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Hello chickpeas, and happy Wednesday!

Happyish, anyway. The content of today’s post is well, sad. The Mom-n-Pop wholesale greenhouse, Corrales Road Greenhouse, that I love here in Albuquerque is done. Gone. Finito. Lights out.

I actually don’t know if that’s true. I haven’t been able to bring myself to visit for the last few weeks. Ann, the empress of green, told me the last time I saw her that if they hadn’t found a buyer, they were shutting their doors September 1st. Next week.

It’s not a huge surprise that they’re closing. I’ve written about the decline of the wholesale plant business here in Albuquerque before, many times. They just can’t compete with Lowe’s and Home Depot.

I reread what I’d written about the local nursery vs. big box store fight, and I sound so naive. I still feel naive. I’ve never worked for a local nursery – I just buy from them.

In my small business, Good To Grow, I have access to wholesalers, which is how I came to love Corrales Road Greenhouse. A few years ago, this was a bustling, thriving business.

Prettiest flowers in town, best Poinsettias [shudders with dislike]. And of course, the nicest people. Super knowledgeable, too.

I still remember the very first time I went there. They had speakers in every greenhouse playing classical music for the plants. I thought that was magically sweet of them.

Since that day, I’ve left the radio on for my plants. I think they like listening to the community station.

Do I know exactly how the business went from thriving to closed? No. I know it had to do with hurricanes in Florida, rising fuel costs and competition from bigger suppliers. I remember when it first became difficult for them to get trucks to drive from Florida to New Mexico – it got too expensive for them.

The industry appears to be in a mess these days. Certain growers have deals with the big box stores, and the local guys are getting squeezed out. It’s sad, that’s all I can say.

I wish I had the power to change the industry, to urge Americans to think like their grandparents and do everything locally. But I know that’s not realistic.

It’s easier to buy houseplants from Home Depot and Lowe’s, and frankly, there are a lot of lazy Americans out there. Ok, maybe lazy is harsh. More like, unaware. Obtuse. Self-absorbed. Introverted. Blind. Hmmm, still too harsh?

Well, I’m not going to apologize, it’s true and we all know it. There are also shit tons of creative, intelligent, motivated and wonderful Americans out there.

Most of the smart ones about us are already shopping at growers’ markets or local nurseries. But we still go to Home Depot and Lowe’s because they are convenient and inexpensive, and some of might feel sorry for the plants there and rescue them.

But then we bring those plants home and they turn out to be infected with bugs – because they always are unless its a particularly resilient plant.

And we realize if we’d just gone to our local nursery, we could’ve gotten a higher quality plant for only a little bit more money.

Remember that guy I told you about a few months ago? He walks by my house every day with his dog, who’s not on a leash so he terrorizes the dog next door. One day he came walking down the sidewalk while I was out working in the garden. It was Spring, and my Delphiniums were tall and bright green. He sees me, stops, looks at the plants, and asks me, “Is this a plant?”

It was such a hard moment for me. I thought, really? You don’t know what a plant is? Do you know what a tree is?

I smiled and told him yes, and that in a few months it would be covered with purple flowers. I have no idea if he knows what flowers are.

No one taught him any better. No one instilled a love of Nature into him. It’s shameful.

See? I told you this was a sad post. I’ll be back manana with something more cheerful.

Hi Fern fronds, and happy Wednesday! Thanks for coming to the Good To Grow site.

I’ve had the best of intentions this week, honestly! I have this thing where I really want to be professional, to publish something useful or funny every day, Monday through Friday. The occasional Saturday. Most of the time, I have so many ideas that I prepare each post days or weeks in advance. Sometimes, though, real life gets in the way of my best intentions.

Most of you regular readers know that I’ve been getting new clients in my small plant care business, Good To Grow (yay – new clients!). That’s plantastic and all, but it’s keeping me really busy.

Today, I was going to show you how I replaced the dead planters (pictured above) at Billy’s Long Bar (San Mateo Blvd just north of Montgomery) with beautiful new planters, like these:

Thing is, I just planted these last night, until well after sunset actually (because we had another triple digit day in Albuquerque). So this morning as you’re reading this, the planters have yet to be installed.

There’s a long, complicated back story that involves trying to find the specific plants that the owner requested – Bougainvilleas – and how after disappointing trips to four different nurseries I gave up on that pipedream and settled for Wandering Jews, Ferns, and trailing Coleus. I may or may not fill you in on that ordeal. Bottom line, I’ve been scrambling all week.

And stressing. I feel a certain amount of anxiety when I don’t have these posts prepared early. Again, I’d like to be professional. But then I was thinking about it last night, when the sun was setting and I was still repotting plants and flowers. I’m not getting paid for these posts – isn’t that the very definition of unprofessional? So why am I stressing?

Because I don’t want to lure you to this site with the promise of fun or learning, and then not have anything to say or to show you. Salary or not, my reputation for entertaining is still on the line.

