Tuesday, October 11, 2011

October is Support Your Independent Nursery Month

Pam Penick at Digging has declared it, and I concur -- October is Support Your Independent Nursery Month. And boy, do they need our support.

Dromgoole's Natural Gardener nursery
Orchard entrance at The Natural Gardener

Indie nurseries are hanging by a thread and some are closing up shop altogether, as the linked article describes (thanks to Diana at Sharing Nature's Garden for the link). Here are some of the reasons why we are at risk of losing our friendly local nurseries (or Independent Garden Centers, as they're known in the trade).
  • The stagnant economy. In a down economy, you might think that expenditures on do-it-yourself projects like gardening would rise. But with threats of a double-dip recession, inflation and a global economic crisis, consumer spending is down across the board.
  • Record unemployment. Job loss means budget cutbacks, even in two-income households, and niceties like gardening supplies are among the first to go.
  • The mortgage crisis. Many Americans have lost their homes and gardens. Those who are "under water" on their mortgages are naturally reluctant to sink more money into upgrades like landscaping.
  • People are driving less. Even if the car is paid for, gas, insurance, registration, and repairs are costly. Folks are parking (or selling) the car and getting around by bus, bike or scooter, or driving only when necessary. It's darn near impossible to haul home plants and garden soil without a car.
  • The weather has been terrible for gardening this year. More than 95% of Texas has been in an exceptional drought for months. Up north, gardeners are suffering from an exceptionally wet and rainy year, making the soil too wet to work and drowning plants.

Compost tea brewhouse at The Natural Gardener

So if you are one of the fortunate ones, like me, with a house and a job and a car and a garden, please join me in supporting our independent nurseries! I have a list of my favorites to the right, under the title "Where I Get Stuff." Some on the list are located out of town, but most are right here in Austin, including one of my favorites, The Natural Gardener, which I blogged about in a 2009 post. We just had 7 cubic yards of their fabulous Sylvan Formula Mulch delivered to our house, and Jack is in the process of laying it down around every tree and shrub in our garden. This nursery's a bit of a drive from my place in North Austin, but well worth it. For quick in-town nursery trips, I frequent Shoal Creek Nursery at Hancock near Mopac, and Sledd Nursery on West Lynn in the Clarksville district.

Check out my blogroll, too - every Wednesday in October, bloggers are posting about their favorite local nurseries. Be sure to visit Digging, where Pam got this ball rolling, before heading out to visit your favorite independent nursery (or to explore one you've never visited)!

Words and photos © 2009-2011 Caroline Homer for "The Shovel-Ready Garden". Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.


  1. I recently had a load of their Sylvan mulch delivered too, Caroline, and it is great stuff. Thanks for joining in on Suppport Your Independent Nursery Month.

  2. Yay for The Natural Gardener! It looks like a great place, and thanks for the article link Caroline. (I'm also really enjoying your TIL posts!)

  3. What a great idea...and one I'll have to participate in, for sure!

  4. Good reminder. The economy is hitting everyone hard, and it would be a shame to lose the nurseries that we love.

  5. Just went to the Natural Gardener for three pink Turk's caps, an esparanza, a larger pack of bluebonnet seed and some innoculent. I'd not visited all summer long. Now to find out if Barton Springs has agaritas...Laura

  6. Yes, nurseries evoking horticultural appropriateness and excellence are worth the drive! I rarely go to nurseries without such positives. Great logic you lay out in those factors affecting at least the good local nurseries...and nice to meet you last week!

  7. You really put it all in a nutshell, Caroline. Yes, our local nurseries need our support. I feel a shopping trip coming on, now that the temperatures have moderated, and it won't be to the mall.

  8. Caroline, my foreman loves the soil mixes from The Natural Gardener (he calls it, simply, "the good stuff"). I don't get down to TNG near enough, living way up north, but it's an awesome place!