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Annie in Austin
Welcome! As "Annie in Austin" I blog about gardening in Austin, TX with occasional looks back at our former gardens in Illinois. My husband Philo & I also make videos - some use garden images as background for my original songs, some capture Austin events & sometimes we share videos of birds in our garden. Come talk about gardens, movies, music, genealogy and Austin at the Transplantable Rose and listen to my original songs on YouTube. For an overview read Three Gardens, Twenty Years. Unless noted, these words and photos are my copyrighted work.
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Saturday, September 06, 2008

A Visit to Plantescapes Nursery with MSS

While MSS was touring a castle in Wales, I was happy to babysit a few of her potted plants back in Austin. Most of the plants did okay - one thyme plant didn't live.
I was also happy to bring the plants back to her - because we'd get to visit and continue our September tradition of hitting a few fun South Austin places. MSS declared we must eat dessert first, so we went to Buenos Aires Cafe for soup, empanadas and Quatro Leches. (yes Quatro!! Tres was not enough!) We stopped at the oft-mentioned Great Outdoors Nursery where we bought a few pots and seeds and also visited a nursery new to me -

Plantescapes Nursery is in a house on South First - and it feels a little like visiting the home of a plant obsessed friend, who welcomes you at the door,
and then lets you wander around looking at the cool garden decor both stunning

and whimsical
MSS and I moved through areas with cactus and succulents

and onto other plants. I'd been thinking about buying another Pineapple Guava for the secret garden. My friend Diane first introduced me to this evergreen shrub - hers bears fruit in mild years. At Plantescapes I found a nice group of Pineapple Guava to choose from and then in another area I found a starter plant of Spicy Jatropha/ Jatropha integerrima 'Compacta' and decided to try that, too. There were also unusual ginger-type plants as well as natives. Inside the house you'll find rooms with unusual and eclectic decorations and furniture. I'm glad MSS introduced me to this smaller local nursery and maybe you'd like it, too. For the dog lovers in town an added attraction will be the chance to make the acquaintance of Scrappy.


  1. I need to go to Austin some time. I'm so close but never have anytime or know of anywhere to go. This nursery seems like a wonderful place and I would like to get to try new different plants. I'm sick of seeing the same old same old down here everywhere I go.

  2. Thanks for telling us about PlantEscapes. It looks like an interesting place to visit the next time I'm in South Austin.

  3. The very next time I'm in south Austin, you and MSS must take me to this nursery. It looks like a fun place, and a good place to find a few unusual, perhaps long-sought after, plants.

    Thanks for the "travelogue", or should I say "gardenlogue"?

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  4. Hi Annie,

    Whimsy, containers and plants. Add dessert with a friend to the mix and you have the perfect day!


  5. Annie, I'm envious of your trip! I went out doing some local shopping on Labor Day and when I hit the S. First Stores - Plantscapes included - everything was closed. The owners obviously all needed a day off from laboring for themselves. I'll try again with Plantscapes, it definitely looks like my kind of place. I've heard several people talk about Pineapple Guava; perhaps I need one for myself?

  6. I can't believe you mentioned the thyme. People, Annie did NOT kill my thyme plant...it was close to death when she graciously agreed to look after it while I was on vacation.

    I'm glad you enjoyed PlantEscape Gardens. I'm glad I went with you too because it was fun listening to you talk with the owner. (She asked Annie all sorts of questions about her experience growing various plants in Austin--as she mentioned, information on growing plants doesn't often apply to growing plants in central Texas). Annie rattled off information like a garden encyclopedia.

    PS. You're new camera is great!

  7. Thanks for the review. I haven't been there yet. It was fun running into you yesterday!

  8. Hi Annie,
    I really enjoyed your story about visiting the plant store in South Austin. It's amazing to me how much fun stuff is available just a short distance away.
    I remember you were a big help to me by identifying a plant that I had posted on My Photographic Memories, and I would like your help with a flower on my newest post. It's the wispy white one in the Monahans Sandhills State Park post.
    Thanks in advance.
    Best regards,
    Mike Z

  9. Wow, that looks like a cool place! I wish we had a couple of "escapes" like that here in Cleveland...

  10. The only thing better than plant shopping is plant shopping with a good garden buddy, who knows when you need something.

  11. I'm adding PlantEscape to my wanna visit list for my next trip to Austin. I did some nursery hopping down in the Heights (near downtown Houston) on Friday and it was funny how many of the same people I saw at each nursery I visited. I also ran into some friends from out here in Katy at one nursery. I think everyone was energized by the cooler, drier air!

  12. Seeing the new nursery gives me the urge to get out and look for something new for our garden. The only bad thing is that we are still way too dry here to even dig in the garden. I must wait.

  13. This looks like such a fun place to visit, Annie! I'm always looking for a new nursery or garden center to visit, although I think Austin is a little too far for a day trip for me:) And going with a friend makes the day that much better!

  14. What a neat place, it's just loaded with character. Which, I guess, is nothing unusual for Austin. I can just imagine you & MSS having a great time looking at the cacti & MSS joking about how that's about all she's willing to grow now.

  15. Hi Annie, such a fun day, friends and plants, even a cute doggie. That looks like a very personal shop. I'm glad MSS set us straight about the thyme and your chat with the owner, wish I could have been there too, but hearing you tell the tale, with excerpts from MSS was the next best thing.