Life has other plans, though, sometimes. It was well after 10p.m. before I finished with the plants I’m delivering this morning. That didn’t leave me a lot of time for witticisms or education. It actually just left me dirt-covered, cranky and hungry.

I decided I wasn’t going to stress about it. I can show you the transition from dead plants to gorgeous new planters any time.

Today, this morning, I actually have to go out in the world and earn a living. Highly entertaining posts will have to wait.

Still, to appease my guilt, let me show you a treat I found at one of the nurseries yesterday. I was at Corrales Road Greenhouse, and one of the employees, Mike, said, “Don’t leave without me showing you something cool.” So of course, I had to see! Whatever it was, I knew I wanted my camera, so I grabbed it out of the car and followed him to one of the greenhouses. Then he showed me something they discovered, something I’d never seen before:

Can you see it? A teeny tiny little nest for teeny tiny birds in the rafters?

It’s a hummingbird nest. An itty bitty nest with two babies.

Isn’t it breathtaking? Mike told me there are two babies, but I couldn’t get them to pop up and pose for me. I definitely tried, much to the parents’ annoyance (they were buzzing back and forth through the greenhouse). That nest – I can’t get over how colorful and beautiful it is! It’s like the birds weren’t content to lay their babies in a plain ol’ boring brown nest. This one had to be shades of red and orange. That’s style, my friends, bird style. Maybe they read Apartment Therapy, haha!

Have the last few days been a little crazy? Yes. But I still wanted to share something with you, even if it is a weird little birds’ nest.

I think that most of us who write on a regular basis hope to bring our readers something to make them smile…we have to so much to share. But I resolve not to stress on those days when real life takes over and I get too busy to prepare something exactly the way I intend. I hope my regular readers will understand.

I normally would say, “That does it for today’s edition. I’ll be back manana with something interesting for you to read,” but I think in the spirit of a low-stress day, I’ll just say, “happy gardening, broccoli flowers, until we meet again!”

Hi farm bread slices, and happy Wednesday. Thanks for being here, and welcome back.

Today I’m going to take you behind the scenes of my small plant care business, Good To Grow. The assignment? Pick out and plant flowers for the patio of a new client, Horse & Angel Tavern, here in Albuquerque. Haha – I know, I have such a rough life, planting flowers for a living.

I was lucky enough to have this account transferred to me by the lovely Shauna, who’s been the able steward of the flowers for the last few years. I was determined to do her proud.

I started by visiting my local Mom-n-Pop nursery, Corrales Road Greenhouse.

The best part of this job is that I began with a blank slate. I could pick out anything I wanted. The manager trusted me to pick out colors that would appeal to a broad swath of people, as opposed to say, using all pink flowers, but other than that, he had no specific flowers in mind.

This is what happened when I tried to get artsy in a plant nursery. Haha. My creative juices were flowing all over the place.

The patio had posts holding 14 baskets┬╣, 12 of which were grouped in threes. My plan was to pick out three colors that worked well together, and repeat them four times. Then for the odd two, I’d pick out a completely different color.

I started with the red Verbena (Lanai Dark Red Vervain), because everyone loves Verbena, right?

Then I added white Daisies and a Calibrachoa hybrid, Superbells Tequila Sunrise.

Nice, huh? I know, I’m proud. Honestly, when you have so many beautiful plants from which to choose, you can hardly screw it up.

I picked out two different purple Petunia baskets for the post with spots for only two baskets. Because everyone loves purple, right?

Hahaha, you wouldn’t believe how great it smelled on the 20-minute drive from the nursery to the tavern.

Ah, my canvas, Horse & Angel Tavern. Juan Tabo at Eubank.

All the baskets were already set up with irrigation. My job was to empty the old dirt and plant the new flowers in the baskets. It wasn’t the ideal day to do this, as the winds were gusting up to 30o miles per hour.

Each of the baskets I bought from Corrales Road Greenhouse was in a grower’s pot. I removed them, then broke up the roots:

You’re not going to hurt the plant by trimming its roots – think of it as a haircut.

I planted the flowers into the basket and added lots of soil, pressing down so I could pack as much soil in the basket as possible. Using my ladder, I hung them all.

As I said, it was really windy that day. I have a thousand pictures like this – poor flowers!

I did manage to capture a few photos that weren’t terrible.

My plan was to go back and get some better photos when it wasn’t windy. But it hasn’t not been windy since then. I’ll be checking on these flowers and deadheading them (pulling off the spent flowers) once a week, so I’m confident I can get better photos when the Spring winds are gone. If the *^%$#@ winds ever go away.

I hope you enjoyed this look at a day in the life of a small plant care business. It was a lot of fun for me to plant the flowers, and share the process with you here. Thanks Shauna, for passing the torch.

