The Ellis family traces its history of working with plants to the late 1800s, when they operated a pottery-manufacturing company in Texas. Current-generation family members build from their familial expertise at all five of their store locations, spread between Louisiana and Texas. Twice a year, the Ellises travel overseas to identify upcoming horticulture trends decided by UN meetings in The Hague. This has expanded their decorative focus to include all aspects of home décor to complement greenhouses filled with tropical blooms and locally grown shrubbery. Clocks, lamps, and vases score homeowners extra credit in interior-design classes, and fountains and outdoor furniture make gardens hospitable for warm weather. For those who want to get ahead on holiday decorating, they offer an extensive selection of seasonal decor and accents year round. The Ellises encourage creativity with hands-on classes in subjects such as making centerpieces, weaving wreaths, and tying ribbon into perfect bows.
If a Houston homeowner's landscape is a family made up of verdant lawns, colorful flowers, and leafy shrubs, then the trees are the shy middle children. Unlike the lawn, trees don't get doted on with nitrogen-rich fertilizers. Unlike flowers, trees are not patiently pruned, weeded, or plucked and pinned to a grandmother's lapel. Sadly, most homeowners only pay attention to trees once it's too late; by then, their foliage has wilted to a pale yellowy complexion and they’ve started hanging out with bad crowds of bagworms or pine-bark beetles. At Texas Tree Team, arborists make sure that these gentle specimens get the nurturing they need to survive and thrive. Their services care for trees throughout their leafy life span, from planting and feeding to pruning and stump removal. The team also protects trees threatened with displacement or removal by construction or urban sprawl, preserving shade and blossoms for future residents. Along with protecting mature trees, the company also plants new saplings, dotting landscapes with trees ranging from color-sprayed magnolias, bradford pears, pecan trees, or crepe myrtles to palms hearty enough to weather even the hottest heat waves.
Clean By Design's professional cleaners scour the greater Houston area's residential messes with comprehensive cleaning services. During each two-hour session, cleaners stage a coup on grime, ridding homes of dust and cobwebs, vacuuming carpets, and wiping down the secret passage doors that lead to barracks filled with replacement butlers. Once bathroom tubs, showers, and latrines have been sanitized, cleaners progress into kitchens, where they scrub the outsides of appliances and the ice-cream stains inside microwaves. All countertops, kitchen-cabinet facings, and glass surfaces sparkle as cleaning crews drive off into the sunset, never to return until two weeks later to maintain the homes of guests who opted for three or five cleaning sessions. Clean By Design will not use bleach to clean any surface unless specifically requested, in which case the bleach must be supplied.
Pati Villarreal knows the distinctive soil of Galveston Island—she's been tilling it since 1991. As the owner and operator of Island Lawn Care, she and her crews adeptly manage the untamed growth of palms and ferns and keep traditional straight-edged lawns looking neat and green. When hired to do regularly schedule maintenance, they change up the path they take through the yard with the mower to reduce the appearance of ruts in the grass, practicing what Pati calls an "alternate mowing pattern." In addition to keeping yards healthy and aesthetically pleasing, the adept workers can design landscapes, install plants and flowerbeds, and bribe lawn gnomes into staying put.
Despite the many flourishing yards left her wake, Pati doesn't consider a neat lawn to be the sole thing she's selling. "Our primary product is reliability," she says. This dependability surfaces in the business’ commitment to performing regular yard work, providing convenient electronic means of payment, and communicating in both English and Spanish.
For more than 60 years, Maas Nursery’s green-thumbed staff has been tending to the blooming foliage, gardening supplies, and décor at the 8-acre facility. The 4-inch vegetable plants ($1.50 each) and 4-inch herbs ($2.49 each) garnish entrees, season sauces, and spice up expired milk with garden-fresh zest, and colorful 4-inch perennial bedding plants ($1.99 each to $35 for a 20 flat) and bonanza camellia shrubs ($62.99/5-gallon size) add zing to monochromatic lawns.