Guest article by C. Cimmone
Here in Central Texas, we never really put away what little winter-wear we own. But we do burst out the door at spring’s first light and sigh, “Ahhhh…” Flowers are blooming in the Texas sun; mulch needs refreshing after winter freezes; and pesky weeds need pulling between sips of iced tea.
In between all of that hard work, I urge you to make a day trip out of visiting Austin’s best, local nurseries, which not only provide beautiful additions to your landscape, but may actually do the landscaping for you!
Here are my top three Austin nurseries, all locally-grown, just for you.
1/ The Great Outdoors
The Great Outdoors may be my favorite spot in Austin; and that opinion is widespread. I spoke to a family of four who admitted they’d visited the nursery the weekend prior to gather soil additives and rose bushes, sans kids. They were so impressed, they decided to bring their children the very next weekend. Yes, a kid-friendly nursery.
This local business has paths and curious walkways, shaded by the grand oaks of the property. It also has a talking parrot that asks, “What up?” when you enter the gift shop. Add kid-friendly restrooms conveniently located in the center of the nursery, and interesting, animal-shaped pottery, perfect for anyone ages one to one-hundred.
And don’t forget the larger-than-life wind chimes, burlap elephant, and ponytail palm. The list of mind-blowing horticultural anomalies goes on and on because these guys know how to grow just about anything.
If you’re going to this nursery strictly for business, the knowledgeable staff is friendly and willing to help you with any task or inquiry, as soon as you step foot onto the property. No need to search for assistance. These guys and gals are swarming the nursery, ready to give you an escort to the Talavera pottery, squirrel-proof bird feeders, water features, succulent room, organic soils, or compost bins.
As I turned every corner, I was simply amazed. This place has it all. It even has complimentary tape measures to ensure you are populating your garden with accuracy!
Tired from all of that decision-making and excitement? Head over to Sage Cafe and enjoy a locally-made Buddha’s Brew kombucha, specialty tea, or homemade blueberry muffin. I stopped in after my adventure and was greeted by a grinning duo–Gregg and Dillon–who stated the best part of The Great Outdoors is the people.
These guys truly enjoy what they do, and assured me the nursery’s staff and customers make coming to work feel like a dream. As Elton John’s “Your Song” softly echoed throughout the nursery, I gave a final wave to Gregg, Dillon, and the nursery herself. My soul was nurtured; the winter clouds were invisible; and I immediately called my father, “The next time you come to Austin, you have GOT to come here.”
2730 S. Congress Ave. – Website
2/ Frond Plant Shop
I stumbled upon Front Plant Shop accidentally. On my way to meet a friend at Bouldin Creek Cafe on South First, I googled “nurseries” and was surprised to find a cozy plant shop nestled between The Soup Peddler and Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop. All of the reviews online boasted about the plant shop’s “great vibe” and “good smells.”
The reviews hit this place right on the head. Owner Sara Cecili Garza-Barnes opened this boutique nursery after growing up in Texas Hill Country. Rooted in art and carrying a passion for fronds, she certainly has created great vibes, an eclectic selection of ferns, ivies, and palms, and, you guessed it–“good smells.”
Frond Plant Shop is more like a museum than a typical flower nursery. Handmade pottery, burning candles, and a perfect display of plants, woods and metals, twine and home décor–including paintings by the owner’s father–are stylish and elegant.
With so many items to choose from, I had extreme difficulty controlling my budget in this shop. And after the shopping was over, I hated to leave. This shop is not only a ‘shop,’ but an experience. So while you wait for Bouldin to open up a free table, pop into Frond Plant Shop for some aromatherapy, good vibes, and breathtaking arrangements of greenery.
P.S. Find something you like, but don’t want to tote it? Frond offers free shipping on all orders.
507-A W. Mary St. – Website
➡ Keep reading: Best Places in Austin to Outfit Your Fall Garden
3/ Countryside Landscape and Garden Center
Not big on downtown parking? Head over to northwest Austin to meet an A to Z nursery. Countryside Landscape and Garden Center not only offers plants and soil, but landscape design and installation, lawn maintenance, plus irrigation repair and installation. The business has also teamed up with Pond Springs Custom Pools to offer pool design and installation.
A large nursery barn is filled with beautiful pottery, houseplant soil sold by the “scoop,” shabby-chic displays, and licensed professionals to answer all of your tilling, planting, and fertilizing questions.
I asked nursery manager, Molly Pikarsky, TMCNP, what sets Countryside apart from other Austin nurseries. As she carried my stunning Scarlet Storm Quince to the barn, she explained the organic relevance their team places on product selection. Looking over her shoulder, she reminded me of the vast assortment of trees, available for both commercial and residential purchase, and qualified for home delivery and planting. I had to admit the tree selection was the largest I had seen, and I even considered pushing that budget a wee bit further to take advantage of what the nursery had to offer.
Pikarsky wasn’t the only Countryside partner full of great insight and customer service. Every employee I interacted with went above and beyond to offer assistance and information regarding my selections. I even had my dirty pots loaded into my car by a smiling man with a sparkling passion for trees, annuals, and everything in between.
13292 Pond Springs Road – Website
Whether you want to catch good vibes or really get your hands dirty, any one of these locally grown and owned Austin nurseries are an excellent choice. Rain or shine, you are guaranteed to have an experience worthy of a long call to a garden-loving friend or family member.
Snap some pics; buy some ladybugs; have a cup of tea; and breathe it all in. It’s springtime in Austin, Texas, and there’s no better way to ring in the new season than a trip to the nursery.
@theAustinot wants to know:
What is your favorite Austin nursery for spring gardening?
C. Cimmone is an author and editor of multiple publications. Please visit ccimmone.com to read more about her work.