For a nursery located within spitting distance of downtown, on South Congress Avenue, The Great Outdoors is surprisingly large, which befits a place featuring a nearly life-size topiary elephant as its mascot and another on its sign.
From the street you glimpse a colorful mural, a screen of ornamental grasses, cannas, Pride of Barbados…
…and a rainbow of flowering purslane.
The nursery is situated on a sloping, live oak-shaded property, with shady paths leading to well-marked plant sections.
The succulent and cactus area is always tempting.
Mmm, look at all that agave goodness.
They’re all so gorgeous.
This is one of my current faves: Agave americana mediopicta ‘Alba.’
Down the hill, a gift shop surprises with a green roof.
Smaller cacti and succulents are offered here.
A lot of these are tender in our climate, but they can be treated as annuals or brought inside for the winter.
Fun garden decor abounds.
Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth.
Tempting displays of glazed pots. I like the way they mix them up with plants, although these African iris are not too inspiring.
Some of the pots have been made into fountains.
Here’s a nice combo: white echinacea and silver artemesia. This would be perfect for a moonlight garden, and it’s visually cooling during the day.
Now this is inspirational: silvery plants (acacia, silver ponyfoot, gopher plant) paired with white pots.
The sun-loving perennials and butterfly-attracting plants occupy the main part of the nursery, with a vegetable section under the pergola.
My daughter found a few queen butterflies sucking the dregs on a Mexican flame vine.
Pots for those hot-hued plants
And when the August sun is trying to kill your gardening joy, it’s time to display your grim reaper garden art.
More pots—there’s a rainbow of choices.
These metal roosters would be the perfect decor for all those Austin hen houses, and they’re quiet too.
Zebra plant (Aphelandra squarrosa) in lemon-yellow pots
An eye-catching wall display near the checkout counter
The Great Outdoors carries a good selection of natives and well-adapted perennials, as well as clumping bamboo, semi-hardy Australian acacias, tropicals, and agaves and other succulents. The garden art is fun and mostly of the kitschy variety, and you can find lots of glazed pots and a few water features for sale. A cafe with a shady deck sits at street level and overlooks the nursery, providing a great spot to take a break and ponder your plant list, which you’re about to deviate from with some impulse buys. And who can blame you?
All material © 2006-2010 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.