The hardest thing about lockdown this spring was being unable to see and touch our babies in the nurseries. So we settled for calling in and curbside delivery to start getting our green on.
Taos gardeners voted Petree Nursery and Greenhouses as the Best Nursery in 2020’s Best of Taos survey, which is where a whole lot of Taos gardeners go, because everything is locally grown, so the money stays in Taos. All Petree’s fans were itching to get into that 35-acre operation and see what Sylvia and Mike Petree and staff had worked on over the winter.
Finally, on May 16, 2020, the gates were thrown wide and we finally could shop to our hearts’ content – with coronavirus precautions, of course.
Mandatory masks and directional traffic flow keep people and wagons apart, going “down” the sidewalk and “up” the driveway. Customers can still get curbside delivery/pickup if they so desire – you have to email or phone your order in and arrange a pickup time once the order is filled, a definite time investment, but available nonetheless.
Now the lockdown against cruising Petree’s huge growing operation is basically over. And just in time. By mid-May a tidal wave of blossoming pink peach trees flowed exuberantly from the top of the nursery all down along the row of stock greenhouses. Customers can see for themselves now, every 3-inch, 6-inch, gallon pots, 12-inch baskets and so much more that fill the greenhouses and outdoors.
Here you can get your perennials and annuals, all grown aqui en Taos, plus soil amendments and nutrients, often at the lowest prices in the valley – not to mention exquisite ceramic, stone and metal pots, statuary, fountains and more.
“We have 10 greenhouses, five for sales and five for production,” co-owner Sylvia Petree said by phone May 9. “Besides the greenhouses, we have 35 acres with trees – fruit trees, evergreens, deciduous trees and shrubs, plus all the soft fruits like blackberries, raspberries, currants, choke cherries, strawberries – all the usual suspects.” And blueberries?
“Oh no, those are gone already,” she said.
The amount Petree grows is really stunning. A brief perusal of their new website, being updated daily to match what is actually available and ready to plant this season, is worth every gardener’s attention.
It’s impossible not to click “Look” on the plants with photos – like perennials Mesa Bright Bicolor Blanket Flower gaillardia, Ka-Pow Pink garden phlox, Rosyjane gaura or Big Twister Corkscrew Rush grass, to name just a few. I loved Rainbow Rhythm Primal Scream hemerocallis – got to find a place for that.
Then it’s on to annuals, veggies, herbs, grass seed, shrubs and vines, soft fruit, bulbs, trees, mulch, compost, amendments and fertilizers.
People do buy out of town, say online or as a promotion for a garden club, but as the Best of Taos survey itself shows, people who care about keeping Taos “green” picked Petree for its locally grown, best selection – thus keeping money in the community, supporting local jobs and reducing the carbon footprint of hauling goods across state lines.
Even with lockdown in effect on Mother’s Day, Sylvia Petree said their 400 or so roses went “super fast” – which is quite a feat, considering their relatively small staff having to drag all those pots of roses for mom, up the sidewalk for curbside deliveries.
Volume and growing their own is how they stay so competitive, Sylvia says. They also grow for a Los Alamos place. “We deliver there about two times a week, selling out before it’s even off the truck. A lot of their inventory is already gone.”
They’re doing about 1,700 baskets per year and their annual and perennial production stays huge, hence the five production greenhouses. Petree also supplies town of Taos landscaping – all the bushes, trees, shrubs and soils, except for the 100 flower baskets hanging on town light posts the past few years.
“We just don’t have room in the greenhouses to allow for a dedicated private production,” Sylvia says. “There’s only so much greenhouse square-footage.
Black Gold, Berger (pronounced bear-zhay) and Happy Frog Soil Conditioner are all outstanding amendments.
Happy Frog says, “Don’t Treat Your Soil Like Dirt!®” Every bag has finely screened, pH-balanced, aged forest nutrients, earthworm castings and bat guano, plus a bazillion beneficial microbes stimulating root development, reducing the need for heavy, expensive inputs of nitrogen fertilizers.
Adding such soil amendments stimulate symbiotic and free-living nitrogen-fixing bacteria (also fixing atmospheric nitrogen) supplying, in many cases, up to 75 percent of a crop’s needs.
What a great time to be a gardener!
For more info, visit the nursery at 25 Petree Street.,
1.5 miles north of Lower Ranchitos Road on Blueberry Hill Road.
Call (575) 758-3021 and see petreenursery.com.
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