October is Support Your Independent Nursery Month!

Dear Austin gardeners and bloggers everywhere, I hereby declare October to be Support Your Independent Nursery Month. Fall is our best planting time in the South, and even though the U.S. recession and Texas drought drag on, we gardeners must get our fix after the long, hot summer. As I was thinking about my fall shopping list, I began to wonder whether the drought and tough economic times were impacting the many wonderful local nurseries with which the Austin area is blessed.

These independent nurseries have given me so much over the years: a wide selection of native, well-adapted, and homegrown plants, plus plenty of out-of-the-ordinary specimens to keep things interesting; knowledgeable, personal service by people who really know their plants and care enough to keep them watered and healthy; beautiful selections of pottery, fountains, gifts, and garden accessories; quality bagged and bulk soils and mulch; inspirational display gardens; and informative gardening talks and how-to classes. Imagine if all we had to choose from were plants at the big-box home-improvement stores? I occasionally shop at those too, but in times like these it’s worth thinking about where our gardening money is going. I want mine to help sustain the independent nurseries that have given me such great selection, service, and information over the years.

Starting next Wednesday and continuing each Wednesday through October, I plan to post about an independent Austin nursery that has helped me to build my gardens over the years. I’ve invited my fellow Austin bloggers to join me, and I’ll be including their links on my posts. I hope bloggers in other cities will join in as well each Wednesday in October to promote their own local nurseries. (I understand that fall is the end of the gardening season in northern climates, but I hope many of you will still find a reason to post.)

Local readers, I hope to inspire you to seek out our independent nurseries this fall. They need our business more than ever, and frankly we need them more than ever, as they sell the kinds of plants that can help our gardens weather the drought. Please join me each Wednesday in October as I give a little love and publicity to the nurseries that give so much to Austin gardeners, and to me.

Update: Please follow the links to my weekly posts about local nurseries.
Barton Springs Nursery
The Natural Gardener
The Great Outdoors
Hill Country Water Gardens

All material © 2006-2011 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

30 Responses

  1. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    I supported an independent nursery out of state this weekend. :) They had a lovely place with things I couldn’t get around here. I was thrilled. It will be interesting to see the places you support.

    How fun, Lisa! We are truly lucky to have so many good independent nurseries here in Austin. I can’t imagine gardening without them. —Pam

  2. Les says:

    As the employee of a small independent nursery, I applaud your effort. In fact I will give it a standing ovation.

    I’d love to read about your independent nursery, Les. I’m sure you’ve posted about it before, but maybe you’ll do so again for the Wednesdays in October celebration. —Pam

  3. Diana says:

    Love our independent nurseries – I’m happy to play along! The heat has kept me away for a bit, but now I’m planning for fall and for landscaping jobs, so it’s the perfect chance to get back in the gardening game.

    Yea, thanks for joining in, Diana! —Pam

  4. Bravo to the truly innovative, independent nurseries, with a pulse on not what they “think” customers want, but on what is best for their area and what their customers *need*. I can think of a few in Abq and of course, Austin and San Antonio; there need to be more in my region. And kicking myself that I needed more time in San Antonio last week to hit the Antique Rose Emporium!

    I too will be buying my new plants this month from 1-2 local nurseries, so great timing in spite of my slowness.

    I hope you’ll join in, David, in posting about your favorite independents in Albuquerque. —Pam

  5. Shirley Fox says:

    Great idea Pam! Looking forward to your lists and those of the other bloggers.

    It’ll be great to find out what people love about their local nurseries, won’t it? And I am happy for an opportunity to share my favorites too. —Pam

  6. I truly would not have a garden without them. I’m on board, Pam.

    All right! —Pam

  7. Love this idea Pam…and in fact it just might encourage me to visit a couple of my fav’s to join you (‘might’ being the key word there, seems the rains are back up in these parts!).

    I’m glad you’d like to join in, Loree. You’ve got so many great independent nurseries to celebrate in the Portland area. Hey, even if the rains keep up, you can still post—just write about what you love about them. If you contact them in advance, they may even share some photos with you. Just a thought. —Pam

  8. Abbey says:

    Great idea Pam. I’d to jump in with a few San Antonio profiles.

    Yippee! I’d love to know more about San Antonio’s best independent nurseries, Abbey. I’ll be taking notes for my next visit. —Pam

  9. A great idea.
    We have one nursery, here in Wimberley…King Feed and Hardware. It’s pretty good, with native plants and bagged soils from other independent area nurseries.
    But, there are others I can visit, with a little driving.
    I’ll need to get out and take a few pictures of these to play along.
    Looking forward to seeing what’s around.

    I look forward to reading about your favorites, Linda. —Pam

  10. Pam…thank you so much for your kind words & continued support of Independent Garden Centers. We are totally “Digging” your blog!

    Thanks, Christopher. HCWG has long been one of my favorite independent nurseries and top pond resource center in the Austin area. —Pam

  11. susan harris says:

    Great idea, and I’ll definitely participate.

