Springtime visit to Shoal Creek Nursery

I’ve written about a number of independent nurseries in Austin, but somehow I’ve missed Shoal Creek Nursery, located in west-midtown on Hancock Drive. Tucked into the southwest corner of Allandale neighborhood, you kind of have to know where it is to find it, but it’s worth a visit, especially since new ownership took over several years ago (it used to be called Park Place Gardens), expanding the plant selection, spiffing up the display yard, and remodeling the exterior to give it a more welcoming look. Here’s their streetside garden in full spring bloom.

California poppies

A few large planters brimming with colorful annuals brighten the parking lot.

The entry arbor was lined with trellised morning glories when I visited recently.

You walk through the garden shop, where you can find seeds, bulbs, tools, hats, decor, and the like, to get to the display yard out back.

The outdoor display is enticing with old brick paths…

…fountains, arbors, and other focal points to draw you through lushly packed tables…

…and complementary groupings of plants, like this ‘Color Guard’ yucca, purple bougainvillea, and ‘Gold Edge’ duranta.

Shoal Creek Nursery has a very nice succulent and cactus selection.

I picked out a few of these to refresh my succulent planters.

More succulent goodness

Lions lurk amid the ornamental grasses.

A small pond will be a water lily showcase in a few more weeks.

Here’s my favorite section of the nursery: the rear display yard, where you can find shrubs, trees, and plenty of xeric plants like these aloes and yuccas.

St. Francis examines a beautiful aloe in bloom.

Or perhaps you need a cowboy statue to grace your agave garden? He’s not as traditional a choice as St. Francis, but hey, this is Texas. Just add a wagon wheel and a cow skull, and you’re all set.

Beautiful agaves

An attractive display of yucca, opuntia, and cordyline. Are those taller, variegated plants a type of furcraea?

Don’t you love this combo of ‘Red Star’ cordyline with silver Texas sage? (The cordyline does better for me in part shade or dappled shade, however, not the full sun that the Texas sage likes, so maybe this combo isn’t one you could easily replicate in real life.)

The rear courtyard contains a huge selection of edibles.



You can find a good selection of colorful pots back here too.

They have some nice classical fountains as well. This tiered lion fountain is similar to one I saw last year on the Dallas Open Days tour, and perfect for a small courtyard.

Austin is lucky to have neighborhood nurseries like Shoal Creek, which carry such a great variety of plants and accessories. Be sure to visit the next time you’re in the neighborhood.

All material © 2006-2012 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

13 Responses

  1. Darla says:

    This nursery has everything and how clever that you have to walk through the store to get to the back. I just planted out 5 red cordylines yesterday, love them! I also love the purple anemone bloom!

    I like those red cordylines too. Last year mine melted in the extreme heat, but I’m trying again this year. —Pam

  2. Amy says:

    Your photos make me want to explore this California poppy-filled nursery…even though I was just there on Sunday for Mx feathergrass! I love those enticing old brick paths. And it’s fun to drive around the immediate neighborhood since a number of the nursery’s plants make it into gardens there.

    Yes, I’ve noticed that the new homes right across the street have colorful gardens to match the nursery’s. It must be handy to be able to walk across the street for new plants. —Pam

  3. sandy lawrence says:

    I used to live on W. 39th St. and Shoal Creek was my ‘go-to’ nursery. I never failed to find helpful people and wonderful plants there. Thanks for showcasing my ‘old neighborhood’. It was a nice visit!

    I’m glad you enjoyed the reminiscence, Sandy. —Pam

  4. Ally says:

    When I worked up north at Koenig, I used visit Shoal Creek often. It’s a great nursery with very helpful staff. I still try to visit every now and then. Austin has many wonderful nurseries and Shoal Creek is definitely at the top of the list.

    Yes, Austin is blessed with a great number of independent nurseries, and I am happy to encourage people to support them. —Pam

  5. Heather says:

    How beautiful your pictures are Pam – I am drooling over the succulents especially! Odd place for this question likely, but have you had any luck with shrimp plant on your property? Do the deer eat it more specifically?

    I haven’t grown shrimp plant in years, Heather, and never in my current garden. I don’t know offhand whether deer like it. You might check the Grow Green guide that the City of Austin publishes. It’s a great resource. —Pam

  6. katzien says:

    You also should make the “roadtrip” to an awesome local nursery in far south Austin called It’s About Thyme (located at 11726 Manchaca). TOTALLY worth the drive with huge grounds for meandering and day dreaming. And these people really know their stuff too. A friend took me there as she had asked me to help her redesign her front garden (I felt like Pam for a day!), and one of the guys offered us some loquats as we were browsing shade plants. Very cool place indeed.

    I have never been to It’s About Thyme, but I’ve heard good things. It’s on my list…someday! —Pam

  7. Cat says:

    Looks like a nice nursery. I’ll have to plan a field trip out that way…I’ve never been. It looks worth the visit. The pottery is beautiful!

    It’s just a block south of 2222 and MoPac, Cat, so not far off your beaten path into town. —Pam

  8. Scott Weber says:

    What a great-looking nursery…they could transplant those aged-brick paths right to my garden and I’d be a happy camper ;-)

    Yes, they are nice, aren’t they? —Pam

  9. Greggo says:

    What I noticed is how clean it is. It’s hard to get that accomplished.

    Good point, Greggo. It was very clean. And they didn’t even know I was coming with my camera. ;-) —Pam

  10. What a coincidence — I was in Austin for a few days earlier this week, and I stopped in at Shoal Creek Nursery on Tuesday to pick up some Austin imports for my Rio Grande Valley wildscape. I’ve enjoyed both of my visits to SCN in the last six months, but I need to make more time to see everything. Thanks for sharing the photos.

    You’re welcome, Ed. Enjoy your next visit. Also, check out my nursery page for links to other nurseries worth visiting when you’re in town. —Pam

  11. Kerry says:

    Hey Pam. A dumb question from a Down Under gardener… Are Californian poppies perennial in habit? I have some of the fancy coloured ones that look like they’re settling in for the on-coming winter rather than dying. Supposedly they like to seed about but I’m not seeing much of that yet. I LOVE them planted in massive drifts like you’ve shown.

    California poppies are annuals, here anyway, Kerry. It seems strange that yours haven’t set seed already, but maybe things grow differently Down Under. I do love poppies that have gone to seed, almost as much as poppies in bloom. —Pam

  12. Shyrlene says:

    Thanks for the nursery tour! I’ve been sitting on my hands, trying not to head to the nursery – as April has been very cool and windy. (NO planting recommended up here until Mother’s Day – except for trees & bushes.) Succulents keep catching my eye this year. Just saw a photo of a 2-tier fountain full of succulents on Pinterest – it was such a cool way to get height in a garden feature. (…Still sitting on my hands, so far!)

    Ooh, that seems like a long time to wait to plant (Mother’s Day), especially if you’re reading Southern garden blogs. ;-) But then again, you can probably plant all summer, which we don’t do in Austin unless it’s an agave or yucca. You’re almost there, so happy digging (soon)! —Pam

  13. Hoov says:

    The variegated plant you ask about looks too lax in foliage to be a Fucraea, which are soft in texture yet stiffly upright. Looks like Phormium to me, which must be an annual for you–or a Yucca?

    And yes technically, CA poppies are perennial. They will come back from a thick carrot-like orange root (at least here they will), but look and bloom best their first year, and since they reseed so easily, they are treated as annuals.

    The photo of the stone lady looking down at the lily pads, so peaceful. Lovely!

    Thanks for the info on the poppies and Furcraea, Hoov! Guess I’ll have to go back for a definitive ID on the mystery plant. —Pam