Welcome to Fanick's Garden Center
With Knowledgeable Staff to Assist You
1025 Holmgreen road
San Antonio, TX. 78220
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open 7 days a week
Eddie Fanick Sr. was born on June 15, 1902 in a little town in Texas called Praha. Little did Praha and the residents of Fayette County know they had a born horticulturist that would change the landscape forever. After growing up in this little town and having to drop out of the third grade to help with the homestead. Eddie still educated himself by reading and learning different skills on his own.
In 1924, Eddie married the love of his life, Marie Antonette Gueldner from San Antonio and lived in a little house on the eastside of San Antonio on Canton St. Throughout the years they had four children. Eddie Jr, John, Jane and James. Eddie was a great businessman and acquired his business skills by working many jobs such as a fashion buyer for Wolf & Marx department store and a buyer for Ewing’s Fabric store. Eddie also worked in the hard-goods business as a delivery driver for the Mistletoe Creamery using a mule and wagon for deliveries.
In the late 1930’s he had a part-time nursery called “Gardens of Iris” where he specialized in breeding Iris and even introduced a number of cultivars of bearded iris. His pride and joy was a yellow iris which he named “Jane” after his daughter. One day a Mexican woman gave him some seeds of a new red morning glory called Scarlett O'Hara. After successfully growing the flowers and harvesting their seeds, he sold them to a company in New York for $900. In 1939 he used the money to buy more land and plants and started what’s now “Fanick’s Nursery”.
In 1940, he accepted a job as head gardener of the San Antonio Arsenal where he took care of the general grounds. One of his many assignments was to plant the rooftops with plants to help camouflage the buildings from possible enemy aircraft. After nine years of service honing his gardening skills he was offered the choice of either transferring to a different location or retiring at the close of the war. He decided to retire so he could remain in San Antonio and dedicate himself to building his business. After lots of hard labor he cleared the land and expanded the nursery. Using old pipe he got from his uncle that worked at Crane plumbing and other various locations he started building a network of water lines that he used for irrigation. With more time to do what he loved he began raising more irises, narcissus and other types of bulbs for their flowers as well as their bulbs to sell later. The stand of paperwhites and Chinese sacred lilies still bloom in the two acre orchard under the pecan trees across the street which is now used for overflow parking. He also raised seed from a number of flowers including morning glory,tithonia, cockscomb, periwinkle, gomphrena, honey daisy, standing cypress, cabbage, and assorted Texas wildflowers. His family, along with neighborhood women and children helped harvest the seed which was then sold to local and national seed companies. While seed harvesting and raising bulbs helped pay the bills he also started raising more cut flowers which he sold to local flower shops and flower stands. Some of the flowers raised were giant mums, zinnias, marigolds, stock, snapdragons and larkspur. Being great at raising cut flowers he eventually opened his own cut flower shop too.
In 1946 the nursery was expanded to now include various other types of plants and more varieties of shrubs, trees, perennials and annuals. Over the years many unique specimen plants were developed by Eddie. The most popular tree was the Fan-Tex ash which was patented in 1964 and to this day this seedless, borer resistant fast growing ash is still sold and planted across the lower half of the US. Some of his other trees he discovered were the Fan-West ash for hotter, drier areas like west Texas to Nevada. The Fan-Stil pear which is by far the best desert pear you can get. The Texas sized Fan-Blue Giant fig, the red flowering Fan-silk Flame mimosa, Fan-Cris pear for a firmer cooking pear, the Fan-blue willow for its beautiful bluish color, the Fan-San seedless mulberry for fast shade, the Fan-D-Arc seedless thornless osage orange, the large Fan-Jujube, the Fireball Fan-Tallow and the Fan-Serria ash tree were some of the other trees that were sold throughout the US.
Eddie continually educated himself about developments in his field and has amassed a large array of reference books to broaden his understanding of botany and horticulture. With his passion for plants he helped start the first Men’s Garden Club and is a life member of both the San Antonio Men's Garden Club and the National Men's Garden Club. Eddie was very well respected and admired throughout the horticultural field for his honesty, integrity, and hard work. As a supporter of the Texas A&M University Extension service program, Eddie helped various local agents by offering new plants to experiment with and his life lessons on growing many plants for our region. His advice was to always look up as you never know when Mother Nature might present a new plant to you. Eddie always had a common-sense attitude for growing plants. Each plant was described as a “He’ or “She” and would always explain to his customers in a way they could understand. “Plant life is not guaranteed neither is human or any other life on this planet” is just one of the many common-sense sayings Eddie would use.
On May 14, 1985 Eddie lost his beloved wife due to illness. Through perseverance he continued to operate the nursery with the help of his family and continued to explore new plants. Eddie loved to plant a new introduction in the ground to see if it could handle the Texas ever-changing weather. Some of them thrived and some did not. As you walk the nursery you will find some of the unusual trees and shrubs he planted like the Japanese Raisin tree, White flowering pomegranate, the Hickon, or the Crataegus, commonly called a thornapple. One of his passions was pecans and Eddie had a very large section. There was once over 140 different kinds of pecan varieties that he grafted on to native trees to see how they performed. He found an unusual seedling pecan that had enough oil in it to fry an egg with. He later named it “Eddie Fanick” as he loved the taste of pecans. As time went on the effects of age started to slow him down and more of the operations of the nursery were given to his son John.
In 1994 the nursery was turned into a corporation called Fanick’s Garden Center Inc. and run by his son John. Eddie Fanick passed away on April 6, 1995 at the age of 92 and was survived by his four children and many grandchildren. In the spring of 1996, Eddie’s son John passed away unexpectedly and his two sons, Mark and Mike, continue to run the business as their father and grandfather taught them. The fourth generations of Fanick’s are now working at the nursery and through their hard work and determination like their great grandfather Fanick’s Garden Center should be here to celebrate their 100 year anniversary.
Fanicks Garden Center
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