Saturday, January 31, 2009

Nursery Crawl (plus some other stuff) #5

Randy and I are both from Kansas, I was born in Lawrence...Randy was raised in...I can't remember the name! Some little town Cold____something outside of Dodge City, which I visited as a kid and my only memory was that it was way out in the middle of nowhere, Randy's home town was like 450 people or some such thing...unimaginable! When I was a freshman in high school my parents moved up to Kenai, Alaska...the population at that time was around 4000 and that was the smallest place I can remember living. What does all this have to do with our crawl? Well, tons. We needed to get out of town, see something else...some relief in the land, we live in the center of town and shamefully rarely make it into the hills. Anyway, this crawl took us out and it reminded us why we live in Austin, Texas... and love it.

This is the sign you see from the highway, 290 that is...heading west out of town toward our minuscule destination. This is a great little nursery if you've never been. It looks tiny from the access road but once you drive in you can see the sprawling grounds

These two little guard dogs hang out around the main building and are very friendly the white one is named "Smigle" you have to love that...well, if you're a "Ring" fan. The manager Jeff took the time to walk us around and explain what he loves about his place.
Emerald Garden used to be at the "Y" at Oak Hill but has been at this newer location for 7 years. They've got a nice selection of natives and they carry large trees and shrubs, catering to the Landscaper.
Everything was healthy and I ended up getting a Cassia and some Blue Fescue for my mound planting. I'm in search of a Fuyu Persimmon...arriving next week!

This is the biggest Pony-tail palm I've ever seen! There were blossoms and fruiting lemon, lime and Satsuma orange trees at the entrance making this the most pleasant smelling greenhouse! It was like a spa! They have a special right now...buy one get one free Pansies!

They specialize in water gardens, meaning everything you need..pumps, liners, skimmers and every time we've been out there, new shapes and sounds...plus rock! It's a one-stop pond set up, a bit pricey but if that's not a problem for you, have fun!
It's not the season but inside these wells were dormant pond plants of everykind sleeping among some sluggish mosquito fish...yes, they carry fish!
If you're looking for a variety of Japanese Maple, they've got it...in virtually any size. They also carry giant bamboo's, succulents and grasses. I've been out there 3 times this spring and each time something different is on sale and the inventory seems healthily rotated.
This is the pond in the back. Check out their Website:
http://www.emerald-garden.com/
They boast that they are the most unique Garden Center in Austin and I think you can see that they are pretty diverse. They claim to have a weekly seminar from 12-12:30 followed by a band performance, but I couldn't find out what day?
This was the first time I'd been let into the fish room! I didn't even know it existed. They are a little low right now but they're expecting some new arrivals soon.
Clean and happy fish! Boy are they hard to photograph!
It was a lovely drive through the hills and we were plenty hungry by the time we reached our lunch spot. According to the locals, this is the only Mexican Restaurant in Johnson City. The mural outside was promising...the menu should have given us a clue, well, Randy got it...I don't get out of town too often. No Vegetarian dishes! No Beer/Wine/Margaritas to wash down the greasy goodness, and what is this? a fish plate? I asked if I could get fish taco's and got a flat no. The fish plate came with fries. Randy reminded me that small town restaurants cater to the local population, if I had to live there, I'd need an IV of Margarita's and that wasn't on the menu.
I was forced to have the cheese enchilada plate...not pictured. Instead here is Randy, himself...when I said "I got to get a picture of this!" Everyone was ordering a plate of guacamole...how could we go wrong? Turns out we should have just had this, it was the best thing we got. I hate to say it, but I'm giving this place a thumbs down. My meal was maybe, two steps above my high school cafeteria fare...in Alaska for Pete's sake. Randy, aka "gut's-0-steel" thought it wasn't that bad...go figure.
Our next stop for some great yard art is former Austin Resident, Kathy Johnson. She had a great little place in Austin for 10 years and moved out to Johnson City a few years back. She's got lots of space and is available by appointment.
pieces-of-the-past.com
Located at 104 HWY 281S @ Hwy 290 W
We arrived just as they were unloading from a trip up north to our home state of Kansas!

Kathy travels all over in search of rare objects, collectibles, yard art, furniture...anything you could want, really. The prices are all over the place, meaning...there's something for everyone. She's a down to earth former school teacher and a fair trader.
She's got a great eye for architectural pieces but specializes in handcrafted antique doors...if you can't find one in Austin, try her...she had a huge inventory!
Here's Kathy inside her cram-packed store!
We were there for a long time, there was just so much to see both outside and in.

