Utility Research Garden


Bamboo is what we do.

Bamboo’s popularity may have been on its way out in the mid ’90s when David Cater, owner of local nursery Utility Research Garden, spotted a clump of the tall grass on Red River. “I remember it standing there moving,” Cater says. “I looked at it closely—I’m pretty sure it looked back.” Cater’s interest in the plant grew after meeting a sort of bamboo guru, a south-Texas psychologist who told him that “there’s nothing wrong with planting bamboo,” both a philosophical and a practical statement. So, in 2001, Cater helped start the nursery that offers over a hundred species and varieties of bamboo to both landscape contractors and homeowners in Texas and the South. Now, Utility Research Garden is serving Austin’s swiftly growing community with the plants to create an ideal urban landscape. “Blocking neighbors is its specialty, as is blocking freeways, flyways and country byways,” Cater wrote. “But the true beauty, only occasionally seen in our neck of the woods, is a grove of bamboo whistling and knocking in the breeze, its ten thousand leaves each speaking quietly to one another.”


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