Texas has its fair share of spiky, thorny plants. Hearty cacti, tall Yucca trees, spiny succulents — these are the green growing goods that make planting in Central Texas so exciting.
When you’re on the search for a new collection of cacti to add to your landscaping, head to Living Desert Ranch. Just up Highway 71 in Spicewood sits this quaint greenhouse and shop run by cactus aficionado Darrell Dunton. You may have recognized their shop in Bee Cave but they have since moved onto this private property just a few miles up the road. The extra space has given the grower a lot of room to expand his operations and business.
In addition to aisles of these thorny beauties are Darrell’s own pottery and artistic yard art decorations that can be viewed throughout the property. From large pots perfect for a shapely Blue Agave to tinier ceramic dishes, you have your pick of colorful garden art to enjoy.
Darrell’s passion for art and the spiky plants started over 35 years ago, and with the help of his wife Yvonne, the two opened Living Desert Cactus Nursery with the hopes of bringing Austin an eclectic cactus outlet. For years the shop served the Lake Travis area out of its Bee Cave location. As new shops moved in, they decided to move out to Spicewood and focus on their business closer to home.
Art and decorative lawn sculptures litter the plot, and you can usually find a treasure or two just poking around among the plants inside the greenhouse. Also known around the area as the Cactus Whisperer, his interest for art extends to painting as well as glass works and cactus arranging. Armed with the knowledge of which cacti are mutually beneficial and grow well together, his arrangements are both beautiful and long-lasting. These make great gifts, too!
Prices at Living Desert Cactus Nursery vary from plant to plant and are based on size and availability. Most cacti that I saw were $1-20, but some very large plants could cost up to several hundred dollars. With a few dollars you can start your own little cactus garden or have Darrell plant you one himself. Keep your eye open for the rare species or the unusual — these are the little special beauties that make Living Cactus Ranch one of the best places to shop for cacti in the Lake Travis area.
Living Desert Ranch
22701 Hwy 71 W. Spicewood, TX 78669 (map)