Beyond Begonias

By Meda Kessler and Babs Rodriguez

Photos by Meda Kessler

Nurseries and garden stores are hives of activity in the spring. But even if you’re not a dedicated gardener, there are other reasons to stop by and shop. From art to furniture to books, these local garden shops offer more than perennials and bags of mulch.

BLOOMING COLORS NURSERY & LANDSCAPING

At Blooming Colors, check out Sally Arant’s collection of cast concrete decor and functional vases, metal candle holders on reclaimed wood pedestals and multimedia artworks.

A locally owned and well-stocked source of Texan-proven perennials, annuals, trees and vines (and landscaping services to make good use of them), the garden center also houses an art gallery of sorts mostly dedicated to the work of Dallas-based artist Sally Arant.

An employee of Blooming Colors and former resident of Alaska, Arant now works in a variety of mediums and styles and is best known for her sculptural vases made from cast concrete — Blooming Colors offers them in several forms and colors — and candle holders fashioned from reclaimed wood.

All of Arant’s work embraces wabi-sabi, the Japanese aesthetic that finds beauty in imperfection and the impermanence of things.

Another bonus of shopping at Blooming Colors? Ask the cashier about availability of fresh eggs — green-, blue- and brown-shelled beauties delivered from the nursery owner Barry Johnson’s home flock of hens. 2221 Ira E. Woods Ave., Grapevine, 817-409-6669, bloomingcolorsnursery.com

FOSSIL CREEK TREE FARM, NURSERY AND LANDSCAPING

There is a forest of trees on offer at the family-owned nursery and garden store, but know that there are other reasons to branch out and explore this 8.5-acre property a stone’s throw from Alliance Town Center.

Owners Josh and Terra Richards have created a destination for plant lovers and are celebrating 10 years in the business. A koi pond and splashing waterfalls generate a happy spirit of expectation as covered wood bridges offer passage into the garden center’s headquarters. Just steps inside, The Haven gift shop beckons shoppers to browse the warren of nooks and rooms, each of which feels like its own pop-up. (Part of the appealing design credit goes to a veteran Anthropologie visual merchandiser who now works at Fossil Creek.)

A yellow sofa at the front of the shop sets the mood for settling in among shelves of books on a variety of topics, from gardening to inspirational. From there, browse the fashion items including Hemlock bandanas and headbands in sassy prints and jewelry perfect for every “plant lady,” young and old.

Self-care products include candles, shower gels and bubble bath in Library of Flowers small-batch perfume scent of Willow & Water, and Nash and Jones all-natural creams, cleansers and masks.

Shop The Haven, located inside Fossil Creek’s headquarters, for books, edibles, puzzles, tableware and more.

Kitchen gear beckons around one corner: Gauzy flour-sack towels in botanical prints make evergreen gifts, as do copper measuring cups and black-and-white pottery with a modern vibe. Cookbooks from a variety of authors — Fort Worth’s Jon Bonnell to lifestyle guru Gwyneth Paltrow — are bracketed by gourmet products, including chocolates, caramels, hot sauces, olive oils and honey. And in a time in which jigsaw puzzles have become scarce, it’s good to know that The Haven offers a mother lode. Of course, there’s also pretty pottery containers right for potting plants or holding wooden spoons. Even the attractive farmhouse chic lamp fixtures are for sale.

Everything can be gift-bagged for free with lovely botanical tissue when you check out. Well-curated and tasteful, the shop makes it difficult to leave without finding that special something you were looking for and a treat for yourself, too. 7744 Blue Mound Road, Fort Worth, 817-306-7111, fossilcreektreefarm.com

LANDSCAPE SYSTEMS OF TEXAS

Passing motorists can’t miss the racks of colorful blooming annuals and perennials, especially this time of year, along busy Keller Parkway, right on the border of Keller and Southlake.

Owner Ed Ruibal started his business at the Dallas Farmers Market and moved it to Keller in 2008. It now encompasses 7 acres. Once you park and start to wander the grounds, it’s hard to pass up the pots of color.

But be prepared to really be overwhelmed when you enter the 13,000-square-foot gift shop. Even if you only plan to drop by for a tray of herbs, a few hanging baskets and some potting soil, you’ll want to take time to check it out. Of course, there’s the owner’s adorable pair of Labs who hang out there, too.

While a wide selection of plants and flowers make Landscape Systems a destination, so does the variety of goods offered in the gift shop.

While a wide selection of plants and flowers make Landscape Systems a destination, so does the variety
of goods offered in the gift shop.

While the shop offers many garden-related items such as terrariums and faux florals, you’ll find home decor, light fixtures, ceramics, art, antiques, pillows and plenty of furniture for indoors and out.

One section of the store is dedicated to live-edge slabs of wood big and small — mesquite, walnut, pecky cypress and more — ready to be utilized by a DIYer or transformed into a custom piece in the store’s in-house wood shop.

And come the holidays, Landscape Systems goes all-out with gifts and everything you need to transform your home and patio into someplace special. 1823 Keller Parkway, 817-431-9490, landscapesystems.com