Monday, November 24, 2008

Nursery Hopping Friday...

Last Friday my friend "Horselips" and I hit a few 'off the beaten path' nurseries in Austin and have decided to keep this up as long as our interest holds. We met at my place and then headed up north to "Garden of the Ancients." I love this place and had only been once before...they specialize in rare plants that have medicinal uses as they have a store selling herbal products of every kind...bath salts, lotions, salves, lip balm etc

4800 Yeager Lane just off Parmer near the Samsung Plant
When you get there you're not sure what to do because the land is sprawling with several out buildings and lots of beds. We headed down into a small valley in the direction of several large greenhouses.

This is one half of the first greenhouse...well organized by size, not a price tag on anything...just name tags. The other side of the room had a variety of gorgeous cacti, many in bloom.
The color was magical!
No name on this one but it's little cap felt as furry as it looked!
Then we wondered into another equally large greenhouse filled with even more aloe, agave, desert rose etc.
This is one of the biggest selections I've seen...I forgot to mention that what I was looking for was an Ocotillo. We drove through Joshua Tree this summer and I've been dreaming of them ever since...
These beautiful pods were just laying about on a bench and with more investigation we found a giant Morning Glory that had similar but green pods.

Here's the Morning Glory climbing the walls, planted directly in the ground.
Amaranth in the sun! I have a shawl this color. When I pulled my hand across the furry surface dozens of pin-head sized seeds tumbled into my hand.
There were several stands of it, taller than 5ft.
We saw only one other person...the owner's son and he was very knowledgeable and helpful. If you're looking for some rare finds...or a bit of an adventure, check it out.
"Horselips" was always, so he suggested this East Austin Venue..."Juan in a Million" he said it was a great place to treat a hangover...which I didn't have but I'm always game for a family owned restaurant. The food was a bit peppery and they didn't have frozen Marg's so I opted for a Bloody Mary, ignoring the waitresses look. When I order a Bloody Mary I should just ask "how many veggie's do you put in it" because in my opinion the Bloody Mary is an excuse to have a small salad with a splash of Vodka. This disappointing beverage showed up in a pint glass sans greenery... plain tomato juice and vodka...worst BM pun intended. I gussied it up with some of the salsa and pepper but left feeling Juan was less than one in a million.
We had a good time anyway!
Such a good time in fact that I took this picture of dessert in the parking lot. You can't go wrong with butter, condensed milk, brown sugar and pecans.
Next stop was Natural Gardener...not so unusual but just a really great place.
So many colors...choices...
I love the baby plants!
I thought I'd play with my camera bit. I'm no photographer and I'm out of touch with technology, according to anyone who knows tech-speak but I am making an effort to broaden my repertoire beyond...composition, composition, composition. So, above is the standard BS, or on my camera Best Shot.
This is the same shot (almost) using the candlelight feature...night-time B movie! OOHHHH!
This image seems stolen from my fantasy know, the one you wish you had...
I'm not sure the running water feature on my camera does anything...I tried it in several places and can't tell the difference! I have a resting Quan-Yin in my adult fantasy garden though!
Fun...I'd have liked it more had the rakes been used prior.
Greeeeeens to die for!
Another Amaranth variety, note to self...Plant Amaranth for Autumn Bling!
One of the best signs ever is posted outside of the burro's home... it reads:
"Unattended children will be given Espresso and a free kitten."
I'm just in love with these natural-scapes. They seem to be popping up all over and I couldn't be more pleased. I'm not a fan of the plastic yard look and I bet it looks inviting year round! It's a new installment so I'm going to try to keep up with it's changing faces.
Check out that iris! If you haven't been here you just have to bring the kids, keep 'em with you but take the time to enjoy the animals!
Bare root fruit trees should be available next month! Isn't this spectacular?
I took this picture because I love corrugated tin and other industrial materials. Even though it's just a simple shed, the shelves and colorful pots really make it look festive.
By mid-afternoon this place was pretty muggy. I guess they turn the swamp cooler off come Autumn...
Just some of the succulents in a nice stair step display.
Now this is something I didn't think I'd see again. This is a Quiver tree from Namibia. My brother was stationed in Namibia with the Peace Corps and my husband and I went over for a trip over seven years ago. This is not a beautiful specimen but the price tag read $599.00
I was in shock! the Quiver tree forest is in the Southern part of the country and runs along the South African boarder. It's an absolutely amazing sight at sunset. The first one of these trees I saw was my height exactly and I got the feeling it was endowed with some kind of magical it was human. I know it sounds strange but it's not the vodka talking! It's bark is smoothe and you just want to hug it!
"Horselips" get outta my frame!
Just another beautiful site...where do they get all that rock?
More Amaranth....
It really does make a statement.
Now here's the part I'd never seen before. On the other side of the parkinglot there is a small grotto with our Lady of Guadalupe among prickly pear...
The sign reads: Life's a Journey. Enjoy it. It leads you into an open space with a maze.
The coral bean stood on the far side reaching 8-9 feet high.
So simple...if I only had this kind of space to play!
Our last stop was the "Living Desert Cactus Nursery" a little dive off 71 and Bee Caves. I'd seen this place before but didn't think much of it. After I'd spent the better part of an afternoon looking for Ocotillo, this place kept coming we took the trek.
I snapped this shot before I read the "no photography" sign...ooops. They are moving it was tooo cool!
I didn't see a sign directing me to put my camera away outside so I felt pretty safe. Check out the glass!
The couple inside were making artwork from the glass and twisted wire. The sculpture littered the landscape and so did cactus, found object art and lots of Anacacho Orchids in need of water.
At the bottom of the property was a greenhouse...just a small one, but it was filled with beautiful blooming cactus of every was a living desert!
This shot is from the back looking toward the door.
And this is the view when you walk in.
The bougenvilla was crouching beneith the roof...
The the poor girl had busted through her pot in search of nutrients...obviously she'd found some!
Such a pretty face. The day was great! Austin has so many cool nurseries that are well worth the trip. We didn't find Ocotillo and I'm going to have to extend my search to San Antonio...I hear there's a place that always keeps them in stock...Paul's Desert? Never heard of it but I may have to make a trip down I35 and check it out! "Horselips" and I plan on doing this weekly, occasionally we bring our friend G.I. Terry and you can check out their version of the day on their blogs..."Horselips Horse Sense" and "Green Iris." Well, if they get on it!
Happy Gardening!