  16. I've just been making myself ravenously hungry reading the menu at Buenos Aires Cafe. Dulce de Leche liquer? I had no idea - I gotta get out more. Oh, and the plant shopping sounded fun too.

  17. Plantescapes nursery appears very intriguing. The collection of cacti and succulents is awesome and for me scrappy definitely is a big attraction; he looks so cute lost in thought.

  18. Ahhh, a great ending to a nice story. Now I must ask, is Scrappy scrappy?

  19. Now there's an idea. Plant sitting! I haven't been to Plantscapes and I haven't been to The Great Outdoors for Ages. I'm putting that on my list of things to do when D goes off fly fishing next week.

  20. Hi Vanillalotus - you have an amazing assortment on your balcony but we always want more, don't we? I'd love to go the other direction and visit a San Antonio nursery ;-]

    MSS had been there already Pam from Digging and she knows a new nursery is a treat.

    Oooh, Carol - from your mouth to God's ears...you coming back to nursery hop would be a wonderful event!

    It was pretty perfect, Gail - even the driving wasn't too bad.

    Hi Grounded Robin -it's a small neighborhood store - I liked the atmosphere. Pineapple guava is more of a novelty than a staple, but if you can use an interesting small evergreen look into it.

    Maybe the thyme drowned, since the only rain all summer fell when you were gone, MSS of Zanthan! My mental encyclopedia has a few volumes missing, but I love plant-talk.

    It was fun to see you at the Natural Gardener, Vert. It's too hot to work much, but it's a great time for gathering supplies, seeds and plants!

    Here's a cross-post of my reply on your blog Michael:
    I saw your post the other day and looked through a few wildflower books with no luck. I poked around some native plant websites
    yesterday and two more wildflower books today.
    A few photos of flowers in the genuses Malacothrix, Calycolseris, Rafinesquia, and Chenactis bear a resemblance but none seems just right.
    Desert-type plants aren't anything I know firsthand - just from books. Maybe someone out there will have the answer!

    It's not a large nursery, Blackswamp Kim, but the owners managed to fit in a lot of intriguing plants and decor. Maybe it's time to start a Blackswamp Boutique?

    When it comes to nursery-shopping enablers, Kathy, MSS is tops ;-]

    Cooler and dryer hasn't happened yet, Cindy of Katy, but having the angle of the sun change somehow convinces us that we've made it through summer.

    It's dry here, too, Greenbow Lisa - the plants are still in pots, waiting for a break.

    You could get here in a day if you could score airline tickets, Prairie Rose - but getting the plants back to Illinois might be difficult nowadays.

    South Austin is loaded with character, Mr McGregor's Daughter, and with characters, too! I took a photo of MSS in that cactus room, but she ducked behind them.

    Frances, personal is the right word. We both liked it's shadiness when walking around, too!

    As soon as Philo read this post he went to the restaurant site, too, Entangled, and declared his intention of checking out the menu personally.

    Those plants were well represented, Green Thumb! That dog could tell we were harmless and was very laid-back after the initial checking-out!

    Mary, the dog barked when we entered the parking lot to announce approaching visitors, but was fine once the owner greeted us.

    Thanks for the comments!


  21. Scrappy looks like a sweetheart! This is a really neat and tidy plant shop and I love the mushrooms. MSS, thanks for setting us straight with the thyme as Annie is a good plant person. But in my book, anyone who can keep any of my plants alive is a winner all the way around so Annie you did a great job!

  22. Hi Annie! Scrappy doesn't look very scrappy!

    Platescapes looks like a great nursery. What a nice way to spend a day with a gardening friend. I like MSS' dessert-first strategy!

  23. Hi Annie! I have missed you lately. It is hard to keep thyme (sp) alive, isn't it? Here one minute and gone the next. I hope I can find a gardening friend who enjoys excursions like you do with MSS.

  24. Dee/reddirtramblingsFri Sep 12, 07:01:00 AM 2008

    Annie, I wanna come. Next time then. Glad you two had fun.~~Dee

  25. Annie: I am glad to hear that you both have your priorities straight! Dessert first! Who can shop on an empty stomach? That looks like a fun place to visit with their interesting groupings of products. Love the dog. He looks content. I am thinking of all of you Texans with that coming storm. Batten down the hatches.

  26. Hello Lancashire Rose - plant-sitting would be easier if any of us lived close to each other, wouldn't it. I hope you find something fun at the nurseries!

    I think Scrappy had asweet face, Tina - and was glad only one plant was lost.

    Scrappy might not look so friendly to a burglar, but was okay with us, GardenGirl - dessert first is a time-tested theory.

    Hi Walk2Write- the only place I can get thyme to grow is in our hypertufa troughs...guess I should have warned MSS about that!

    I'm glad to hear that, Dee of Red Dirt, because I want to think there will be a next time ;-]

    They have great coffee, too, Layanee, so I was awake for shopping!
    We're only supposed to get some wind and maybe a little rain here in Austin, but the images on television look grim for the coast ...the mind boggles at a storm that's the size of Texas. Thanks for the good thoughts ...there are a lot of people on my mind, too.

    Thank you for the comments,


  27. How nice of you to plant sit~and then to get a special outing included is wonderful! That nursery looks like lots of fun~so many tempting things!


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