Support Your Independent Nursery: The Natural Gardener GIVEAWAY

Buddha says, Support your local nurseries.

Each week in October, which is Support Your Independent Nursery Month, I am featuring one of my favorite Austin-area nurseries here at Digging. To make things even more interesting, I’m also hosting a giveaway every week—one from each nursery! This week I’m shining a spotlight on The Natural Gardener.

The Natural Gardener is one of those nurseries in which you can easily spend an hour or two looking at plants, exploring the display gardens, looking at the donkeys, goats, and chickens with your kids, strolling the labyrinth, investigating the supersized tepee, and shopping in the nursery store. The extensive grounds and rural setting (though the surrounding area is increasingly being built out with homes and apartments) will make you feel as if you’re visiting a small farm, with rows of vegetables being tended by staff members, animals fed and cared for, swings in the trees for catching a cool breeze, and garden features meant for contemplative enjoyment.


John Dromgoole owns The Natural Gardener, and thanks to his long-running radio show, weekly TV appearances on Central Texas Gardener, and community activism, he’s the larger-than-life face of the nursery.


When you visit—and you must visit; this is an iconic nursery in Austin—you’ll find plenty to do, as this nursery map illustrates.


Or use this quirky signpost to get pointed in the right direction.


The Natural Gardener has a great selection of plants, including many natives and other adapted plants, succulents, woody lilies, herbs, and edibles.


The shrub and tree section is particularly good.


So is the succulent section.


One of my pet peeves at nurseries is bad or missing signage. The Natural Gardener scores extra points for clear signage with helpful growing information.


This place is decked out year-round with fun garden decor. Right now it’s all pumpkins and sunflowers.


Pots make great decoration too, of course, and N.G. has plenty of them, in all colors.


The display gardens just keep growing; each year, it seems, a new garden appears. This is the stream garden.


Here’s the working vegetable garden. They’re even growing corn!


And here’s someone hard at work.


This inviting swing overlooks a pretty herb garden. You’ll find a fruit orchard nearby.


Making the nursery fun for kids to visit are resident goats…


…chickens, and donkeys, whose braying usually tells you where they are.


A butterfly- and dragonfly-stamped path leads to a lovely butterfly garden right off the parking lot.


Stroll it for relaxation…


…or to get planting ideas for attracting butterflies to your own garden.


The information shed is where you’ll find knowledgeable staff members ready to answer your questions. You’ll also find plenty of staffers working the grounds, and they’re quick to ask if you need help finding anything.


In the nursery shop you’ll find nice restrooms (always a plus!) and seeds galore.


I often come to the nursery just to shop for gifts. I love their handcrafted garden/home decor.


They also have an excellent tool selection as well as garden books and bird feeders. And I haven’t even mentioned the educational offerings, like regular garden speakers and classes, or the homemade soil offerings, which include the popular Ladybug brand. There’s so much to see here, and you’ll find more about this excellent nursery in an earlier post I wrote about The Natural Gardener. I encourage you to visit and see what it has to offer.

Now for the giveaway! The Natural Gardener is giving away a $25 gift certificate to one of my lucky readers! Just leave a comment on this post to enter, and I’ll announce the winner at the end of the week. Update 10/7/12: The winner announcement is here.

Giveaway Rules:
1. You must leave a comment on this post to enter.
2. Only one entry per person is allowed.
3. Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm on October 6th.
4. I’ll announce the winner on October 7th.
5. The winner must go to the nursery with a photo ID to claim the prize within two weeks of winning. Prizes will not be mailed.
6. The winner is not eligible to win any other giveaways at Digging for 2012′s Support Your Independent Nursery Month.

Remember, win or lose, if you live here in Austin you’ve already hit the jackpot with a great selection of local nurseries at which to shop, learn, and be inspired.

Disclosure: I’ve posted about this nursery because it’s one I shop at regularly and recommend to others. I invited the owner/manager to participate in a giveaway for my readers, but my post was not conditional on any donation. Plain and simple: I like this nursery and think you will too.

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

77 Responses

  1. Cheris says:

    Sigh… I could spend hours at the Natural Gardener. The kids love it too. In fact, when anyone from out of town visits us, we go there.

