It's Texas Native Plant Week and my posts this week will reflect that theme. First up is a visit to Madrone Nursery which doesn't just specialize in Texas native plants--it's the only kind of plant they grow.
Madrone Nursery is located in San Marcos an hour's drive northeast of San Antonio and half way to Austin. Founded by native plant expert Dan Hosage, it is open by appointment only.
Last March I joined a field trip with friends to Madrone Nursery and enjoyed a day of shopping for native plants. The Texas Bluebonnets were just beginning to bloom around the sign along the road when we arrived.
Down the long gravel driveway lined with native Texas Hill Country vegetation to the nursery site.
Dan (on the right) spent a couple of hours showing us around and sharing his extensive knowledge of native plants. Linda (in pink jacket) was prepared with her list for a project.
Here's just a bit of Dan's bio from the website:
Dan Hosage, Jr. is a nationally known naturalist, botanist and Texas historian. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in natural sciences from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia and completed graduate work in phytochemistry at the University of Texas at Austin.
Since 1986, Mr.Hosage has been the proprietor of Madrone Nursery where he operates a plant tissue culture laboratory and container grows over 300 species of Texas natives.
Dan has been a featured guest on PBS programs including "Central Texas Gardener", "The Victory Garden" and in the pages of "Texas Monthly" and "American Nurseryman" magazines.
One look at his impressive client list shows the importance of Dan's work in collecting and preserving Texas native plants. All plants he sells are grown from responsibly collected seeds or tissue culture and never dug in the wild. It's easy to see why he's provided more than a million plants to native landscape reclamation projects and customers around the country in 25 years of work.
So let's get shopping. Never one to pass up a Nolina I headed to that section first and added a small Nolina 'La Siberica' to my collection.
More shopping for Linda and Dan is helping Melody and Jeannette in the background.
The huge muhly section kept my attention for quite some time. I mentioned I needed to fill in a few gaps in my collection and Dan pointed out that there are several thousand varieties of native muhlenbergia if I want to collect them all! Maybe I'll scale that back a bit. Dan also shared stories of native plant fans who, similar to birdwatchers, will drive for hours just to view a rare plant in its native habitat.
A greenhouse to coddle seedlings of perennials in what was an unusually cold spring.
We spotted a Scarlet Buckeye in bloom.
The blooms were just beginning to open.
Of course I had to have one
An unusual silvery blue Yucca rupicola was added to the nolina.
I broke away from plant shopping for a few moments to follow the peacocks around. Dan told us the flock of peacocks and peahens just walked in along the road one day and stayed.
While there are no demonstration gardens as you would find in a retail nursery these natural scenes around the property are good examples of how the area looked before development took over.
The bright red fruits of the Christmas Cholla stood out against the background of tawny grasses.
Since Madrone Nursery is open by appointment only I'd recommend going with a group if possible. We plan another trip in the near future to add more plants to our growing collection of Texas native plants. It was worth the drive to talk with someone so passionate about Texas native plants as well as to obtain plants that aren't typically available at our retail nurseries.
I highly recommend Tina's excellent tribute to Texas Native Plant Week on her blog "My Gardener Says...".