Austin's [not so] Secret Garden

I've lived in Austin my entire life, but until last fall, I'd never been to The Natural Gardener (aka Organic Gardening Headquarters.) This iconic Texas nursery has been in its current location in Oak Hill since 1993 and let me tell you, it's an experience. This isn't your run-of-the-mill, let's go buy plants for our flowerbed kind of place, though you can certainly find plenty of things that will beautify your yard. What finally got me there was their labyrinth, as I was researching a magazine article about Texas Labyrinths (which is a whole 'nother story, but I will tell you this: there are more than 200 labyrinths in the Lone Star State!)  Here's a tip: pay this paradise a visit when you have at least a couple of hours to explore. You'll be really glad you did.

Visitors are encouraged to walk the labyrinth just about anytime they're open.

This is what you'll find right next to the labyrinth. Pretty cool and fitting for an Austin original, wouldn't you say?

After spending quite some time in the labyrinth area, Piper (my granddaughter) and I started exploring. What an incredible adventure we had.

Why yes, as a matter of fact that is the Virgin Mary and a scarecrow. 

There are so many spaces that just invite lingering. It's very Zen.

There's definitely an E-I-E-I-O component to the Natural Gardener experience.

In fact, they love pets and encourage you to bring them with you.

So pack up the kids, your pets, your family or friends, and head on over to the coolest garden center in Austin. Or you could just take a breather and go by yourself.