My dear friend Lynda suggested that I give some basics for houseplant novices like herself, so tomorrow I’ll return to my Plants 101 series. Then Friday, it’s another edition of Ask the Experts – there’s still time to vote on the plant puzzler. Hope to see you back here soon. Until then, happy gardening!


┬╣ When I initially scoped out the patio, I counted 14 baskets that needed to be planted. Four groups of three, and one of two. It wasn’t until I showed up with the flowers that I realized it was supposed to be five groups of three. Duh. One basket was missing. So the purple Petunias don’t match the rest, but it’s ok, because everyone does love purple.

I found this at Corrales Road Greenhouse today (that’s the little mom-n-pop wholesaler I love in Albuquerque). Gorgeous!

I love plant people.

Happy Tuesday everyone! It’s December, do you have the holiday spirit or what? It’s cold and snowy in Albuquerque – it’s got me in the mood!

I am new to the blog world, and I’ve been trying to read as many as possible, and comment when I really enjoy a post. I understand the time involved, the discipline and the commitment. I think it’s an amazing community.

Sometimes I wonder if my posts are boring. I think to a lot of people would think a post about how to repot a Norfolk Island Pine is boring. Do you?

I read some of these other bloggers and I can’t help but feel a teeny bit (ok a LOT) inferior. After all, they’ve been doing it longer, and they’re really good at it.

Take Mr. Subjunctive, for example, over at Plants Are the Strangest People, he is so darn knowledgeable. I love his perspective, and plus, he’s building databases of plants based on color. Seriously. He’s letting you search for purple plants. Do I even have to elaborate on how cool that is?

And then there’s James over at He’s this good Midwestern boy who presents science in an easy-to-understand manner. Believe me, I am not science girl or math girl, so I didn’t think I’d get much from his site, but he surprises me all the time.

Martha at Water Roots always makes me smile! And that’s not just because she’s Canadian!

Then there’s my sister Molly over at Charlotte’s Fancy. I love her site, and she’s taught me so much in a short amount of time. One piece of advice she gave me was to come up with categories for different days of the week, hence the Plant Lady Chronicles on Wednesdays and the Plants 101 on Thursdays.

It was great advice, but I’ve been struggling with Tuesdays – Flowers and Flowering Plants. It’s December 8th, what new can I tell you about flowers and flowering plants?

I decided to revisit the mom-n-pop nursery that grows the best Poinsettias in town, and go to another flower shop to check out their goods.

The last time I wrote about the nursery, the Poinsettias were just getting going. This time, they’re gorgeous.

As you might remember from the last post, I’m not a big fan of Poinsettias. But even I have to admit, seeing them like this at the nursery, they’re really beautiful.

My little mom-n-pop nursery is staking a lot on this holiday season, so if you’re in Albuquerque and you want me to pick up a few of these for you, let me know.

I wish I could wave a magic wand over Albuquerque and create a mad passion for indoor plants, fueling prosperity and cleaner air.

Since I can’t, let’s take a peek at another flower shop in Albuquerque. Savon Cash and Carry Flowers, on Candelaria near Carlisle.

Have you been here? It’s so weird, I always think it’s a thrift store, not a flower shop. What’s with cash and carry in the name?

I’ve only been here once or twice. I decided to go and see what they offered for the holidays.

Oh crap, that is a lot of glitter!

What are those?

I love glitter, don’t get me wrong. But I’m not a fan of it when it’s used like this:

U-G-L-Y, you ain’t got no alibi.

Not all of their stuff was ugly however.

I like how they started all those Amaryllis bulbs instead of selling them in a box.

They had some moderately cute holiday bouquets with fresh flowers.

And lots of fake stuff.

I didn’t buy anything, but I did decide my house needed a few Poinsettias from Corrales Road Greenhouse.

How could I resist?

I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to think up future posts for Tuesdays. If you have any ideas, I would welcome them.

One idea I know I’m going to do is feature interviews with people who have plants flowering now, in winter. A friend of mine said his Mom’s African Violets are blooming like crazy right now, so I want to go interview her for her secrets of success.

Stay tuned, and happy indoor gardening.

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About Me

Hi! My name is Liza. Welcome to my blog and thanks for visiting! I'm a Midwestern gal now living in Arizona, after many years of living in and owning a plant care business in New Mexico.

Plants are living, breathing creatures, and if they're indoor plants, they are 100% dependent on human care. They cannot water themselves.

I can beautify your home, office, or patio with plants and flowers. I have 13 years of experience growing plants, and friendships.

Please let me know if you have questions or if you would like help with your plants or garden. You can reach me at lizatheplantlady (at) gmail (dot) com or follow me on Twitter, Lizawheeler7.

All photos are mine unless otherwise noted. All content is also entirely my hard work. If you'd like to use any content or photos, all you have to do is ask. If you take without asking, you are a thief. And thieves suck. So don't suck. We have a deal? Good.