Here's the back room with ceramic pieces, hardware, windows and in the corner a rod-iron base for a bottle tree! I want one of those!
By this time the grease in my stomach was beginning to solidify and I needed some agave juice fast to help digest! Apparently the "Cupboard" is the only place in town with a liquor license...
We got a peculiar look when we asked for a frozen Margarita and they had to get the owner to teach the staff how to make one...old school, using a blender. It looked great, but... we'd watched it being made...

Here we are before we tried it.

Now, my personal friends probably think I'm a liquid-snob. I like organic dark brewed coffee, black. My husband brews our own beer and when it comes to a Margarita...here's my recipe:
In a blender:
1 can Minute Maid Limeade
1 1/3 cup as close to top shelf Tequila as you can afford...I like Silver Patron:)
1/3 cup Cointreau
Fill with Ice, blend until extra smooth!
My dear Uncle Frank, bless his soul, got me this great set of Margarita glasses with the passed out countryman-donning a sombrero at the base of a Saguaro cactus-stem which I always dip in my rock salt that we order from either France or Hawaii...why? It's the real stuff!
I don't care if that's over the top! One pitcher and your stomach will be sore the next day from belly-laughter and you won't have a hangover! My advice in Johnson City is...wait 'til you get to Austin to have Mexican food and a Margarita! Now, I have to give a shout out to the wonderful staff at the Cupboard because they were top-notch Southern-style friendly, and they tried to doctor up our drinks by adding another shot of to-kill-ya, which Randy drank up and I left on the table. The full bar was all bottom-shelf, except the micro-brews from Blanco. Have a Real Ale, it's the bomb! My favorite is Fireman's 4, and if you like it, hit the Austin Home Brew Store for a mock recipe...we make it a few times a year...it's that good. Apparently Hill Country Cupboard was recently written up as one of the best hole in wall's in Texas...they don't have the smoking ordinance that we enjoy in Austin, but the place has great 1950's ranch-style charm, an old school jukebox and is hopping on the weekends.
Here's my truck loaded down with 100 cedar poles and the Chicken sculpture I got at Kathy's place. That dang Randy waltzed out with a killer deal on a Turkish mold of some sort! Dagnabbit!
I'm not complaining though, I love my yard-art...it made the culinary torture worth the trip!
I got the cedar from a place called Haynes Cedar Company, which doesn't even have a building but is a chunk of land that resembled a graveyard of trees...I got some nice shots of the place but it made me a little uncomfortable. I don't suffer from Cedar allergies and I know that removing the male trees is a good idea...according to forestry-men and the BLM but it still made me feel sad. I'm currently reading through Carlos Castaneda's 3rd book "Journey to Ixtlan," and Don Juan instructs his apprentice to be kind to plants and to thank them when you borrow from them, reminding them that our bodies will one day serve as food for their children. The poetic beauty and justice of this statement has permeated my gardening since. The product is top notch and affordable, enough said.
Loaded down, we headed home. This little place was just outside of town on the East side of 290. Artisn Bakery plus plants? Great idea! Too bad they close so early! We just missed them by 15 minutes and they were kind enough to let us wonder around, but no "cuppa-jo."
They had natives, veggies and a few chachkies. The prices were very reasonable!
Randy was kind enough to help me unload my bird...
And we put her just outside the hen-house. That's it for this week, day-trippers and garden dreamers. I'm going to need a few more loads of cedar and am looking for something closer to home, I'll have to say that the trip was well worth it though! I named my sculpture Esperanza in hopes that she'll inspire my girls to lay, lay, lay!
Happy Gardening!


4 comments:

Sunita said...

What a day! I would kill to be able to take off like that and just hunt around for things I like.
By the way, Esperanza looks as if she fits right in! ;)

Horselip's Horse Sense said...

Great post, Ladybug. I've got blog envy. I'm going to get to my blog soon. Right now I have aching muscles from using the tiller all day.

ConsciousGardener said...

You have to fill in the blanks Horselips...the other side of the story:)

Lori said...

Man, I had some awful Mexican recently, too-- it's the place two doors down from Red's on 290, and they didn't have margaritas. It's a good thing the new Chuy's opened so close to me, b/c now I have a place to go for mango margaritas where I know they'll be awesome.

Also awesome? Your new chicken yard art right next to the chicken coop. It makes me grin.