June 5, 2018

A Day in the Life of a Garden Center Manager

Today we caught up with Chris, the garden center manager at Texas Backyard RR4 in Round Rock, TX, a garden center specializing in plants for the Texas backyard, boasting mostly Texas-grown plants and a knowledgable staff dedicated to helping you with all your gardening needs. Texas Backyard is located at the Round Rock H-E-B Plus at Hwy 79 and A.W. Grimes. They offer free gardening workshops throughout the spring season (taught by yours truly) on things like how to grow succulents, how to build a strawberry tower, and how to build your own rain barrel. You can follow them on Facebook or Instagram.

Photo credit: Texas Backyard RR4

Q. How long have you been working in the plant industry, and how did you get started?

A. I've been in the nursery business 25 years. I grew up in the restaurant business and one day I was just done. I thought that spending my day "playing" with flowers would be peaceful and fun.  LOL, I was clueless!

Back then there wasn't Google, s
o I used a phone book and went to every nursery in my area with my resume.  No one would hire me.  Then I went to a grower called Color Star Growers and they wanted to give me a job in the office. I kept insisting I wanted to work in the greenhouse. Long story short, I finally got my start, and from there I went to work for a small independent [nursery] that specialized in organics. That is when I truly fell in love with the business.
Photo credit: Texas Backyard RR4

Q. What kinds of related jobs have you had?

A. Over the years I have done landscaping, worked for a large "box" [garden center], and finally now I've been at HEB Texas Backyard for 4 years.

Q. What do you like about your current job? What are some of the perks/downsides?

A. What I love most about my current job is the community involvement.  The [gardening] classes we host are fun and creative, and the response we get from the customers is amazing.  One of the best compliments of my career was when a regular customer told me I changed how she sees things.  She said [she] used to go shopping at Goodwill or the dollar store and look for what [she] needed, now she looks and wonders what she can plant in that [item]. I think that is pretty cool.
What do I like least?  Winter, LOL.  I'
m not a "Scrooge", but I hate the Christmas trees with a passion.  I am allergic to them, but the show must go on, as we say in retail, and I keep my ho-ho on the high-high and dream of spring until they are gone. 
Photo credit: Texas Backyard RR4

Q. What advice do you have for people considering a job in the plant industry?

A. Have a sense of humor and be flexible.  Because you deal with live plants, anything can happen.  Mother Nature is not always your friend.  One year when all the Christmas trees were frozen solid --and customers wanted, of course, to see them "fluffed out" -- we had to actually take them inside the building to thaw them first.  And you know, no one ever picks the first tree they look at. LOL.

Q. What is one of your favorite plants?

A. That changes from season to season.  Right now I am in love with succulents and all the fun ways you can plant them up.  They are pretty "goof-proof."

Maxicrop Liquid Seaweed is available at HEB Texas Backyard RR4
and also here on Amazon

Q. What's one of your favorite gardening products?

A. One of my favorite products -- no surprise to anyone who knows me -- is liquid seaweed.  I use it for everything, and because I am a bit of an excessive person, [I love it because] it is a very forgiving product that I can use as much as I want and not kill anything.  I always point new gardeners to it because [they'll] get nothing but good results.

Do you have a gardening question?  You can ask in the comments below, or on Facebook or Instagram.
Follow along for more helpful gardening tips, tricks, and how-to's.
If you're in Texas, you can probably get some of the products I mention at your neighborhood HEB.  If you make a purchase using one of my blog links, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you as part of the Amazon Associates Program.


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