Pam at Digging has declared October as Support your Independent Nursery Month. As such, some of the local bloggers are posting entries every Wednesday (I love the sound of deadlines as they go whooshing by) celebrating the more popular independent nurseries in the Austin area. The nurseries we are blogging about are, by no means, the only independent nurseries in the Austin area, and I fully encourage you to seek our your nearest independent nursery.
When I first moved down here (in January of 2005), one of the first things I asked my fiancé (now husband) was "Where's the closest good garden center?"
See, back in Colorado I lived in a town called Parker. And Parker has a huge independently owned garden center called Tagawa Gardens. Of course, most of the facility is inside a giant greenhouse (what with Colorado being too cold to garden for 6 months out of the year), but they offer classes, natural gardening solutions, knowledgeable staff, and plants by the thousands that, while perhaps not native, do well in the area.
Everyone told Shawn, "Oh you HAVE to go to the Natural Gardener!" and so we made the trek from our far northwest Austin home to the Natural Gardener just west of the Y in Oakhill which is on the far southwest part of Austin.
The Natural Gardener has everything from bag your own soils/compost to ceramic pots to one of the biggest and widest selections of plants I have ever seen. And of course, as mentioned above, the Natural Gardener is the purveyor of everything natural in gardening (including companion planting - such as plant roses at the end of your grapevine rows because roses will get the same diseases as the grapes, only sooner - that way you don't have to constantly be spraying your grapevines, you can wait until the roses show damage).
When you go to the Natural Gardener, be sure to check out the inside area as that's where all the seeds, bird supplies, and garden gifts are located. Also, you should walk around the grounds to see the demonstration gardens as well as visit all the farm animals.
P.S. I just saw that 7 Austin Local Independent Nurseries are offering giveaways through the following blogs (deadline to enter is 10/26 11:59 pm central time): Growing Optimism: $25 gift certificate from The Natural Gardener
Digging: TWO prizes to two different winners: a $100 gift certificate & a Fall Power Package (valued at $50) from Barton Springs Nursery,