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Birds, Wildlife and Gardening

Fun stuff at Austin nurseries this spring

June 03, 2021

In my mad rush from nursery to nursery this spring, buying plants to fill holes left by the snowpocalypse, I’ve spotted a lot of funny and eye-catching decor. Let me share some of it with you!

Humor at Barton Springs Nursery

At Barton Springs Nursery, the bed-headed mannequin (last seen in the restroom’s bathtub) was perched one day atop a tall stool, a surprise for the unwary along a woodsy path. Hello there! Wearing her usual “All I Need Is More Plants” tee, she cradled a crate of plants and looked as if she might leap down to find more.

In the gift shop, which BSN recently redesigned — go see it! — a faded portrait on the wall causes double-takes thanks to faux succulents sprouting from the couple’s faces.

Kicking it at East Austin Succulents

A chorus line of metal frogs perched among frilly euphorbias caught my eye at always-hopping East Austin Succulents. Are they holding out tin cups for tips or sipping an ice-cold beverage?

Festive decor at Garden Seventeen

New nursery Garden Seventeen looks more enticing than ever with colorful umbrellas and lights, plant murals…

…and plants, plants, plants.

Seriously, it’s like a jungle in their expansive gift shop.

Even the restroom has a jungly vibe!

Outside in the plant yard, I was smitten with these giant metal orbs. Wouldn’t a couple of them in different sizes look amazing in a meadowy sedge lawn? Or on a gravel patio with potted plants? I lusted but left them for someone else.

Magical creature by Ion Art

I have to share this too, although it’s not at a nursery.

Deer may be thick in my northwest Austin neighborhood. But they’re super tall at Arbor Walk shopping center. At the southern end of the retail center’s parking lot, a giant metal deer with flowers tangled in its antlers and twining up a hind leg stands watch, like something out of a Miyazaki film.

It’s called Deer in the Vines, a sculpture by Ion Art, which also made the ATX sign at Whole Foods downtown, Kendra Scott’s storefronts, and the jackalope on North Lamar, along with many other iconic pieces. I love the deer, although it’s perched on a skinny berm in a big parking lot, which diminishes its impact, swallowed up as it is by the surrounding asphalt. But still, it’s a whimsical vision of the natural world, and I’m glad for it and many other public artworks popping up around town.

If you like seeing public art too, check out my posts about works I’ve seen in Austin and beyond. And if you know of any good ones I should go see in the Austin area, please let me know!

And to find all the cool Austin nurseries, just click for my nursery write-ups.

I welcome your comments; please scroll to the end of this post to leave one. If you’re reading this in a subscription email, click here to visit Digging and find the comment box at the end of each post.


Digging Deeper: News and Upcoming Events

It’s pond tour time! Grab your sun hat and attend Austin’s 26th annual Pond and Garden Tour on June 5 and 6. Sponsored by the Austin Pond Society, the tour includes 13 ponds over two days, with admission of $20 in advance (until 5/31) and $25 on the day of (online payments only; no cash).

Want to learn how to grow vegetables in Central Texas? Attend a free webinar on June 15 hosted by the Travis County Master Gardeners Assoc. My friend Sheryl Williams is teaching it, and she says “We’ll cover the whole process from planning to harvesting, with plenty of war stories from my own garden.” Sign up here.

Join the mailing list for Garden Spark! Hungry to learn about garden design from the experts? I’m hosting a series of talks by inspiring garden designers, landscape architects, and authors a few times a year in Austin. Talks will resume this fall. These are limited-attendance events that sell out quickly, so join the Garden Spark email list to be notified in advance. Simply click this link and ask to be added.

All material © 2021 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

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