Support Your Independent Nursery: The Great Outdoors GIVEAWAY

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 Great Outdoors.

The Great Outdoors is located in the South-Austin-hippie-meets-hipster zone of Congress Avenue just south of downtown. It carries a good selection of annuals and perennials, including plenty of natives, plus lots of succulents, bamboos, and edibles.

It’s also a great spot to find fun garden decor, like these pots and metal prickly pear sculptures.

And if shopping makes you hungry or thirsty, you can stop for a refreshment at the cafe located on the grounds, with a deck overlooking the nursery.

But back to the pot selection—TGO carries beautiful containers you won’t find anywhere else, like these…

…and these handmade, dino egg-like creations.

You’ll find succulents and cactus galore—perfect for filling seasonal planters.

And the garden shop behind the succulent tables, you’ll notice, has a green roof.

Here’s something I’ve never seen at any other nursery: crested golden barrel cactus.

The agave and yucca section at the top of the hill (this is a nursery with some elevation changes) is chock full of larger specimens.

And look—they’re into culvert-pipe planters too, but they paint theirs. These orange ones were for sale.

So was this blue one.

TGO is the place to go for fun or funky, spiritual or ironic garden art, like this Winnebago birdhouse.

Or a mosaic-tile toilet fountain.

Or painted metal birdhouses and animals.

Or Buddhas and bonsai.

Inside the garden shop you’ll find plenty to tempt you as well.

You can spend a good hour strolling the shady grounds to see everything, despite the urban location.

You might even see Merrideth Jiles, the nursery’s general manager and an all-around nice guy. He and his staff are always ready to answer your gardening questions and help you find what you’re looking for, so check them out the next time you’re south of downtown.

Now for the giveaway! The Great Outdoors is giving away a $50 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 10/28: The winner is announced 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 27th.
4. I’ll announce the winner on October 28th.
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.

67 Responses

  1. MaryEllen Krautter says:

    At least twice a year I venture down south to shop to stroll and shop at this unique nursery!

  2. Charlotte says:

    I love it that The Great Outdoors is in the middle of the city! I love the plant selection. My kids dig the koi pond and the giant wind chimes.

  3. Martha Chick says:

    Ooh I love Great Outdoors! Fingers crossed!

  4. Judy says:

    I want one of everything from this place everytime I visit!!

  5. Sharlene Stipp says:

    I’ve never been to this nursery, but definitely want to check it out the next time I am in Austin.

  6. Dusty says:

    It would be great to get a little discount from my go-to place. Thanks, Pam!

  7. jenny says:

    That certainly is a feast for the eyes and my garden would love a few of those plants. Love this nursery and the chance for a gift certificate.

  8. marjie says:

    I’ve never failed to be delighted when I’ve gone to the Great Outdoors!

  9. Laura says:

    Love the Great Outdoors! There’s always something there just begging to come home with me.

  10. Amenity says:

    The Great Outdoors is fantastic — great selection, good prices, and super nice staff.

  11. Alyse says:

    I wish we lived closer–BC is a long ways away. However, next fall we are taking a trip down and the sounds of letting my children scratch in the dirt makes it that much more desireable.

  12. Katie says:

    I love their variety of colorful pots! I would definitely use the gift certificate to buy another big bright pot or two.

  13. Um….WHOA! I am going to travel to Austin to go to this place regardless of the contest! Those are the most realistic prikly pear cactus sculptures I have seen to date – so many are are soooooo cheesy, but I had to look at those twice. I especially enjoyed looking at their incredible succulent section. Wiping the drool off my chin now!

  14. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    All I know is when I come to TX I will have to drive so I can come home with lots of pots as well as flowers.

  15. Robin says:

    My fave nursery! I love going here in the spring when they’ve gotten a big shipment in; it’s like paradise just walking through their grounds. Great product placement and variety. Cross fingers to win! Getting Grounded

  16. Kim says:

    I would love another big fancy pot from their great selection and a cactus to go in it!

  17. mads78 says:

    what a lovely store. cant wait to get my hands on some cacti and planters.

  18. Another of my favorites. This place is fun just to walk around.
    Of course, I can never leave empty-handed.

  19. Mamaholt says:

    I’ll be dreaming of this certificate! I “need” a bamboo.
    Thanks, Pam!

  20. Anna says:

    The staff was nice enough to hold a particular variety of tomato transplant that I was having a hard time getting last spring. The cafe is yummy, too.

  21. louis says:

    That looks like a magical nursery! I would love to get lost in the Great Outdoors nursery. I LOVE those sotols(?) in the orange curve pipe planters!

  22. Annalynn says:

    I’ve always love this place – great plants and there garden art can’t be topped.

  23. Frankie says:

    I’ve always enjoyed shopping at the Great Outdoors. Great Austin nursery.

  24. sandy lawrence says:

    I’ve always loved The Great Outdoors, from the time they were much smaller than they are today. One of the main things I treasure is the always, always friendly and helpful answers to customer questions. And, of course, those FAB POTS!
    Maybe this is my lucky day, Pam. Thanks for hosting this giveaway!

  25. This is the one Austin nursery I’ve visited and enjoyed it very much.

    This week I visit a native plant nursery in Medina, Texas.

  26. Sandie Anne says:


    Don’t put my name in the drawing because I live on the East Coast! I just wanted to say you have beautiful photos on this website! Good luck to everyone.