  2. Laura says:

    I would love a nursery like this in our area, but they all lack one way or the other. I wish I were closer…

  3. I could listen to John forever…he is so knowledgeable, softspoken and cares about out earth! I can hardly wait to shop there, just learning about the Austin local nurseries! Thanks for the opportunity! Pamie G.

  4. Lisa Pizinger says:

    Love the Natural Gardner! I always go there for their specialty soil mixes for vegetable gardens, rose gardens etc.. They have the right soil for every location and you can buy it by the tractor bucket. Bring your truck!

  5. Liza Moore says:

    Pam, thanks for posting about this wonderful nursery. This place has always been at the top of my list not only for their wonderful array of plants and shop items, but because they are extremely knowledgeable about all the plants they offer. I also value a place that is willing to design their own test garden in order to better inform and educate the people they serve. The Natural Gardener is truly an experience not to be missed! Liza M.

  6. Lovely! One of the many many places I hope to visit someday when we make it to Austin.

  7. Oh p.s. love the new look of your site!

    Thanks, Loree. :-) When you visit Austin, you definitely need to visit this nursery. —Pam

  8. katzien says:

    Since hubby opened his restaurant earlier this year, I’m the lucky gal in charge of the patio planters and garden. Yay! We have an herb garden that the kitchen uses, plus hardy perrenials and shrubs for colorful year-round interest. Come visit our dog-friendly patio! I love this job!!

  9. Patricia R says:

    One of my very favorite places for anything plant related!

  10. Phillip says:

    Thank you for introducing me to this resource.

  11. Natural Gardener is one of my very favorites. I don’t remember seeing the butterflies and dragonflies stamped in the path.
    There is always something inspiring to see there.

  12. jane says:

    I so agree about clear signage. Also clear pricing. In so many nurseries there is no label on the plants and it can be hard to find smeone who knows what’s what.
    Another pet peeve- labels with no botanical name or no species name. The garden mags all read “P. digitalis ‘Husker Red’. I would never know if I have Husker Red or not!

  13. I’ve always wanted to visit this nursery. I enjoy watching John on CTG. He is a wealth of information.

  14. I’ll be near The Natural Gardener in a couple of weeks and plan to make time for my first ever visit there. I am looking forward to it.

    I’m joining in with my own local San Antonio favorites. This week it’s beautiful Shades of Green Nursery just north of downtown.

    http://rockoakdeer.blogspot.com/2012/10/support-your-independent-nursery-month.html

    Shirley, I’m so glad you’re writing about the independent nurseries in San Antonio! —Pam

  15. Robyn says:

    The Natural Gardener has long been one of my favorite places to visit with my daughter Zoe/ When she was little bitty, she loved to wander the paths and see what there was to discover. Now, as a budding preteen gardener, she likes to browse the plant selection for just the right specimen to add to her fairy gardens and succulent gardens. Many of the staff recognize her and greet her by name. It really is our “happy place.”

  16. Marjie says:

    One of my favorite places to visit!

  17. Linda P. says:

    Wow — that place looks amazing! Must plan an outing to check it all out, especially the working garden. I’m sure I can pick up some good ideas (& plants) to incorporate in my fall vegetable garden.

  18. Ann says:

    I once had a really cool conversation with John about the parrot he found in his chicken coop and kept as a pet… though I didn’t realize who he was at the time. I love The Natural Gardener (even though I seem to spend twice as much money as I was intending every time I go there…).

  19. Rebecca says:

    I love the Natural Gardener and have been a loyal customer for YEARS. One of my favorite things is that I can buy a yard of decomposed granite or compost and plants and pottery all at the same location.

  20. Anna says:

    Going to the Natural Gardener is an event, a bit like a fair with all the display gardens, garden art, animals, and so many plants. It is a bit of a drive for me from the East-side of Austin, but worth it and a fun place go with a friend. Staff is friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable. The only place I know that sales pine straw bales for mulch.

  21. Judy says:

    “Plain and simple: I like this nursery and think you will too.”
    Exactly my thoughts! Wish they’d open a second location, nearer to Pflugerville.

  22. Matt says:

    I’ve gotten into a lot of trouble there – *almost* out of space to buy any more plants!

  23. Karrie says:

    I went there a couple of weeks ago for some soil, and they even let us take some free pallets home for other projects!

