Monday, April 8, 2013

The Natural Gardener Austin, TX

We didn't take a single plant with us from Golden Hill when we moved to Texas. Letting go of over 150 potted plants was such a difficult experience and up until a few days before we moved I actually thought I was going to be able to take a couple with us. Reality hit when we couldn't even fit our patio set, refrigerator or last remaining bookshelf into our moving container. No plants for us, we are going to have to start completely from scratch. 
Gidget asks, "Are you sure you know what you're doing?"

Gidget and I especially have been missing dirt and plants so when I happened to be searching through the radio dial one Saturday morning and came across a talk show about local organic gardening, I was overjoyed. If we can't have our own plants right now then we can start to learn about the local problems and successes of our new zone from The Natural Gardener. Listening to John Dromgoole help people with organic solutions to their gardening challenges made me feel like I was back in San Diego at City Farmers Nursery with Bill Tall, my dad away from dad.  

Naturally, I went to see The Natural Gardener nursery at my first opportunity and I was blown away.  If you live in the Austin area and have not been to visit, I highly recommend it, even if you aren't a gardener you will enjoy this little piece of heaven.  

  • Monday - Wednesday 8 am to 6 pm 
  • Thursday 8 am to 7 pm 
  • Friday and Saturday 8 am to 6 pm 
  • Sunday 10 am to 5:30 pm
  • 8648 Old Bee Caves Rd. Austin, TX 78735

Site map
The 8 acre nursery is so large that it helps to consult the map to get around. It was very cold the morning I was there so I only stayed about an hour but I could have easily spent half a day wandering around. One of the first things that caught my eye was all of the beautiful pottery in every shape and color you can imagine.

I picked up a few small pots that claim to be frost resistant.
I went on a Thursday morning and it was very busy. I did not get a chance to meet John himself but the entire staff was super friendly and they seemed to be very knowledgeable. Since my current garden consists of a small balcony with 4 geraniums (that I bought this day from the Natural Gardener) I didn't really have any major questions. I just enjoyed walking around and looking at everything. Next time I will try going on a Monday or Tuesday to see if it's less crowded.
There were many beautiful little gardens like this with native plants and seasonal  color
The variety of gorgeous plants both edible and not was incredible.
This is a red passion vine
I was almost completely overwhelmed and I was wishing I had a scarf and gloves.

I was so happy to see pink jasmine!

So many beautiful plants and I currently have such a tiny balcony
Lots of fruit trees

I cannot express how excited I am about blackberries and all other berries. They aren't easy in San Diego.
This is a magical place to spend some time and it gave me so many ideas about how to set up my own property in the future. 

This is one side of the Microbe brewery. I just love it. I want to sit and read a book. 

There is a beautiful fountain that doesn't look impossible to recreate in my own space.
I don't know if the whole place is a certified wildlife habitat or just this section.
Their vegetable garden was so much fun. It's different than what you would see in San Diego this time of year so it helped me get a better understanding of how the seasons work around here. I've found the "season" is always subjective, it's not like you can set a calendar for the best time to plant. In San Diego I was just starting to develop a helpful instinct about what the weather might do. We're starting all over on that instinct now. It's very different here. 
Gidget reminds me that it rains a lot more, thunders and even hails frozen golf balls here. It's not like that in San Diego. 
They have a mix of raised beds, things going in the ground and some potted plants. 
Corn is already going and it looks like it survived the recent cold.  My mouth waters for corn from the garden.  
Their raised beds are 6 inches. I need to not squat so much so the ones I build will be taller.  
I believe the immediate left was rosemary. The right is oregano! I never made an oregano this big or even close. Wow. 
I love my worms but I will need to learn about composting on a larger scale soon. Looks like I am at the right place.

The animals were my favorite. We can't wait to add hens, a carefully chosen rooster and a couple of dairy goats to our family.

Locking horns

Kidding around

An excellent display of balance.

I would name him Handsome the Horny Goat. But he probably has a great name already. 

Wouldn't give me the time of day.
I'm a complete garden nerd and willing to admit it. If you are too, and if I haven't convinced you to check this place out yet, then you have to visit because there is an entire building dedicated to the Microbe Brewery. There's a polite sign that says employees only but I'm hoping there are exceptions to that rule because I am really excited about learning what is happening in there.
The Microbe Brewery


  1. oh my word what a beautiful place! I'm so glad you've found a new place to learn and loove in your new place!

  2. This is paradise! I could spend a whole day...or more than a whole day...just wandering around and looking at everything. I'm SO glad that you found this incredible nursery! It won't be long now until Gidget's Garden is growing and flourishing and is more beautiful than ever!

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