Petree’s Nursery in Spring

You’d have to include a scenic location when compiling a list of great things about Petree’s Nursery. Yes, those are the Taos mountains in the background and the homes and such between Blueberry Hill Road and the Taos Pueblo.

I’d heard of this nursery and even driven by the sign on Blueberry Hill a couple of times in the short 2 years I’ve lived in Taos. There’s nothing to see as you pass the sign, just a road heading right off to who knows where? But lately I began to have a passion about locating some organic plant food (forget Ace or WalMart) and that’s how I ended up at Petree’s. There were so many choices there it was hard to decide. I ended up taking the recommendation of the helpful clerk and chose her own favorite, a well-rounded dry mix of nutrients called “rose food.”

So back to the right turn at the Petree sign on Blueberry Hill (if you’re coming from the south) I followed the road (Petree Lane) as it headed rather straight downhill. The elevation of the retail area pictured here is dramatically lower than original turn at the top. This place was a real discovery for me in so many ways. I asked the owner, Sylvia, if I could take these photos for a Taos blog and all she said was “make it pretty.” She did share that the nursery became a company in the early 90′ after she and Mr. Petree became a couple. He already owned the land and together they created what you see today.

This is what’s inside those greenhouses in the last photo. Everything you’d need to get your garden off to an early start. I tend to plant my own seeds, especially things like peas and salad greens (arugula, kale, parsley, chard, lettuces, cilantro) which are not that fussy about cool night temperatures. When it comes to cucumbers and tomatoes I like to wait and then buy plants toward the end of May. Because our summers are relatively short it pays to let someone do the greenhouse work for you. That is if you want your tomatoes starting to make fruit in July. Yes we do!

If you’re new to Taos I hope it doesn’t take you as long as it did me to discover the joys and various services of Petree’s. It’s quite a place.

Saturday at the farm market my friend, Lauren, learned what those wagons at the official Taos Farm Market booth are for, and they’re free for the asking. I don’t think I saw those last summer. How nice! Every week there are more farmers with booths and more customers appreciating what’s coming into season. Peas are starting to show up and they are in high demand when word gets out. My personal favorite buy right now is the $4 bag of fresh sprouts, including sunflower sprouts, which I love. Favorite flower starting to show up: Dalias.

I don’t recall the grower but one booth was offering this freshly picked camomile, with the suggestion that you allow it to dry then use it for making tea. I loved the fresh beauty of it and the container too. I’d bet the tea that results will have a more delicious flavor than store bought.

This peacock was putting on quite the show Sunday at the Hanuman Temple. He allowed plenty of time for crowds to gather and camera toters to find their equipment. Loved this photo of the intent observers.

And that would be the “object of attention” there on the lower left, the female. This is the first time, for all the many times I’ve been to the temple on a Sunday, to see this display. The building that houses the temple room is just behind the peacock.

Alfalfa blossoms

Hanuman Temple on Sunday

There must be folks who are always here at the Hanuman Temple on any given Sunday. I’m not one of those, but I do think about it, am attracted to the place and always am glad I went when I do go. Today I did a double dip and first attended the 5-Rhythms dancing at TaDa (1 1/2 hours of continuous dancing) and then went directly to the Temple.

Hanuman is a monkey god in the Hindu pantheon and the temple was founded some 20 odd years ago by the efforts of Ram Das. Check the website if you’re hungry for more history and accurate info.

This male peacock must have his home here. I counted three females as well. I once lived in a community that had peacocks and have fond memories of the place and the exotic energy the peacocks added, not to mention the blood-curdling screams at odd hours.

The deal with the Temple residents is that they are dedicated to feeding people as part of their spiritual practice, so on Sunday at lunch time anyone and everyone is invited to share a meal that they prepare. The typical Indian food is always tasty and the portions generous. Dessert and their signature homemade chai are also included. In season they have extensive gardens which supply fresh ingredients. A spirit of beauteous bounty and generosity permeates the place and leaves you feeling more optimistic about the human experience.

I noticed this decal on a window depicting Hanuman, the magical monkey god, flying through the air. The reflections add context. The head of the monkey is hard to see, but is located in the center of the photo. My own spiritual teacher, Gangji, credits her enlightened state to Papaji, a Hindu sage who was a devotee of the more famous figure, Ramana. So her lineage is Hindu even though she, like Ram Das, was born and raised in the USA. In any case I feel at home at this ashram and often run into people I’ve met here in Taos when I show up on a Sunday. It’s becoming an integrated part of my Taos experience.

The weather today was a cloudy but balmy 47 degrees, probably pretty fair for March at 7,200 feet. These crocus blossoms, growing in a flowerbed at the Temple, lend hope for more spring-like movement in the plant world looking forward. I consider them blog-worthy harbingers of the spring equinox, March 20. The astrology of this day I plan to blog about on my “other” blog site, SoulSpeak.

While obviously not a “fresh” flower this fading blossom was sitting alone on a railing and its color and very presence shocked and pleased my dull winter sensibilities. It has a wabi-sabi quality, a reminder of how all beauty progresses into a fade. I particularly love the sprinkling of red on the greenish center parts. Very painterly.

Saving the best for last, let me introduce Zinnia, daughter of Meem. She and mom were walking up the path to the temple when I intercepted them. Zinnia was in the best of moods. Her hat is a family heirloom previously worn by a couple of her older brothers, according to Meem. I believe that’s an earthworm, the white snake-like shape on the hat. My kind of hat for sure!  I want to honor both Zinnia and the hat (and the worm) with my photo. I’m grateful to these subjects for their generous cooperation.