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Homegrown garden center spreads roots

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Go ahead, daydream about what you might want in a one stop, garden store.  Joe and Jamie Schmitz of Flower Mound did just that, and came up with the newest Schmitz Garden Center location, a garden retailing winner.

Well, let’s see, the store would need bedding flowers of course–petunias, pansies, zinnias, daisies and the like, but what else?  Organic soil amendments?  Earth friendly stuff, big bags of Lady Bug brand products.  Do birdie antics amuse you?  Ah, yes, birdbaths.  Topiary, that garden sculpture using live plants.  Custom designed live plant arrangements in sassy containers?  Patio wall art?  Oh, definitely landscape plants, and don’t forget vegetable seedlings because a salad bowl filled with fresh harvest is great.

How about flagstones?  Dramatic pots?  Ever seen one big enough for an adult to hide in?  Trees?  Shrubs?  Girly muck boots and clogs?  Maybe a gift shop with crystal chandeliers, bronze sculptures, and embroidered kitchen linens?  Birdcages for critters and plants.  Don’t overlook those restful “water features.”  What size fountain will look good in your yard?  Oh, and you need a sis-boom-bah painted rock in honor of the old alma mater. Gig’em Aggies!

Is your thinker tuckered out yet?

The sky really is the limit at Schmitz Garden Center where Joe boasts the in-house professionals have over 100 years of collective experience in agronomy, botany, horticulture, entomology, arboriculture, landscape design, garden know-how, and a successful history with irrigation and lawns.

Here’s a quick, plain English explanation of those services.  Agronomy is the practical application of various soil and plant sciences to stimulate optimum plant growth; botany is about plant identification; and horticulture is concerned with how plants grow.  Arborists are tree specialists, and entomologists are taken with the insect world– you know, little guys in the local fire ant mound, aphids on the rosebushes, lady bugs that eat aphids, and pesky mosquitoes.

Maybe, your grass isn’t doing too well because you suspect the topsoil in your yard is used up.  When you sprinkle, the water just runs over the curb like the Little Gingerbread Man then flows merrily to the nearest storm drain.  Joe can help you fix that.

Those hibiscus shrubs that look like the flowers on your Hawaiian shirts didn’t make it through the winter cold?  Jamie can help you find a hardy hibiscus that likes your USDA climate zone and still dazzles the eye.

You think maybe native flowering plants and trees would be less work?  You’re right, and Michael can help you out there.

“We solve residential garden and landscape problems,” Joe said.  “We have a 24-hour call back policy, and everyone gets a personal visit with customized advice and service.”

At Schmitz Garden Center’s newest location on Arrowhead Drive in Flower Mound, the smell of recent construction still drifts through the addition that houses a selection of outdoor fountains in every size and shape, sculptures, and wrought iron wall art honoring colleges, military services, faith, and amusing whimsy.

Next door, a wooden scaffold awaits shade cloth to be stretched over carefully tended plant stock that needs protection from full sun.  

“We receive fresh plants and new garden products almost daily from all over the United States: Florida, Oregon, Arizona, South Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana.  If you want a certain plant or garden product, we’ll find it,” Joe said.

Daniel Aguilar, the Garden Center’s long-time plant caretaker, goes to enormous trouble to cover, move, and shelter plants as local weather demands.  The result is unblemished nursery stock that looks untouched by this past winter’s run of freezing weather.

If you like dramatic begonias, get a look at Dottie’s Eyelashes, a Mexican native with honest-to-goodness hair-like projections on the outer edges of every leaf.  Clusters of small hot pink flowers dangle from its tall stems that, at first glance, look like Coral Bells.

“I pick all the plants and design the displays myself,” Jamie said.

It’s obvious she likes healthy, good looking stock because nothing in the extensive outdoor showrooms looks a whit shy of perfect from the containers to the growing media to stems and leaves and blooms.  The word ‘ugly’ isn’t in her horticultural or decorating vocabulary.  The displays all tickle customers’ patio and yard design imaginations.

“We opened our first store over by Flower Mound High School in 2004,” Joe said of his flagship venture still going strong on Old Settler’s Road.

An Aggie who grew up in Irving, he shanghaied his retired dad, Larry Schmitz, to help with the startup business that became a family success story.

“After we got on our feet, my dad left and knuckled down to serious retirement.  He was a great help when the business was new,” he said.  Jamie agreed enthusiastically.

The birth of the second location has turned the nursery business into a his-and-hers operation. 

Windows in every wall of the gift shop heart of the operation look out on artfully crowded plants, large stacks of bagged organic and synthetic soil management products, and big potted trees and shrubs giving customers an irresistible come hither look.  Time to look is a must.

The new center fills a lot sandwiched between FM 1171 and Fireside and Arrowhead roads.  The big black wrought iron entrance gates are on Arrowhead, and there’s plenty of parking.  A shady pavilion with an outdoor kitchen sits just inside the fence on Arrowhead.

“We grill hotdogs for our customers on the weekends,” Joe said.

The manicured nursery grounds are covered with flexbase, a warm tan gravel and clay product that matches the paint on the buildings and absorbs draining water so browsers’ shoes stay dry as they wander around.  The surface crunches like an old country road under car tires, and gives customers their first inkling about the place’s came-from-somewhere-down-home atmosphere.  Want to sit a spell in the shade?  No problem, the gift shop has a big wrap-around porch that catches the breeze.

“We are a neighborhood garden center serving all of southern Denton County,” Joe said, “and we have everything for the outside of the house.”

Joe and Jamie Schmitz specialize in facelifts for established residential landscapes.  “Every yard and garden is unique, just like its owner.  We don’t believe one-size-fits all,” he said. 

To that end the core staff, beside Jamie and Joe themselves, consists of Michael Williams, an arborist and degreed horticulturalist; Nicholas Joseph, the landscape designer and sales manager; and Danny Kershner who is in charge of organic and landscape sales.

“We are certified to handle pesticides; we’re state licensed irrigators; and we possess in depth knowledge of the green industry.  We have the largest plant selection in the county; we’re the largest nursery; and we’re a full service company where high quality matters.  The only thing we don’t do is build pools,” Joe said with a laugh.

The company’s top priority is to build long-term relationships with customers.  “We want people to come back again and again,” he said.

Take a stroll through both retail stores, located at 3417 Old Settlers Road and 1616 Arrowhead Drive, both in Flower Mound.  The website is www.sgcdfw.com.  Give Jamie or Joe a call at 972-724-3040.


Contact Noelle Hood at noellemhood@gmail.com

 

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