Horselip's Horse Sense said...

Your camera takes such great photos! I'm jealous. I haven't posted mine yet and now I'm almost embarrassed to. Great dialogue too.

Ferne Dalton, Thompson River, Kamloops said...

You have a nice writing style, making this a fun place to browse and see things through your eyes.

Never been to Texas but might get there yet.
Ferne, Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada (semi desert Zone 5)

ConsciousGardener said...

Thanks Randy and Ferne...Ferne, I can't see your have to select open for folks to view! Come to Texas, I used to live in Alaska and I just can't imagine not living outside in the fall, winter, spring...we try to avoid going out much after noon in the summer! Too hot!

Libby at Aurora Primavera said...

Wow. What a post! What were you on, 10,000 Red Bulls? Pictures were great. I'm headed to Port A for Thanksgiving; I always stop at the little nurseries en route and I will keep an eye out for ocotillo. Next time you go on a nursery crawl, take me with you!

ConsciousGardener said...

Is it easy for you to take off Friday's? We'd love to have you along! Have fun at Port A. I'll be here slaving away for that one hour of oral bliss:)

Happy Turkey Day:)

Bob said...

I hadn't thought of the Living Desert in a long time. I've got to get back out there. It's a cool place to go to. He showed me a picture of Sam Elliot and his wife loading up a bunch of cactus in their car to take home. Glad you reminde me. If you get up to Georgetown check out McIntyres nursery and Forever Gardens.

ConsciousGardener said...

You'd better hurry Bob because they are moving soon! Thanks for the advice...I'm sure we'll make it to GeorgeTown eventually...

Lori said...

It looks like you were wandering around parts of The Natural Gardener I don't usually visit. Which reminds me that I really need to give myself enough time to walk around there the next time I go-- I usually cut it kind of close since they close so early and I usually have to spend 40 minutes shoveling dirt into bags. :)

You might want to look for ocotillo at Spicewood Spines. I was there a week and a half ago and I think they might have had one. They're 24 miles down the Y on 71. Or you can call them. Their number's on their website:

ConsciousGardener said...

Thanks Lori! I'll check it out. I went ahead with my plan substituting other plants on the new Grow Green list and will post next week about the final project. Now I'm in search for the ocotillo for myself!

Bob said...

When you find your Ocatillo be prepared to pay big for it. They are quite expensive. If you know anyone who visits relatives or hunts in west Texas have them dig you one up. I got all three of mine that way. The ranchers out there don't mind at all.

Annie in Austin said...

You took us to some new places and the familiar place are fun to see through someone else's lens, Conscious Gardener.

Were those persimmons hanging all orange and gorgeous on that tree?

Good luck on your quest for an ocatillo and a better Bloody Mary!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Anonymous said...

Oh, you have got to go to Spicewood Spines Succulent Nursery. They have more wild and unusual succulents than I have seen anywhere around Austin. They are just west of Bee Cave on Hwy. 71. They also have an art gallery with lots of cool local art, pottery, and other gift-type stuff. Really cool place to go! Check them out on line -

Susan loves succulents said...

I have never been to Gardens of the Ancients - thanks for telling us about it!
I have been Spicewood Spines. They are a specialty nursery carrying only cacti and succulents, but they have a lot. Everything is so clean and healthy. It is an interesting place to visit and a must for succulent collectors - right on the way to Krause Springs.

ConsciousGardener said...

Thanks for the tip...I'm going to check out Spicewood Spines...never heard of it!