  24. Charlotte says:

    This is by far my favorite Austin area nursery. It feels like it’s far away but it’s really not. My kids actually WANT to go with me so they can see the animals, get on the swing, pull the wagon for me, and run around in the maze. I find it a relaxing place to shop. Their selection is great and the prices are fair. The staff members know what they are talking about. They aren’t going to sell you anything that won’t grow in our climate. They will order things for you if they don’t have them in stock. They offer a punch card so you gain rewards as you shop. They also have this birdbath by Variance Vessels that I have been drooling over but could never afford. Love it!

  25. Kim says:

    Such a great selection and knowledgeable staff. Love the seminars they do and the animals.

  26. Christina says:

    We love shopping there, and always have to say hi to the adorable Bantam rooster whenever we go. The NG staff is great at diagnosing plant issues if you bring in a leaf/sample!

  27. Laura says:

    Love the Natural Gardener! Great for inspiration and for having just what you need to create what you want at home.

  28. Amenity says:

    I adore the Natural Gardener. Their help desk has never let me down!

  29. ChrisG says:

    I love that place Pam – and I’ve always thought the prices were reasonable. Pics are great – I need to make my way back out there soon.

  30. Claire says:

    This nursery is a local treasure, so pleasant to shop there and great fun for the whole family!

  31. MaryS says:

    I love the Natural Gardener,and have a need for a tree to replace the huge American Elm that shades our house. Recommendations?

    I’m sorry you’re losing your American elm, Mary. Is the drought finishing it off? For big shade trees I love bur oak and cedar elm. Bur oak will last longer, I think. —Pam

  32. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    I have read about this place so many times. I do hope to get there one of these days. Maybe if I win something I will have the incentive I need to get out there.

  33. Janet says:

    I’m moving to Austin this week and am so excited to go check out this nursery! Thanks so much for sharing!! I love your website :)

    Welcome to Austin, Janet! You’re coming at the best time of year. Enjoy! —Pam

  34. jenny says:

    Well of course I will go there. This is my local nursery. Just a hop skip and a jump away. Certainly would be nice to win.

  35. Suzy Maclay says:

    The go-to nursery for soils, mulches, etc. I get ‘em by the truck load.

  36. lara says:

    what a great giveaway!

  37. Pam says:

    Thanks for sharing. I’m newish to teh area and always looking for good nurseries. I’m looking forward to visiting this one.

  38. Amy F says:

    I was just there this morning! Got some broccoli, romanescu and a few Japanese vegetable varieties (seeds); very excited to get these going. And I love strolling through their planted areas for ideas.

  39. Sondra A says:

    I love TNG. I love to go and just stroll around. I’ve found so many wonderful plants there and most times I didn’t even know I was looking for them!

  40. Will Mgum says:

    LOVE the Natural Gardener! Definitely a great giveaway! Thank you!

  41. Lori says:

    One of my favorite places! It looks like they’ve gotten in their big fall shipments since the last time I visited.

  42. Tamara says:

    We have been in Williamson County for about 5 years. I rarely wonder into Austin (My busy family life keeps me close to home.) However I will need to visit soon. I imagine that heaven looks very similar to The Natural Gardener. The amazing thing about gardening is that it never stays the same, it is never done. And who would want it to be?

  43. Joy says:

    I make the trip down from Round Rock because I love this place so much! My latest purchase included a Texas Persimmon, Loquat, Velvet Honeysuckle, and Kidneywood.

  44. Laura says:

    The Natural Gardener is so much fun. It’s very hard not to buy something even if you don’t need anything and are just going for one of their classes. It’s like a candy store for plant lovers. They also have a great website with monthly tips for gardening.–Very helpful.

  45. Audrey says:

    I have never been to the Natural Gardener…it’s on my to do list. Maybe this fall.

  46. Katie says:

    I live in San Antonio and have not made it up to any of the Austin nurseries yet, I should really head up there soon and this would give me a wonderful reason to make the trip!

  47. Katina says:

    Apparently after all these years and visits to the Natural Gardener, I’ve never seen their herb garden because that bench swing is totally foreign…That being said, I’ve never actually gone to their soil yard either…

  48. Caleb says:

    I have never been here, but thank you for introducing me to this nursery. I will try to get a chance to visit!

  49. Michael says:

    One of my favorite local nurseries.

  50. Roberta says:

    I love this nursery. My favorite part of The Natural Gardener is the working vegetable garden. There are so many things that I want to try. I grew tatsoi after seeing it in their garden and I’m completely envious of their asparagus.

