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
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
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
3 Men Movers
Finalist: All My Sons Movers
Best Pest Control Company
Natural Care Pest Control
Village Plumbing & Air
Best Pool Company
Venture Pool Co.
Finalist: Houston Cool Pools
Best Home Security Company
Fortress Shield Security
Best Female Veterinarian
Kristy Kyle (tie), Danielle Rosser (tie)
Finalists: Christie Cornelius, Brittany Marvel
Best Male Veterinarian
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
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
Finalist: Baked Bones
Best Place to Buy Pet Supplies
Finalists: PetSmart, Quality Feed & Garden
This article appears in the October 2020 edition of OutSmart magazine.