WINNER: Shades of Green
334 W. Sunset Road •(210) 824-3772
For more than 30 years, a plant nursery just off Broadway has offered the finest in organic gardening — and it’s also a great place to just enjoy the scenery. The pet-friendly Shades of Green, in itself, is one of the nicest gardens you could relax in, with trickling water bubbling from fountains scattered throughout a complex that’s filled with everything from red-tinged Japanese maple trees to exotic-looking desert roses. One staffer said during a recent outing that Shades of Green’s organic specialization has garnered the nursery notoriety around the country and world because they were ahead of the curve when it came to understanding the dangers of using toxic substances to grow plants. This is also a nursery for gardeners of all levels. The staff is helpful and accessible. And there’s much more than plants, although there’s a ton of those. There’s a smattering of fun pots and planters sprinkled all through the garden, from the most basic ceramic pot to brightly colored planters of all shapes and sizes. If you haven’t planned to spend all your green by the time you’ve meandered throughout the extensive nursery, the gift shop has plenty of cool stuff, too; from fanciful sculptures, to tools, to gifts for the kids, to books about gardening, South Texas native plants and more. Good luck just trying to visit without purchasing a new addition for the porch.