Gardens in Austin going out of business

An Austin nursery landmark has succumbed to the ailing economy. Gardens — a boutique nursery, home-and-garden gift shop, and design firm located on 35th Street — announced a 40- to 70%-off sale yesterday. I heard about it on Twitter and then via a forwarded email from Gardens that cleverly announced they were “going dormant” due to the “chilly” economic climate.

Going dormant? Does that mean they are closing permanently?

Yes, they are shutting down the place. By the time I got over there today at midday, things were looking pretty picked over, although nursery staff told me they will still be receiving plants all week.

The beautiful building itself — galvanized siding and concrete on the outside, cheerful painted wood on the inside, with a whimsical, attention-grabbing chimney (see top photo) — is still owned by the founders and former owners of the nursery, plantsmen James David and Gary Peese, whose incredible garden I’ve posted about several times. I wonder what they’ll choose to do with it.

Gardens was often well beyond my budget, but I would splurge on a plant or pot now and then.

I regret Austin’s loss as yet another unique, inspiring garden shop closes its doors.

Goodbye, Gardens. It was a beautiful garden dream.

All material Ā© 2006-2010 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

23 Responses

  1. chuck b. says:

    A big box hardware store with a garden center is going to open right across the street from my local nursery that I rely on for mulch and many plant purchases. If they aren’t able to compete and go out of business I will be very sad.

  2. Jane says:

    It’s always sad when the “little guys” can’t make it, especially if they have good stock and great ideas. I commiserate with you in the loss of your nursery.

  3. Diana says:

    Yes, it’s sad to lose a unique local store. I’ve watched other small specialty shops close over the last few years, too. I am as guilty as the next person though, shopping everywhere, which takes away from those small places. I am also lamenting the loss of boutique scrapbook stores.

  4. Gail says:

    What a fantastic space~~and the plantings are marvelous. Wouldn’t it be a unique rental house! Are you not plotting to see how you can get that sphere into your garden! So sorry to hear that they’re closing~~We’ve lost two nurseries in the last year~Both had unique plants and garden items. gail

    I absolutely covet those stone spheres, Gail. Wish I could afford it, even on sale. —Pam

  5. It’s so sad to lose ANY independently owned business. They contribute so much to the character for our communities.

  6. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    It seems like those special shops that we all love so are the first to go.

  7. Jean says:

    Wow, how sad! I too, found it too expensive, but always inspiring.

  8. Caroline says:

    Can you believe I’ve never been? But I guess I have to go now, or never.

  9. Memories! I went there with Annie and MSS when I visited Austin for the 1st fling. It is (was) quite a place, unlike any garden center I’ve seen in Indianapolis.

  10. Randy says:

    Sad sad day to loose such a nice local nursery. We lost Reba and Roses Nursery a while back what a great place to visit and very close to us.

  11. Susie says:

    One of my favorite nurseries here also closed last fall. They had re-invented themselves with a wedding location in their beautiful back garden. The wedding business took off as the nurdery business was fading. So, thankfully they are still there…just not for us shoppers :(

  12. Germi says:

    NNNOOOOOOO!!! No FAIR at all, Pam! I firmly believe that nurseries and growers are the cornerstones of vibrant garden communities – they can go far to educate, inspire, and even entertain. How sad that such a beautiful place, with so much to offer, has to close. Damned economy! Enough already! Prosperity NOW!

  13. Frances says:

    So sad to lose this resource Pam, but with David and Peese owning the building, the style shines through! something good will surely take it’s place. Are they into restaurants?

    A lack of parking on a busy street would preclude that, Frances, although I suppose they could pave over the small nursery area in back. I expect that it’ll turn into an architect’s office, small retail shop, or something like that. —Pam

  14. Too bad and sad. So many businesses aren’t making it through these tough economic times.


  15. Layanee says:

    Another one bites the dust comes to mind. We have had several major garden center closings in my area over the past few years. It is a sign of the times.

  16. Did you find anything to purchase?

    Yes, I bought a few small plants. Alas, I couldn’t bring home that gigantic limestone sphere. —Pam

  17. So sad to hear about this, it certainly looks like a fabulous place! I worry about my local nurseries and in fact I need to ask my fellow Portlander Jane (2nd commenter) what she knows that I need to know!

  18. Duh, my error. It’s ChuckB that is loosing a nursery, not Jane. Sorry Chuck!

  19. Jenny says:

    Sorry to read this, although I am with you in that I found them rather expensive. They did have some unusual SA plants but many of them were certainly not hardy if you lived anywhere away form the city. Still, with so many people losing plants and needing to replace them, this spring may be brighter for the nursery business. I’m sure I will be doing the rounds.

  20. what a shame! Did you get your fencing material?

    Not from Gardens. I would be looking for an affordable source. ;-) —Pam

  21. Becky Lane says:

    So sad! Like you say, I could never afford to buy much there, but I would always stop in for merchandising inspiration, when I was still working at Buchanan’s in Houston.

  22. Kathleen says:

    That is such a bummer. I love visiting places like this ~ even if they are too expensive a lot of times they are very inspiring. It’s a loss all the way around.

  23. […] is a landscape architect and plantsman who founded the now-defunct Gardens and who chairs the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days program. His partner Gary is also his […]