Sunday, October 20, 2013

Medina Garden Nursery for Texas Native Plant Week

During the month of October I'm joining Pam at Digging for Support Your Independent Nursery Month. Independent nurseries are the best resource for plants which work well in our climate.  It's also Texas Native Plant Week and I'm featuring my favorite native plant nursery.  I recently re-visited Medina Garden Nursery just over an hour west of San Antonio with a group of gardening friends.  Besides being a beautiful drive, it's well worth the trip just to spend time with native and butterfly plant expert Ernesto Carino.  Ismael Espinoza, who usually works with him, was at his other job on this day so we missed him.  We spent over two hours touring the nursery and gardens surrounding Ernesto's home.

As I wrote in my previous post on Medina Garden Nursery, it's all about the plants.  Texas natives and plants adapted to our tough Texas climate--they know what grows best where we live.  They collect cuttings in the wild and trade with native plant enthusiasts from all over.  Ernesto says he often receives seeds or cutting in the mail from those who just want to preserve native plants for future generations.

Ernesto discusses plants with Melody.

Always beautiful with plenty of rustic features to copy and admire.

I was amazed at how much he allows his plants to wilt when there is no rain.  I am learning that these tough plants can take a lot more drought and heat than most believe.  This year I also let many of my plants wilt like this in August and they have bounced back beautifully.  And they have not had as much rain in Medina as we have in San Antonio.

These gardens have become a destination for butterfly experts seeking to solve the mystery of the disappearing Monarch.  A butterfly research garden next to the nursery brings butterfly experts like Lincoln Brower to conduct research here.  A researcher from the University of Minnesota spent several days working in the summer heat this past summer which indicates a good bit of dedication on her part.

Tagged Monarch on the tropical milkweed and the movement is from a Queen butterfly

Even though his spot next to the Medina River has great soil Ernesto brought in tons of caliche to convince his customers that his plants will grow well at their places too.

It's always magic when Ernesto opens the gate to the garden around his home on the property.

A stunning Live Oak shades much of the north side of the house.

An Anole capturing a moth in the gardens

Going, going, gone!

Very lush and green, these gardens remain quite cool on even the hottest days.

Ernesto is originally from Mexico and has created a traditional old world patio at the front of the house.

I just love this view through to the fountain.  The rock work is gorgeous.

The patio overlooks the Medina River in the distance

Sphinx moth enjoying the Mexican Oregano in the gardens

Succulents on display along a low rock wall

Back to the nursery side and a seating area near the butterfly gardens.

Beautiful and colorful

Sedum in a limestone boulder

Native asters in full bloom

Another look at the plants available.

It's was so much fun to spend time again discussing plants with Ernesto at Medina Garden Nursery, this time with friends who all agreed they would love to return soon.  The gardens are closed on Monday but open six days a week, however I did email ahead to make sure they would be open on a Wednesday afternoon.  Always a good idea when visiting a small business in the country during the week.

To see my previous visit to Medina Garden Nursery go here.  I'll be posting more native plants as Texas Native Plant Week progresses.


  1. Love that patio Shirley, with the palms, fountain overlooking Medina river!

  2. I'm so glad you promote local, owner-run nurseries Shirley, especially one like Medina Gardens which specialize in natives. It was such a pleasure to meet Ernesto and learn from him. I'm glad that there are people like him who want to preserve plants that might not be around for other generations to enjoy. I'm looking forward to watching the plants grow that I bought from Ernesto and remembering our fun trip!

  3. Wow - this is not just a nursery! It's so much more - very impressive that butterfly experts come to it to to study the Monarchs. Although, I can't imagine anyone bringing in caliche to their property on purpose! :) Looks like a beautiful and wonderful nursery. Maybe one day I'll be able to take a trip and visit the nurseries you are highlighting.

    1. Now that you have family in the area that might be a good plan since there's so much to see out that way.

  4. Beautiful! the live oak is just stunning. And I also spotted some nice palms in there too!

    1. I definitely thought you would notice those palms Louis!

  5. Looks like a nice selection of plants. I would definitely need to stop if I find myself near Medina. I keep watching my monarchs for one with a tag. Do you know if that one may have been tagged there?

    1. The butterfly was tagged elsewhere, possibly at the butterfly demonstration gardens along the River Walk in town where a tagging event was held recently.

      Medina is one of those places you have to make your destination because it is out of the way. Fortunately many native plant fans have found their way there.

  6. I've been advised to "let em wilt" like that, but have never worked up the nerve. Evidence is building...maybe next year. The personal touch of visiting with Ernesto and seeing his garden must have made this a very special trip.

  7. It looks like a wonderful place that I'd like to visit some day. I'm in love with the sedum growing out of the boulder. It gives the look of moss which we can't grow. Is the yellow plant on the left in the last photo the same fall blooming salvia that you have. How is yours doing? I'd dearly love to know what plants y'all brought home!

    1. The rock with sedum is pretty and I think it was chiseled out to allow more room for the plants. The yellow in the photos is from goldenrod which I do not have. You might be thinking of the Salvia Madrensis which is quite similar and about to bloom.

  8. Thanks Shirley,
    I go out to our ranch in Bandera at least once per month and definitely patronize the businesses there as much as possible. (hubby goes there more). I will make a point of visiting this nearby plant nursery as soon as I can. I will remember to email or call ahead to make sure Ernesto is available and the business is open that day. Thanks for pointing out the Mexican Oregano. I did not know what this beautiful plant is. I see it used in shopping strip landscaping and had no idea what it was.....

  9. I can see why this is one of your favorites; What a special place and mission. So lovely, and that patio - YUM!

  10. Wow great photos! I love native landscaping. Nothing is better than indigenous plants that are accustomed to the environment. Also that is an awesome oak. Each one has their own unique character. The only thing better would be a Fig Tree or Banyan Tree.


Thank you for stopping by. To comment simply open the Name/URL option, put in your name or initials and skip the URL.