    Fantastic, Susan! —Pam

  12. Bonnie says:

    Great idea Pam. With the kiss of rain last night and the slightly cooler 90 degrees today, it is starting to feel like there may be an end to this horrid weather and be time for some planting.

    Let’s all cross our fingers, Bonnie. I couldn’t be more ready. —Pam

  13. kim shields says:

    Pam, What a great idea! We as gardeners may be complaining about this Texas drought and backing away from buying our usual haul of plants this summer but we can still support our local nurseries by buying pots, fertilizer, and yard art. Even though I make regular trips to Austin to buy plants, I have a few favorites here in San Antonio I would love to recognize in my posts.

    I look forward to reading about them, Kim! And you are right that other kinds of purchases will also help to keep our independent nurseries in business. —Pam

  14. Frankie says:

    What a great idea. I’ll look forward to reading your postings supporting our wonderful local nurseries.

    Thanks for your interest, Frankie! —Pam

  15. Since I’m volunteering at National Wildlife Refuges now, I don’t have the opportunity to buy plants often, except as gifts. But I really miss the nurseries in Austin. They had such a great selection of natives and well-adapted plants. Here it’s mostly the same group of mal-adapted plants, including many that are invasive. And none of them except Joshua’s Native Plants in Houston offer a place to just go for a good time, even if one doesn’t have money or place for plants.

    When I hear about places that lack a good independent nursery, Marilyn, it makes me realize anew how lucky (spoiled?) we are in Austin. —Pam

  16. Cat says:

    Amen, sista! We are so blessed to have so many talented and knowledgeable people in Austin. I hope to join in your plan to support them on our blogs. I’m doing the MG class and have other commitments so haven’t been posting as much but I will try to at least put one post together with a list of local favorites to get the word out to my readers. Your idea is wonderful and I’m sure the nurseries are all thrilled with your efforts.

    I would love it if you could join in for even one post about your favorite local nurseries, Cat. Can’t wait to hear about your faves. —Pam

  17. peter schaar says:

    Great idea, Pam. I’ll try to contribute about my 3 favorites in Dallas, plus one in Fort Worth. I may even try a tribute to the greatest one of all, which is sadly no longer with us.

    It’ll be wonderful to hear about your favorite independent nurseries in the Dallas area, Peter. So sorry about the loss of your greatest one though. That kind of thing can rock a gardening community, I bet. —Pam

  18. Love your post. As an Independent woman rancher and garden soil product line producer I know, understand and support the Independent Nursery’s and Garden Centers Annie <|;-)

    Way to go, Annie! —Pam

  19. Cyndi K. says:

    I’m headed out to visit Barton Springs Nursery (for the first time) right now…and visited The Great Outdoors (for the first time) last weekend….so you’re certainly making a difference. I appreciate the info.!

    I am so glad my post has inspired you to visit BSN and the Great Outdoors, Cyndi! You are in for a treat as you get to know these wonderful independent nurseries. —Pam

  20. andrea says:

    great idea pam! while we don’t have many stand-alone, independent nurseries here in the bryan/college station area (the horror!), there are two or three that i try to frequent as often as i can. anne’s gardens (affiliated with america’s country store), producer’s co-op, and circle d (re-wholesaler) nursery. martha’s bloomers is down the road a ways. all seem to be struggling with the lack of gardeners’ enthusiasm due to the heat, drought and economy, let alone the price competition from other stores that shall remain nameless. i’ll try to contribute some posts this month that feature the plant shopping choices in this part of central texas.

    Yea! Thanks for joining in with a post or two about your local garden centers in the Bryan/College Station area, Andrea. I look forward to hearing about them. —Pam

  21. jenn says:

    Desert Botanical Garden holds its fall plant sale in October. I’m there!

    The Wildflower Center in Austin is holding its fall plant sale this month too, Jenn. Have fun at yours! —Pam

  22. Robin says:

    Pam, when you first came up with this idea, I loved how everyone threw in the name of their favorite. I was shocked when I realized how blessed with choices we are just in our metro area. We could blog weekly for 3 months and probably not talk about all of them! I’m looking forward to reading everyone’s perspective. And doing a little shopping….

    We really are spoiled for choice here in Austin. I think it’s easy to take our independents for granted, and so giving them a little blog love seemed a worthy idea. —Pam

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  24. Caroline says:

    I’m happy to see so many participants in this effort, including gardeners from areas other than Austin. This rallying cry needs to go national! I can’t commit to a month’s worth of posts, but I’ll try to pull something together tonight for at least one post.

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  29. ricki says:

    Nurseries are struggling, which makes this an even better idea…and a great excuse to indulge in a favorite activity: visiting nurseries (virtually and in person). Thanks for dreaming up yet another fab challenge. Pistils: http://bannersbyricki.com/archives/1902

    I’m so glad you joined in with a great virtual visit to Pistils Nursery in Oregon, Ricki! —Pam

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