The yucca fields of Barton Springs Nursery Wholesale


Do you ever wonder where your nursery plants are grown? In the case of Barton Springs Nursery, beloved by local gardeners for their selection of native plants in smaller, less-expensive pot sizes, they grow some of their own stock at “El Rancho,” their 20-acre wholesale farm in East Austin. Growing their own is, of course, how they’re able to keep their retail prices lower than some of their competitors, but the wholesale location also caters to designers and landscapers who need bigger, field-grown plants for their clientele.


BSN Wholesale isn’t open for retail sales, but as a designer and friend of BSN I was recently given the OK to visit. I stopped by one afternoon to look at their selection of beaked yucca (Y. rostrata) and was impressed to see large fields of both beaked and Spanish bayonet yuccas in all stages of growth.


Rows of rows of baby Yucca rostrata are grown high on mounded soil, for drainage.


Larger specimens are backed by tall, trunking Spanish bayonet in full bloom.


I hopped in a rugged, golf-cart-sized vehicle driven by manager Max Hanes, and he took me into the fields for a closer look. Aside from the yuccas, there were also some large agaves and lots of palms (not pictured).


The yuccas are sold by the foot, and since these are slow-growing plants, each foot adds quite a lot to the price. Max cruised up and down the rows of Yucca rostrata, letting me look them over.


At last I spotted a pretty, blue-green one at the size I could afford. Max hopped out to tag it for me and said it would be dug up in a few days, the root ball wrapped in burlap, and be ready for my landscaper to pick up on Monday. Here he is posing with my yucca. Thanks for all your help, Max!


After paying and pausing to pet the ranch dogs, I headed out the long drive, past bristly cholla and fiery globemallow in full bloom.


And here’s my prize all planted up in its new home! Literally a prize, as I spent my winnings from the Better Homes and Gardens Blogger Awards on this baby — ha! You knew that money was going straight to a nursery, right?

All material © 2006-2015 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

Treasure hunting at Adkins Architectural in Houston


Since last summer’s visit to once-upon-a-dream-like Bella Madrona in Portland — a garden in which junk and architectural relics are transformed into mysterious, magical art — I’ve been on the hunt. For what? For ways to add a spark of discovery to my garden, and in particular for cast-iron earthquake stars. I already had a few and decided to collect a dozen more to set in the gravel path of my front garden — an homage to Bella Madrona, which had a star-studded path that I adored.


Earthquake stars are star-shaped bolts traditionally used on tie rods that run through buildings to hold them together. They’re commonly seen on Civil War-era buildings in South Carolina, where I grew up. Today you can find old stars and, more often, reproductions in antique and junk shops and farm-supply stores — or at least you can in the Lone Star State, where stars are beloved as a decorating motif. Callahan’s General Store in Austin carries them, but I found them priced lower at Adkins Architectural Antiques & Treasures in Houston. I was there last weekend, and so we stopped at Adkins to check it out.


What a treasure-hunter’s lair the place turned out to be, with so much more than just earthquake stars. Architectural remnants and reproductions were stacked head-high in the patios around the shop, which is located in a rambling, old house sheltered by a massive live oak.


We poked around in the yard, finding everything from Victorian-style furnishings, containers, and fencing pieces…


…to whimsically goofy statuary. What is this guy — a fur trader wearing a rabbit-eared hat?


And doesn’t everyone need a griffin to grace their garden? No, me neither, but it was fun to imagine.


Inside we discovered a warren of rooms packed with a hoarder’s assortment of architectural doodads, perfect for giving your home a bit of vintage charm or for repurposing into something totally new. Everything was neatly organized, and the salespeople were friendly and helpful.


I found bins of earthquake stars, including some 6- to 7-inch stars marked down to $3 each.


These aren’t antiques, but they will do the job.


“The streets of town were paved with stars,” sang Frank Sinatra, and now so is my garden path. It’ll remind me of Bella Madrona every time I walk it.

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I’d love to have your vote in the Better Homes and Gardens 2015 Blogger Awards. Skip through to the Gardening category, select Digging, and then skip to the last page for your vote to be counted. You can vote as much as you like. Thanks for your support!

All material © 2006-2015 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

Early spring at Thompson+Hanson nursery in Houston


Last weekend in Houston we popped into Thompson+Hanson, an elegant boutique nursery with a mouthful of a name, located on W. Alabama Street. It was late afternoon on a chilly, damp day, and the place was quiet, but we enjoyed browsing among their lovely potted displays, like this fiesta of succulent color.


And this charmingly potted arum lily.


Dogwood branches, even faux like these, evoke early spring.


Twig spheres, massed along a wall draped with still-dormant vines, echo the shape of clipped boxwood shrubs and create a classically beautiful vignette.


My friend Diana/Sharing Nature’s Garden and I visited the nursery last spring (click the link for my post), on a warmer, sunnier day, and had lunch at its cafe, Tiny Boxwoods. On this chilly afternoon, the cafe’s patio was closed down.


But the lawn was green, and Bradford pears were starting to flower along the fence. Spring is just a moment or two away in Houston.

__________________
I’d love to have your vote in the Better Homes and Gardens 2015 Blogger Awards. Skip through to the Gardening category, select Digging, and then skip to the last page for your vote to be counted. You can vote as much as you like. Thanks for your support!

All material © 2006-2015 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.