G&G 2020

Gayest & Greatest 2020: House, Home, and Pets

Joshua Kornegay’s nursery is blooming in the Heights.

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Best Gardening/Nursery Supply award winner Joshua Kornegay (photo by Alex Rosa)

Joshua Kornegay, owner of Joshua’s Native Plants and Garden Antiques, Inc. in the Heights, says that many people’s first impression of him is that of a doomsday-prepping, gun-loving redneck. “Not that there’s anything wrong with that,” he laughs. “I think it’s because I wear so much camo,” a style that stems from his lifelong love of the outdoors, camping, and bird watching.

In reality, Kornegay is anything but a doomsday prepper and gun toter. He grew up with a rather strict Navy veteran dad and a well-educated, nurturing mom. He describes his childhood as “well-balanced, loving, and ‘regular.’” That is, until high school. “As is often the case, I realized I was gay after having a string of girlfriends that never turned into anything very serious. And nobody needed to know about the guys I’d secretly fool around with occasionally,” he recalls. “At the time, I thought, ‘Everyone does this, right?’”

But this was not the last time Kornegay made a life-altering discovery.

After earning a forestry degree at Stephen F. Austin State University, he realized that being a park ranger wasn’t going to pan out for him. So, in 1993, Kornegay instead decided to open a garden shop. “I already knew a lot about natural science—plants and the like. Plus, I’d always had a knack for making a buck. So, why not?” That was almost 30 years ago, and he says he’s loved every year since.

Kornegay’s obvious love for nature’s greenery earned Joshua’s Native Plants and Garden Antiques this year’s Best Gardening/Nursery Supply award. The shop specializes in plants native to the Gulf Coast, including many succulents and cacti. “These plants need no special soils, fertilizers, or, for that matter, any skill to grow. Plus, a great many of these are drought tolerant,” Kornegay notes. Native plants are also more likely to attract songbirds, butterflies, hummingbirds, and many other wonderful beasts. “That’s why many of us garden, right?”

Kornegay actually handpicks many of his plants from farms across Texas, so if this well-stocked store doesn’t have something on your garden wish list, Kornegay will get it for you. “We also have a huge selection of old-fashioned garden classics, just like your grandmother had in her garden. Even though we are a small shop with only a handful of employees, we are always available to talk with you about any of your gardening projects.”

“Being a native Houstonian myself, I am well aware of our big city’s diversity. We cater to everyone—from those who just need a few houseplants in cool pots to those who love being outdoors and [creating the oasis of their dreams,] be it traditional, modern, or downright bizarre,” Kornegay says. 

As a global importer of pottery, garden art, and architectural artifacts, Kornegay’s nursery offers a little bit of everything. “Once, I even acquired a vintage men’s room urinal that was set up as a fountain for one of my kinkier customers!” Kornegay recalls.

He loves it when customers say, “I will never shop anywhere else, ever again!” And Kornegay admits that he’s heard this comment many times and trusts that he will continue to for years to come.

“So drop by, mask-up, and see what unexpected thrill awaits you!”

For more information on Joshua’s Native Plants and Garden Antiques, visit joshuasnativeplants.net.

HOUSE AND HOME

Best Air Conditioning & Heating Company

Village Plumbing & Air
Finalist: Newport Air Conditioning & Heating

Best Florist

Perfect Petals by Geo
Finalists: Bloom and Box, David Brown Flowers, Michael McCarthy

Best Furniture Store

Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams
Finalists: Cantoni, Nadeau

Best Furniture Store on a Budget

Alabama Furniture
Finalist: IKEA

Best Gardening/Nursery Supply

Joshua’s Native Plants & Garden Antiques
Finalists: Buchanan’s Native Plants, Fountains and Statuary

Best Interior Designer

Christopher Charles Interiors
Finalists: Brad Brandt, J Randall Powers

Best Landscaping Company

Windswept Landscape Studios
Finalist: Thompson + Hanson Stone

Best Movers

3 Men Movers
Finalist: All My Sons Movers

Best Pest Control Company

Natural Care Pest Control

Best Plumber

Village Plumbing & Air

Best Pool Company

Venture Pool Co.
Finalist: Houston Cool Pools

Best Home Security Company

Fortress Shield Security

PETS

Best Female Veterinarian

Kristy Kyle (tie), Danielle Rosser (tie)
Finalists: Christie Cornelius, Brittany Marvel

Best Male Veterinarian

Eric Cagle
Finalists: Richard Clive, Doug Hendrix, Larry White

Best Place to Adopt a Pet

BARC Animal Shelter and Adoptions
Finalists: Friends For Life, Houston Humane Society

Best Doggie Day Care

Yale Street Dog House
Finalists: The Dog House Pet Salon, Wag’n World

Best Pet Emergency Care Center

Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists
Finalists: Urban Animal Veterinary Hospital, Vergi 24/7

Best Pet Grooming Service

Pure Pets
Finalists: Aussie Pet Mobile River Oaks, Natural Pawz, Wag’n World, Yale Street Dog House

Best Pet Walking and Pet Sitting Service

My Dog Butler
Finalist: Robert Carrasco

Best Pet Food and Treats

NULO
Finalist: Baked Bones

Best Place to Buy Pet Supplies

NaturalPawz
Finalists: PetSmart, Quality Feed & Garden

This article appears in the October 2020 edition of OutSmart magazine.

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Jenny Block

Jenny Block is a frequent contributor to a number of high-profile publications from Huffington Post to Playboy, and is the author of The Ultimate Guide to Solo Sex, and O Wow: Discovering Your Ultimate Orgasm. She has appeared on a variety of television and radio programs from Nightline to BBC Radio, and has spoken in bookstores and at events all across the country. Block is also a featured performer on Olivia Travel cruises and resorts.

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