I’m A Plantaholic
I just can’t seem to stop buying plants, and perhaps making this public is the first step toward healing. I’ve run out of room in my own yard so my, uh, tendency, has escalated to casually asking my neighbors if they really want that empty patch in their yard… I can do something about it. (Of course, this excludes my neighbor to the south for previously discussed reasons.) But I really can’t afford to maintain this habit, particularly in our shrunken economy and when, at any given time, I have a little collection of plants “waiting for space to open up” and they die in the interim.
Why plants? I love the endless variety of colors and textures, growth patterns, gestures, flowers, leaves, the challenge of creating an oasis in the desert, not to mention growing my own food. What’s better than running outside to see what’s for dinner? Sometimes, after I’ve purchased several trays of plants from the nursery, I keep them in my truck for a few days (with the windows up) just because they make the truck smell all tropical and foliar. If it’s a really good week, I’ll also have some bags of cedar mulch in the back, and then the truck is positively luscious and foresty with the aroma of rich fertile loam. Perhaps this is appealing to me simply because it’s a stark contrast to the typical arid Southwest climate. Or perhaps I’m just a freak.
In any case, here are some pictures and info about my very favorite plant place in Albuquerque, Alameda Greenhouse on north 4th Street. Sadly, they don’t seem to have a web site of their own. (Had I known, I would have snapped a few more pics, but I’m sure there will be a next time…)
Here’s a list of reasons why I love Alameda Greenhouse:
1. It’s locally owned & operated and has been around since the 1960s, tucked away in their funky, rambling digs at the end of a short road in the far north valley of Albuquerque.
2. They grow a huge percentage of their own plants on-site. It’s a wonderland of seedlings to mature plants.
3. Sam (below). The nicest, most helpful person in the world, always making an effort to remember my name and organic gardening preferences.
4. Over 50 varieties of tomatoes! Tha’ts right, ranging from heirloom to hybrid! And probably as many chile peppers.
5. You never know what you’ll find at Alameda. On Saturday there were these doves. A few years ago, my daughter and I dropped in for “a few vegetables” and came home with $100 in plants and two ducklings. Which were cute until they trashed the pond and I had to eat them.
6. The owner, Steve, is a master gardener and knows everything about plants, or if he doesn’t know, he’s willing to look it up for you.
7. Huge selection. Look at this Mexican Sage–I’ve never seen one of these before with the furry purple flower spikes. A must-have! They are semi-perennial here so it may or may not be around next year.
Keep up the great work, Alameda! I’ve certainly done my best to keep you in business for the past 15 years.