nursery did a head scratch and said they couldn't remember when they last had it. I called TNG and they said, "Oh, for sure! We've got 8 of them and they look awesome right now!" Yesssss.
6. The Xeric area: Specifically, the cacti and succulents. Dang, these people have such a range of varieties--and many times, in sizes that are difficult to find elsewhere. I love scouting out new plants when I'm there.
5. The Animals: Chickens, goats, donkeys, cats and a parrot. And a partridge in a pear tree. They probably have that, too, I just haven't asked yet. I don't have any animals yet, on account of my garden is a 150-square-foot balcony, but next year I'll be moving to an acre. Chickens, here I come!
4. The Butterfly Garden: I love seeing what to plant to attract butterflies! And this garden is so pretty, too.
3. The Vegetable Display Garden: More and more people are growing their own food, and I love how TNG demonstrates what to grow and how to grow it. Sometimes new gardeners don't have a point of reference for how something grows in the garden--the first time I saw peas in a garden, I wasn't sure what I was looking at. Hey, I was a city girl, what can I say?
2. The Pottery: Awesome pots, large and small, coolest colors and funky patterns and textures. Very unique--love it!
And the #1 Reason to Love The Natural Gardener....
1. The Beautiful Grounds: You can't pop in and out of this place. It's big, it's beautiful, and you'll want to take your time and explore. We all recognize pretty plants, but beautiful gardens inspire--and shouldn't nurseries inspire? My only complaint about this nursery is that it's so far away from where I live that I don't get there very often, so I don't know the staff like I do in other nurseries. But inspiration and beauty abound there--and it's totally worth the trip.
The Natural Gardener
8648 Old Bee Caves Road
Austin, TX 78735
Mon.-Sat. 8:00 - 6:00 pm
Sunday 10:00 - 5:00 pm
*All photos by The Natural Gardener. To read more accolades about The Natural Gardener, check out these blog posts by other Austin garden bloggers:
Caroline Homer: The Shovel-Ready GardenPam Penick: Digging Jennifer Stocker:Rock Rose Suzanne Hurley: Vert Diana Kirby: Sharing Nature's Garden