(Story by Kelly Koepke)
Every year, homeowners pour hundreds (even thousands) of dollars, hours and energy into their gardens, yards and landscapes. According to the National Garden Survey, we spent $47.8 billion on lawn and garden retail sales last year, with a record average household spend of $503.
So when a shrub or tree fails, or that perennial labeled “full sun” from the big-box retailer shrivels and dies, we’re devastated. We shake our hands and curse Mother Nature. But we’re probably blaming the wrong cause. What if we’d gone to a local nursery instead? Had talked with someone who raised that seedling from a speck, knew exactly where and how to plant it and how much to water? We’d have succeeded for sure.
Jill Brown, landscape architect and owner of Brown, green & more is a huge advocate of local plant centers and the people who teach about, tend and sell growing things. She’s spent almost 20 years helping homeowners achieve their dream landscapes. Obviously, she says, shopping local means a win-win with money going back into the local economy, but she says, “The only way to assure that you get a plant suited for your yard is to go to a local nursery. There are so many factors to consider when purchasing plants, so sticking to local nurseries will help enormously in your landscape’s future success.”
Each one of these local nurseries and garden centers has smart people to counsel you. So stop cursing Mother Nature and start saving your yard and garden.
Agra Greenhouses of Albuquerque
2015 Gun Club Road SW
Three generations of Doherty’s work Agra Greenhouses, which specializes in flowering annuals, herbs and an explosion of vegetables—three-quarters of a million tomato and chile starts each year–from their South Valley retail outlet. Patriarch Chuck Doherty gives three reasons to shop local. “Price-wise the big-box stores might be friendlier, but not by much. Local nurseries have more variety and you can also meet face to face with the people who grew the plants,” he says. “They have expertise, rather than being someone who just waters them. But the strongest reason is that you’re keeping your dollar local. That’s the bottom line.”
9515 4th St. NW
This North Valley staple is dedicated to growing and maintaining all manner of outdoor plants– veggies, fruit trees, flowers, and plenty of shrubs and perennials. Their nine greenhouses grow hundreds of pepper and tomato varieties and plant thousands of perennials every year.
101 Alameda Blvd. NW
6921 Pan American Freeway NE
Gardening expert Rick Hobson and wife Jennifer, a landscape designer, have two locations to help with your lawn, tree care and other gardening needs–from veggies to houseplants to succulents. Store manager Amanda Clem wants local gardeners to succeed. “We have a lot of people come in for xeriscaping plants and shade trees. We frequently recommend different types of sterile elms whose low water use, fast growth, drought and disease resistance makes them the perfect shade tree for our area.”
501 Osuna Road NE
Founded in 1980 by Korean immigrant Chang An and run today by his wife Myong, Osuna Nursery not only sells everything you might need to garden, they also hold frequent classes on everything from water conservation to landscape design to container and herb gardens. Their website also offers guides to horticulture topics like beneficial insects, pruning and caring for trees.
Parker’s Farm and Greenhouse
251 Church St. East Edgewood
For four generations, Parker’s Farm and Greenhouse has grown and sold garden plants only (no pots, soils or fertilizers). They specialize in plants for the high-altitude garden.
3871 Corrales Road
Perennial Delights offers locally grown annuals and perennials at the Corrales Growers’ Market and Los Ranchos Growers’ Market, or by appointment. They are also pollinator experts with plants supporting our birds, bees and butterflies.
Plants of the Southwest
6680 4th St. NW in Albuquerque
3095 Agua Fria St. in Santa Fe
With stores in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, as well as online, Plants of the Southwest is the go-to for professional landscapers and homeowners who want water-wise and native vegetation.
Plant World Nursery & Landscape Supplies
250 El Pueblo Road NE
The largest wholesale nursery in New Mexico, Plant World sells to the trade and the public. They can also source large and hard-to-find specimens and carry a huge selection of hardscape materials and supplies.
Rehm’s Nursery & Garden Center
5801 Lomas Blvd NE
Known as the “Purple Greenhouse,” Rehm’s has been growing trees, shrubs and more for 80-plus years. Owner Tammy Hayman says she’s blessed with knowledgeable staff and provides a wide selection of heirloom, unique or hard-to-find vegetables. “We’re doing more organic, and sell a lot of beneficial insects like ladybugs and green lacewings,” she says. “When you go to a big box, nobody is ever there to help, or they don’t know what they are talking about. We do.”
Rio Valley Greenhouses
2000 Harzman Road SW
This small greenhouse in the South Valley provides locally grown annuals, perennials, vegetable starts, New Mexico chiles, herbs and more. Shop from their greenhouse and at the Railyards and Downtown Growers’ Markets.
Santa Ana Garden Center
960 US-550 in Bernalillo
Santa Ana Garden Center offers plants grown from locally gathered seed and raised at their nursery on the Santa Ana Pueblo, which ensures the hardiness of their plants for north central New Mexico and the Rio Grande Valley.
Agua Fria Nursery
1409 Agua Fria St.
Agua Fria Nursery specializes in native and exotic perennials, shrubs and succulents. Their naturally grown plants, trees and other greenery, and their vegetable selection, are hard to match.
7501 Cerrillos Road
Newman’s offers a full selection of nursery plants and trees, including an excellent variety of fruit, flowering and shade trees, shrubs and drought tolerant perennials, as well as vegetables and soils. Owner Malcolm Newman prides himself on having the largest collection of fruit trees and roses in New Mexico. “We have over 1,000 trees like Asian Pears, Rainier cherries, Pink Lady and other older varieties of apples like Macintosh and Spitenzberg,” he says. “And we have over 4,500 rose bushes each year.”
715 St. Michael’s Dr.
304 Camino Alire
Payne’s Organic Soil Yard
6037 Agua Fria St.
The Payne family has been in the nursery business in Santa Fe since 1952, with two full-service locations and their own organic soil yard that composts the green waste from the City of Santa Fe, offering it back to the public. Owner Lynn Payne knows the climate and soil, what grows here and doesn’t, and offers only landscape and garden plants he knows will survive and thrive. “A big box has a buyer for an entire region,” he says. “The buyer for Santa Fe might be in Phoenix, [Ariz.]. So when the tag for a perennial or shade tree says sun, it’s nowhere near being winter-hardy here. That will never happen in an independent, local nursery.
1301 Road (dirt road off Rt. 76) in Truchas
Tooley’s Trees retail and wholesale nursery on the highroad between Santa Fe and Taos grows trees, shrubs and grafted fruits. They focus on varieties that are drought tolerant and adapted to our high pH soil.
Petree’s Nursery & Greenhouses
25 Petree Lane
Northern New Mexico’s oldest and largest nursery with 10 greenhouses and acres of trees and shrubs, Petree’s caters to both the professional landscaper and the residential newbie getting started with houseplants or a container of tomatoes and chile. Owner Sylvia Petree says, “Service, knowledge and an experienced staff mean that our customers get to talk to people who know what grows here. Local nurseries provide information based on their own their gardening experience as well. We are the grower, so our quality is beyond compare.”