A Unique Local Nursery

Colleague and friend Michael Gaglio recently opened a nursery, as a way to store and sell plants he’s been salvaging from local construction and mining operations. His focus is on lower water-use plants native to the Chihuahuan Desert Ecoregion, adjacent areas, plus some other adapted plants. It’s is a refreshingly unique concept from most other regional nurseries.

If Pam at Digging still has her “support your local nursery month” meme, here’s my contribution from far-out West Texas. As in the Trans-Trans Pecos!

Enter High Desert Native Plants in El Paso TX –

Eagle Claws Cactus AKA Blue Barrel / Echinocactus horizonthalonius (R front), Texas Rainbow Cactus / Echinocereus dasyacanthus (L)…

behind the blue barrels, some Torrey Yucca / Y. torreyi and a Thompson Yucca / Y. thompsoniana, potted up to root in before being sold
behind the blue barrels, a few Torrey Yucca / Y. torreyi and a Thompson Yucca / Y. thompsoniana, potted up to root in, before being sold…
How 'bout them Cowboys Texas Rainbows...and all those uber-tough, distinctive signatures of the great desert southwest
How ’bout them Cowboys Texas Rainbows? So many uber-tough, distinctive plant signatures of the Great American [Desert] Southwest…
crunchy, cushiony and durable pecan shell mulch in much of the nursery to walk on, including container-grown plants from regional growers…
even various Prickly Pear / Opuntia subarmata and O. engelmannii from salvage...apparently some Spineless Prickly Pear / O. ellisiana from someone redoing their own landscape
Back to plants with far less of a drinking problem! Various prickly pear cactus from salvage…big daddy, Desert Prickly Pear / Opuntia engelmannii from a site about to be developed, even Spineless Prickly Pear / O. ellisiana perhaps from someone redoing their own landscape…
many Lechuguilla / Agave lechuguilla...ugy planted solo, but rugged used in mass, like they are found in nature holding down mountainsides
Many Lechuguilla / Agave lechuguilla – they “aren’t much to look at” when planted solo, but ruggedly handsome used in mass, such as in nature holding down mountainsides or even in nursery rows…and more Opuntia spp., as well as recently salvaged Ocotillo / Fouquieria splendens along the fence (are some to be uppotted and rooted for sale?) and Fishhook Barrel / Ferocactus wislizenii
more Chihuahuan Desert native plants, including bread-and-butter Texas Ranger / Leucophyllum frutescens
more Chihuahuan Desert native plants, including bread-and-butter Texas Ranger / Leucophyllum frutescens, nursery-grown in containers
a dwarf tree that takes all our extremes, deserving far more use here - Anacacho Orchid Tree / Bauhinia lunarioides
a dwarf tree that takes all our extremes, deserving far more use – Anacacho Orchid Tree / Bauhinia lunarioides…these healthy but small specimens are just waiting to go into a real xeriscape – the kind that includes native plants – so they can grow deep roots, becoming a nice asset to an intimate garden…
a unique leaf form, interest even when not in spring bloom
a unique leaf form, like crossing a Redbud with a non-hardy ginkgo – interest even months after it’s spring bloom…
some areas of plants for sale, planted in the ground to demonstrate some of their features (here, Winecups / Callirhoe involucrata)
some recent plantings in the ground to demonstrate some features of what’s-for-sale…like Winecups / Callirhoe involucrata…
So, call ahead - just in case - and enjoy a visit to High Desert Native Plants in El Paso's Upper Valley, like I just did
one can call ahead to find out their current business days and times…

You too can enjoy a visit to High Desert Native Plants in El Paso’s Upper Valley, for buying plants that will help your project stand out from the rest.

Buying local goes beyond backyard chicken eggs, clever crafts, or noshing at a farm-to-table restaurant, dontcha’ know?

Buying local includes purchasing and artfully using locally-native plant species in an enticing, water-stingy garden. Oh yeah!

A note: they also stock a hand-full of plants unproven locally, but in time and with good trials, may prove to be an addition to our palette – even if for specialized locations and uses (unpictured are some nice Astrophytum spp.). As well as a few plants that freeze out in colder or even average winters (unpictured are shoestring acacia or the occasional agave). But for customers from other climate zones nearby, such as warmer Presidio or Tucson, that also could work. Which is true for any nursery, given such variables as soils or watering mindsets…not everything will grow on every soil or with the wrong watering, so do your research. Just some fine points to consider.


6 Replies to “A Unique Local Nursery”

  1. David, thanks for the great post and for visiting today. I’m happy you decided to relocate to my town…I think we will all benefit greatly. Also thanks to your readers for their kind words. While my online presence is still a bit weak, you may indeed call me anytime, even if just to toss some ideas around. Thanks again!

    You’re welcome, and I hope you prosper and expand in this venture! And thanks, welcomes are so refreshing compared to my last 21+ years. Will do and we’ll both be in touch much, I venture to guess!


  2. Great idea, to rescue native plants, about to be tossed.

    I need to do some research on those blue barrels.

    Your area can salvage, except w/ too large of plants and/or in rockier areas. Maybe I should post on how the blue barrels, rainbows, etc. do in gardens?


  3. Much better than the typical garden centers with their invasives, annuals & blah-blah.

    Wish I could walk this nursery & just SMELL !

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

    Yes, so nice to walk through these rare nurseries w/o chemicals. But his and another in Abq both use pecan shell mulch (good use for all the shells from our pecan growing), and the scent is incredible!


  4. I tried to message him via Facebook but it failed somehow. We would love to have him join up with plantlust.com! What he’s doing is wonderful!

    I’ll tell him that what you’re giving him is an offa’ he can’t refuse:-)


  5. What a great concept! Digging up stuff from nearby fields slated for development is a favorite way to acquire plants and your friend has taken it to a whole new level.

    Those blue barrels look like something I should add here, probably more cold hardy than the goldens I have now.

    And he’s doing it without the law mandating it, too. TX and NM have native plant protection laws, but they seem weak and not enforced. This is Arizona’s law (click link, scroll down to native plant) –


  6. Kudos to your friend and to you for helping spread the word. What a novel concept! Wish I lived closer and could take advantage – this is precisely the sort of operation anybody could feel good about patronizing.

    On a small scale I’ve occasionally been able to salvage plants from construction sites here in Central Texas. Most of the cannas in my back yard are from the old Caswell Tennis Courts here in Austin, taken just before the site was bulldozed to provide drainage and court upgrades. Their history makes them doubly beautiful to my eyes.

    Thanks, and he’s got conviction, too! Arizona is the only state with solid laws and that get permitted and enforced, that even require this. So, him doing it without government mandate in the largest town west of San Antonio is even more reason to help his business to thrive.

    That great to keep such plants as those cannas going. It’s time we revive this great practice from days past!


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