Meet John Dromgoole
John Dromgoole grew up in Laredo, Texas and, without a doubt, his love of plants (and Mexican culture) can be traced to his roots in South Texas. John left the Rio Grande Valley in the early 70’s and moved to Austin where he quickly became part of the city’s newly emerging natural foods and organic gardening scene. They didn’t know it at the time, but John and his friends were pioneering a new way of life. They were helping to lay the groundwork for today’s organic revolution.
In 1982, John opened his first garden store, partnering with Garden-Ville. He operated his business for ten years out of the historic Patton Building, which is now the home of Madrone Coffee.
In 1993, John purchased an old homestead on Old Bee Caves Road in far southwest Austin and proceeded to build his award-winning business. With a top-notch staff, The Natural Gardener’s eight acres developed into not only a retail organic garden center, but a destination for all.
During this journey, John was noticing that quality, organic gardening products were not readily available. So, in late 2000, he founded Lady Bug Natural Brands with his popular formulas and recipes. These were widely sold in garden centers across the United States. In 2013, in an effort to allow the brand to grow, he sold Lady Bug. Unfortunately, in 2018, the new owners decided to close the brand. However, the organic market is thriving, and quality products are easily accessible, which was the goal all along.
John has remained deeply involved in the advancement of organics and environmental issues for more than 40 years. Today, he is one of the nation’s foremost champions on organic gardening, enduring radio host, TV personality and public speaker.
John retired from Gardening Naturally in February of 2019, after almost forty years on air. This beloved program, now hosted by Jeff Ferris, is the longest, continuously-running, organic gardening talk show in the United States (and quite possibly, the world). Listeners outside of Austin can call toll-free at 877-590-KLBJ or locally at 512-836-0590.
John has been an organic gardening trailblazer on TV, too. He hosted the first-ever national organic gardening series on PBS, The New Garden. Currently, he makes regular appearances on the local PBS affiliate KLRU, Central Texas Gardener. And on NBC’s local affiliate, KXAN with The Weekend Gardener.
For fun, John hosts a weekly, classic Country music program called Dance Halls & Last Calls, on SUN radio, 100.1 FM. It airs on Sundays at 9am and on KDRP 103.1 FM radio out of Dripping Springs each Saturday at 8pm.
John can often be found at the store and in the gardens. His schedule stays busy, but mostly he just enjoys sharing his years of knowledge with everyone.