Established in 1999, Backbone Valley Nursery is a local, family owned business.

Ben Robertson

Ben and his dad, Dale, started the nursery growing acorns as a side-gig. What started as a business that was run out of cigar-box cash register in 1995 quickly grew into a landscaping, retail, and wholesale business. In addition to keeping the farm operations running smoothly and designing and installing beautiful landscapes on complicated, large-scale projects, Ben is a plant nerd extraordinaire and can ID just about anything. He bleeds Tarleton purple where he received his degree in horticulture. In his spare time, you can find him fishing, playing golf, and enjoying time with his wife, Jessica, and their three boys Weston, Braydon, and Karson.

Dale Robertson

Dale co-founded the nursery with his son, Ben. He has a vast amount of plant knowledge, and can grow just about anything. If you run into someone resembling Santa at the nursery, you found Dale. Don’t let his age fool you. He works harder than any one else on the farm, and can be found working every day with his two canine best friends, Jack and Jibbs, by his side. Dale is an avid fisherman and bird hunter who enjoys spending time with his wife, Beverly, and their six grandchildren.

David Martin

David is happily married to Ben’s sister (also Dale’s daughter), Kelly. They have three beautiful children; Matt, Emily, and Charlie. David has a degree in business from the University of Oklahoma, and joined the family business in 2005. He was born to design beautiful landscapes, and does the majority of our landscape installations while also keeping the business running smoothly. Be prepared for his Boomer Sooner ring-tone and witty sense of humor.

Retail Staff

Our knowledgeable retail staff are here week round to assist you with your gardening and planting needs.

Mary Kay Pope

Most of you need no introduction for our resident doer-of-everything, Mary Kay Pope. Mary Kay wins the Backbone Valley Nursery award for coolest pet ever.  She and her husband, Bob, have a small farm in Lakeway where she has raised miniature donkeys, mules, all manner of fowl, Zebu cattle, wallabies and LEMURS. Yep. Ringtail Lemurs! She is the quintessential Plant Nerd and is a perennial student.  She has a degree in Landscape Horticulture and Greenhouse Management from Ohio State University, is a Texas Master Certified Nursery Professional, a Texas Certified Landscape Professional, a Specialist in Urban Trees and is also a Certified Arborist .  Her experience and wisdom are huge assets to Backbone Valley Nursery. Mary Kay has three sons  who are hunter-gatherers and have surprised her with some very interesting table fare, like mesquite pancakes, squirrel pot pie and duck fajitas. Her organizational skills are legendary around here, and she handles all of our most special projects, like germinating baby tree seeds, giving seminars and workshops, filming YouTube videos and publishing our newsletter.

Craig Hunter

Craig is one of our managers and puts the backbone in Backbone Valley Nursery. He’s the guy who keeps all of the plant material moving and looking its very best.  During his time here, he has transformed his own yard into a beautifully landscaped space using some of the plants we would have given up on. Craig has a quick wit and a soft spot for cats, his favorite of which is Teddy.  Our team counts on Craig to keep everything in line and to keep the positive vibe of the nursery flowing.


The look of shock on people’s faces when this hardworking girl effortlessly lifts a tree five times her size into their truck says it all. Christine is a country girl through and through, and enjoys Chevy trucks, friends, and fishing when she’s not powerhousing around the nursery.


Quick to pick up knowledge and eager to share it, Kayla is wonderful at answering customer questions and seeing them leave with a smile on their face. She tackles projects with enthusiasm, and is a great asset to the nursery and our clients.

Landscape and Tree Crew

We are grateful to have a wonderful and knowledgeable staff with years of experience.


Pedro is one of the hardest working people you will ever meet. He has been with our Backbone family for more than 15 years and we consider him family. You can find him on the main farm helping with daily deliveries, mixing soils, and helping to keep our trees happy and healthy.

Behind the Scenes

You may not have met these hard workers, but they are essential to our operation!

Becky Cunningham

Becky has been with us since 2010! Smarts run in her family as this Texas A& M degree holder has two daughters, both with biology degrees from Texas State. When they aren’t at the nursery, she and her husband, Jerry, love to travel.

Jerry Cunningham

Jerry is a retired chemist with 30 years of LCRA experience. A man of many hats, he started working on our retail staff in 2008, and soon took on manager, maintenance, water treatment, and biology positions for the nursery. He and his wife, Becky, are an unbeatable team!