  51. Gail says:

    How soon do we have to use the gift certificate! I remember Natural gardener from Austin Spring Fling~It’s fantastic and I am sure there are many items that would come home with me!

    It’s good for a year, Gail. Yes, this is the nursery we brought the garden bloggers to see at the Austin Fling. —Pam

  52. Cindy S. says:

    This nursery is quite a way from my house, but worth the trip. I love the animals and the vegetable display garden.

  53. Teresa says:

    Great write up Pam. I too love the Natural Gardener, even though it is quite the hike from our house. I never noticed the swing before and intend to give it a sit when there next. :)

  54. Kelsey says:

    I have always loved trips to The Natural Gardener. Not only do they have the best selection in town, they tend to have some of the most knowledgeable staff too. My husband and I attended a gardening class there before we started our garden and the information was invaluable. I don’t know where we would be without having them there to help get us started.

  55. Jeremy says:

    Oooh, pick me. I love the Natural Gardener!

  56. Judy says:

    I absolutely LOVE this nursery!!

  57. Lynn Jameson says:

    I dig this!

  58. Frankie says:

    One of my favorites!

  59. Wizzie says:

    I love Natural Gardener’s selection of offbeat yard art. I also appreciate how the employees will work with customers to track down the correct answers to questions if they do not know the answer.

  60. Bonnie says:

    NG is so great- helpful staff who always are around and ask if you need help and just a fabulous place to wander. Plus fun for kids to explore- a plus for mommys who like to plant shop!

  61. Cynthia says:

    I haven’t visited Natural Gardener in awhile – looks like it’s time for a trek north!

  62. Terry Emry says:

    The Natural Gardener is eye candy to this Austin plant enthusiast. What a treat it has been to visit there over the years and see how it has evolved. What a delight to see the addition of a stream-scape!Your delightful pictures have enticed me to head back there soon!

  63. vbdb says:

    Lovin’ those cute pumpkins! NG does everything so well.

  64. Barbara Flores says:

    This is my second year living in Austin and I went last june to The Natural Gardener, I loved the place! unfortunately it was so hot that day that I didn’t visited the butterfly garden and the tikki. One of the best nurseries in the area! :)

  65. Roberta Vasek says:

    Enjoy your blog and it’s inspiration. Thanks for the reminder to check out the Natural Gardener.

  66. Jeanne Haralson says:

    I haven’t been to NT in a while.
    Would love to go and spend my $25 gc on something cool for the Fall and visit the areas you describe iin your post. Oh, and Welcome to Dripping Springs, Natural Gardener!

  67. Hedrich Michaelsen says:

    My favorite nursery in Austin, for sure, although it’s a bit of a drive for me from North Austin. Friendly, helpful staff, magnificent selection of plants, tools, seeds, etc. I’d happily spend much more of my time and money here!

  68. lazysmurf says:

    I love the Natural Gardener so much, I have learned so much from the podcast and their Saturday classes.

  69. The Smiths says:

    I love the NG and Ladybug Products! We took our our grass and planted an edible front yard last spring and I’m still trying to fill up all that space. We had 5 yards of compost trucked up from NG and everything I plant seems to flourish! Also many thanks to you for your inspirational blog!

  70. Debbie Wallenstein says:

    Great post. I love the Natural Gardener. They have a great selection of plants and the staff are so knowledgable and helpful.

  71. Mamaholt says:

    Nothing like a great giveaway to make the comments section go WILD!

    I’m ready to spend that cert!

    xoxox

  72. Tim says:

    Always fun to take the girls to the Natural Gardener. They especially love the donkeys.

  73. Jenna Honorable says:

    We love The Natural Gardener…drive all the way from RR. Great article!!

  74. Mitzi says:

    I wish you were my next door neighbor!

  75. Elizabeth says:

    I’m planning a fieldtrip…..have lived in Austin 25 years and have never been……..

  76. Sarah M. says:

    Love this garden center. I spend lots of money here, giftcard would be used for sure!

  77. [...] Gardener Giveaway October 7th, 2012 The Natural Gardener is a wonderful local nursery.Last week I posted about the Natural Gardener, one of my favorite Austin-area nurseries, as part of Support Your Independent Nursery Month, and I [...]