I totally missed it. Today's paper featured an article on the closing of Howard's Nursery earlier this month. It's like suddenly hearing that a distant relative died a month ago. You feel like you were robbed of the opportunity for closure.
I cannot remember how many trips I've made over the years to Howard's Nursery, located on Koenig Lane about halfway between Burnet Road and Lamar Boulevard. It was the best place, bar none, to find herb and vegetable plants for the garden. It didn't matter how obscure the plant, they had some in stock. They always had plenty of the right kind of tomato seedlings when everybody else ran out.
Our new home doesn't have a good garden spot, so I've not had the excuse to run by there much in the past few years. The last time I shopped there was a little over a year ago when I got a sudden itch to find out the name of a bush we used to have in the yard in Smiley. I tried all the nurseries that were close to the office and nobody had a clue what it might be. I walked into Howard's and before I even got going good in my description, the man responded "you want a 'Pride of Barbados'". And yes, they had some in stock.
That was the way of it at Howard's Nursery. They knew their business. Their plants were healthy and very seldom did they fail to make a good showing in the garden. It was one of the most dependable nurseries I've ever known. I sometimes went there during lunch hour on those days when I just needed to calm down after a rough morning. Walking around their canopied plant aisles, you could not help but get a sense of well being.
And now they're gone. Damn. I'm going to miss them.