Jon Gabriel Mathews was only 5 years old when he began working alongside his dad and learning about the family business, Shades of Texas. Twenty years later, he is the general manager of two family-owned nursery locations.

Daniel Baker (left) and Jon Gabriel Mathews each have their own gardening-related businesses under one roof. Daniel Baker (left) and Jon Gabriel Mathews each have their own gardening-related businesses under one roof.[/caption]

Shades of Texas opened its first location in South Houston more than 30 years ago. After decades of success, Mathews decided to expand north to Montgomery County to fill a void in the community by opening a second location in Magnolia in 2014.

“We have unique jobs because every single day is different,” Mathews said. “We get to see something flourish from nothing, which is special because most people don’t get to see a final product from the beginning.”

The nursery specializes in both retail and wholesale options and sells more than 1,000 different species of trees, shrubs, plants and flowers. Some of the nursery’s unique stock includes fruit trees, topiaries, milkweed and bottlebrush.

Part of maintaining a high level of service, Mathews said, is having a well-trained and knowledgeable staff that remains dedicated with customers.

Assistant Manager Asia Payne said she typically spends 45 minutes to an hour with each customer.

“We really respect our customers, and we want them to be successful with what they’re growing,” Payne said. “We also have instructional handouts, which I think really help our customers be successful with the money they’ve spent here.”

Due to Texas’ unique climate, Mathews said it is important for local gardeners to plant early enough in the season for plants to thrive during April and May before the summer heat sets in.

Mathews said Shades of Texas strives to educate clients about best practices for successful gardening in the Greater Houston Area.

“There are a lot of people that are in new homes that recently moved here from all over the country ... and we want to be able to help them make the right selections for what works in this area,” Mathews said.

Shades of Texas North
5505 FM 1488, Magnolia
Hours: Mon.-Fri. 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Sat. 7:30 a.m.-noon, closed Sundays