Howdy, and welcome to HHR! Today, we’re looking at what happens when a Houston Garden Center location decides to move. If you’ve lived in Houston long enough, it’s probably something you’ve seen, but if you’re like me, you probably haven’t ever thought about how it all goes down. First off, though, let’s start off with a brief history. HGC is not a terribly old chain, only emerging around 1994, and reestablishing itself after merging the original Chain, Houston Garden & Patio Center, with Wolfe Nursery. Houston Garden Center was somewhat unique in Houston, Rather than purchasing lots and constructing sales buildings, locations tended to pop up in more urban-based landscapes. Houston Garden Center locations often find refuge in a shopping center’s parking lot, not unlike the chain that proceeded it. Today’s example, formerly located at 20080 Holzwarth Rd, Spring, TX 77388, is no exception. In an area known by many for the long departed Houston Goodyear Blimp hanger, Houston Garden Centers established themselves here in the early 90s. Instead of operating out of an old house or a purpose-built structure for the store portion, HGC’s operation was highly streamlined. While not a new concept, HGC’s stores were often little more than a protective shell. They would build a combination greenhouse/building and then provide additional coverage for things like registers and some products. The stores almost resembled a Hypermarket’s Garden Center more than a traditional nursery outlet, and this is what likely led to their quick success and ability to greatly undercut the competition. Over the next few years, Houston Garden Centers would pop up all over town. Including a few locations that “broke the rules” and took over another old nursery, often keeping much of their facilities intact. When I stumbled upon this Houston Garden Center’s demolition, it was completely by accident, I had actually come to photograph the neighboring Deauville mall only to wind up finding this.
I would later learn that Houston Garden Center does not move much from its old location, primarily products that would be sold at the new store. The greenhouses, fencing, and even product displays had all already been constructed at their new location up I-45. At this point, I was strictly witnessing a demolition of the existing facility. While the power had been cut, it was likely that this store had only been closed for maybe a day or two. This was taken between Christmas and New Year, and it seems likely they scheduled the move during this time to allow them to close without issue. While overall, this isn’t a terribly exciting post, I’m hoping it did satiate a bit of curiosity for you. Houston Garden Centers is by far Houston’s largest nursery/garden center chain, but little is to be found about them online or, as far as I know, even in print. Searching the Chronicle Archive returns little on the familiar red and yellow awnings, which have adorned Houston’s plant specialists for the past 30+ years. So if you know any part of the Houston Garden Center Story, please leave it in the comments. Help us learn about one of Houston’s most untold stories!
Mike, you are not researching deep enough. Houston Garden Centers were originally called Houston Patio and Garden Center. They were around long before 1994 but entered into some kind of agreement, or treaty if you will, with a non-compete clause with Wolfe Nursery for a set amount of years. Kind of merger to an extent. The original stores were shuttered or converted to Wolfe Nurseries. Matt Hooper was the guy who ran Houston Patio and Garden Centers. Three of my cousins worked their for many years. One of them used to build the original locations. Mike, dig deeper though. You will find advertisements in the Houston Chronicle and the Houston Post for Houston Patio and Garden Centers. You will even see that the logo is still almost exactly the same as it looked before in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Heck, they even had two locations located at the Northwest Freeway and Milwee Street on catty corner from each other. That’s right there on the Northwest Freeway between Antoine Drive and West 34tb Street. Also, if I recall correctly, there was a location at the West Loop and West 18th Street for many years, even after all of the name changes. So, please Mike try digging deeper. The old newspaper advertisements listed all of their locations. Good luck to you!!! Remember, look for Houston Patio and Garden Center!!! Lots of good history with this nursery!!!
Based on your second comment, I see you found the link to the Wolfe Nursey page. I actually haven’t researched HGC all that much, the photos were simply out of interest of watching the demolition process occur. Thank you for your supplemental information, I’m sure anyone researching the chain in the future will come across it!