    Sandie Anne

  27. Cheris says:

    I often take my kids there for a smoothie at the adjoining coffee shop and then a long stroll through the nursery. I always spend way more than I planned. ;)

  28. Abbey says:

    This is an awesome nursery! It’s much more than a place to get plants. It has earned it’s status of an Austin “destination.”

  29. Gaynell says:

    And after spending that hour(s?) trying to see everything, I cool off in their incredible greenhouse of tropical and exotic plants!

  30. Linda Parker says:

    Wow — this nursery looks amazing! I think I could spend all day there just looking around. Imagine having a gift card to spend there …

  31. rjhyden says:

    It`s probably a good thing I don`t have this nursery very close to me. Wow. I`ve seen it in your previous posts, but this tour was even better.

  32. Tatyana says:

    Pam, I wanted to thank you for letting me know that October is such a special month! I didn’t know that, but ironically, I posted today about our local Japanese Maple Nursery: I am glad I did it. Thank you!
    Have fun with your great giveaway!

  33. Laura says:

    The Great Outdoors truly has beautiful pottery, great statuary, and a huge assortment of plants, but the very best thing about the Great Outdoors is their staff. They are genuinely nice folks.

  34. Katina says:

    As I’ve said before – TGO is probably the garden I visit the most because they’re so close to work. I do love it – I went to one of their seminars about creating seed bombs and seed paper – it was great fun!

  35. Mary T says:

    A beautiful oasis in South Austin. Such a wide variety of beautiful plants displayed in such creative ways. The Great Outdoors … a must see in Austin. Pam, I have so enjoyed your blog and your recent posts about Austin’s finest nurseries. Thank you.

  36. Audrey says:

    I always stop by when in South Austin….love it!

  37. Mark says:

    I’ve never been but will be stopping by this week. The pictures make it look great!

  38. Salma says:

    finally!! a place to source the beautiful culvert pipe planters!!

  39. Elizabeth says:

    Love it!

  40. Glenda Wagner says:

    This nursery is so amazing that even my non gardening husband likes it! One of my absolute favorites!

  41. Lynn Jameson says:

    Pick me!

  42. Lara says:

    I love TGO- when I lived South it was a go-to weekend morning destination–coffee amongst the plants, and then maybe a little something comes home with you!

  43. Sandy says:

    Love the pots! Fingers crossed that I get some “help” in getting one!!

  44. Robyn says:

    We really do have some wonderful nurseries, don’t we? This is another one we love, but don’t get to often enough.

  45. ChrisG says:

    Hey Pam – great review of TGO. I love that place – they also have a swing hanging from the largest tree that I’ve ever seen. It’s way in the back by the covered pot area.

    Very nice!

  46. ella says:

    What a fun place to browse and shop!

    Thanks for a great giveaway!


  47. Patty Soriano says:

    I have never been been here but have always wanted to spend the day strolling the walkways. Thank you for the giveaway, Pam !

  48. Stephanie says:

    I love this place & the cafe is so vegan friendly!

  49. Jeanette says:

    Please enter my name in your drawing. The Great Outdoors looks like like a GREAT nursery!

  50. I’d love to get back into gardening! Thanks for the post

  51. Sondra A says:

    I love this nursery too. I have bought many great plants and pots there.

  52. i love this place and sooooo wish there was a satellite shop in the bryan/college station area… but it (and austin’s other great independent garden centers) are totally worth the drive :)

  53. WOW, I need to visit….beautiful photos of a beautiful place! Hope I win!!! Pamie G.

  54. Ellen Gibbs says:

    My favorite nursery. I’ve been 4 times so far this fall! Thanks for reminder of why I’m lucky to live here after a rather depressing NYTimes article about Austin today.
    Also: Props to the parrots in the gift/seeds building. No visit is complete for me without a conversation with them.

  55. Leah McIntosh says:

    TGO is a wonderful place to while away an hour or so!

  56. Robyn Roberts says:

    I love this place and Merridith is always so helpful and knowledgable!

  57. Ann says:

    Another wonderful nursery that seems to magically suck the money out of my wallet!

  58. Kathy Vale says:

    Pam Penick + The Great Outdoors = AWESOME OUTDOOR GARDENING UNION!! Such a treat to have BOTH treasures here in Austin!!!

  59. MaryS says:

    Never been there, but I’ll put it on my list.

  60. Chuck Meshako says:

    It’s nice to see a nursery that celebrates creativity the way that this one does! They can thank my visiting them next time I am in Austin to your blog. Chuck from SA TX.

  61. Andrea says:

    I have always wanted to go–I tend to stay north as I’m out in the ‘burbs, where I’m rehabbing my lawn into a more native place.

  62. I’ve never been to The Great Outdoors. I need to check it out.

  63. Mary Beth says:

    The Great Outdoors is one of m favorite nurseries And even though I don’t live in (or near) Austin, they get their fair share of my gardening budget. My two favorite recent purchases are a pair of square pots fromVietnam and a gorgeous Silver Peso Mountain Laurel for my son-in-laws birthday.

  64. Marlene Hello says:

    What a beautiful nursery! This week’s weather is going to be perfect…would love to see this place, search for ideas, and discover new plants!

  65. Carole Bryan says:

    I am coming to Austin for Thanksgiving and would love to do some shopping for my daughter’s yard!

  66. Tamara says:

    Going tomorrow.

  67. Don in Waco says: