Our Journey to a Sustainable Future
Posted by Stephen Duckett, MPH on 24th Jan 2021
Welcome to Southeast Houston's only Native Plant Nursery
My name is Stephen and I'm the sole owner of this backyard native plant nursery. I began this journey a few years ago when I became highly vested in the concepts surrounding permaculture. Understanding that earth care, people share and fair share were highly symbiotic principles really got my interest piqued. From there I gained appreciation for growing my own fruits and vegetables and began transforming my backyard slowly but surely into a haven for harvesting.
Along the way I obtained a Monarch Watch Waystation certification and a National Wildlife Federation Wildlife Habitat certification for my backyard pollinator garden. When I purchased my home in Glenbrook Valley I was so bored with the monoculture turf grass on my ~0.5 acre plot. So I began by tearing up grass behind my garage and installed a pollinator garden for which I received those certifications. That quickly morphed into an excitement and appreciation for plants more than ever before. For the first time since owning my home I now see birds, bees, hummingbirds, owls, possums, insects of all kinds especially dragonflies and the infamous Monarch (and other beautiful species). What could I possibly do to build on that habitat I had created? The answer was simple. Plant more! So that I did. I also am deeply committed to the environment and being the best steward I can with my decisions, spending and way of life.
2020 Strikes and Hope Emerges in 2021
2020 rolled around and the pandemic struck. I work in healthcare and was completely exhausted by work so decided to find something that made me truly happy in my free time. So I began building out a business idea. That idea came to fruition in September 2020 when I formed my LLC and obtained all the necessary EINs, floral and agricultural permits, sales tax and use and other items I had never even heard of before. The pandemic finally caught up with me and I acquired COVID-19 through my partner's healthcare workplace exposure. It took me down quite hard for a few months.
The beauty and appreciation in nature is that despite what's going on in the world, the patterns of the season of the plants changing color, texture and shape remains. That hope that I could build something that contributed to a beneficial ecoscape kept me going while I felt as though I wouldn't make it out alive.
Now, fast forward to 2021 and we have 25 different native plants growing. Flowers, forbs, grasses, herbs and vegetable plants. We are quickly understanding the great interest in this untapped market and are ramping up production for this year. We will soon be able to deliver you the beauty of our Gulf Prairie and Marsh ecosystem that very few get to enjoy.
So why native plants?
I'll direct you to my "about us" page for more info. In summary, what is meant to be here from an evolutionary standpoint is going to do best. It helps with flood mitigation, water filtration, attracts beneficial pollinators, reduces pollution and the list goes on. The big box stores cary some beautiful flowers, shrubs and trees. But the vast majority of what's out there is not endemic to this region and often not to our country. Native plants are a great eco-friendly alternative. They're drought and heat tolerant after established. They don't and should never require any harmful chemicals. They make a statement to your neighbors and the World that you care and are making this planet a little better than you found it.
There are certainly plenty of other nurseries around town some of which include the word "native" in their title or description. In reality, you visit there and realize the selection is extremely limited and become frustrated as you walk down aisles filled with invasive species from Europe and Asia. Our nursery is different. Every native plant on our website is grown on site from seed. IF that ever changes it will be explicitly stated on the product info page. We don't truck them in from a massive growing operation in California or wipe them off the shelves of a big box store. If you've been in any Monarch Facebook groups every spring you hear of Monarch's succumbing to what is a suspected use of harmful pesticides that reside in the milkweed plant long after exposure. Not at Glenbrook Ecologic.
Natural and Local
We only use natural and organic soil with absolutely zero manmade unnatural chemicals in our growing process. Everything is natural and/or organic and grown with care. We go one step further through. We reuse other nurseries and landscapers' pots so they don't end up in a landfill. They don't come from a manufacturer that produces them cheaply. Procuring them around town takes time and energy and we hire a middle man to aide us in that mission and provide another Houstonian with additional income. Our potting mix is produced ~5 miles away and is an excellent blend of aged compost, native topsoil sand and fine mortar sand (also sold by us). Our germination trays are from Bootstrap Farmer (we are an affiliate) and truly the most durable we've come across which cuts down on the use of plastic common in the industry. As of April 2021, our entire growing process will be powered by 100% renewable energy.
You aren't just buying a product. You're making a statement. You are buying a morally and ethically produced product that cares for the planet and will continue to for years to come.
Owner, Glenbrook Ecologic